Gettysburg Borough, ignoring planning committee recommendation, moves closer to allowing event venues by right

After over 30 meetings over the past year discussing the issue, the Gettysburg Borough Council is ready to support event venues as a right in the borough. An alternative recommended by the Gettysburg Planning Commission would have been to make events venues a special exemption. At Monday’s workshop meeting, 4 of the 7 members said they planned to vote for the ordinance. Unless one or more of the council members change their mind over the next two months the ordinance will pass with a 4-3 split vote when it is voted on in May. The ordinance will allow an event venue at the property at 66-68 W. High St. and also would allow by right the creation of events venues in the Elm St. Overlay as well as other areas of the borough. Before expressing their views, the council held a public hearing in which over a dozen people spoke both for and against the proposal. Council member Chris Berger voiced his opinion against the proposal saying the decision weighed economic opportunity and commercial interests with the livability and quality of life of our neighborhoods. “I feel in the Elm St. Overlay a special events venue is not appropriate. In my opinion, it’s too densely packed,” he said. “I appreciate what the Gettysburg Academy is all about, but having 100 people outside, the parking, there just so many issues.  And if you open it up for that parcel it can be opened up to other parcels in the Elm St. Overlay.  To me the nature of that is more residential,” he said. Councilmember Matt Moon said he was not supportive of the ordinance as it is currently written. “As of last fall, we had arrived at a pretty good compromise.  The special exemptions along with the management plan gave the neighborhood the ability to talk to the borough and say ‘hey this isn’t working.’  When we talk about the life and vitality of the neighborhood we’re not talking about the buildings; we’re talking about the people who reside in them. When you look at S. Washington St. there is nothing commercial about it. I thank Mr. Strauss for his comments about caution. I think the compromise text that we had in place before the January meeting was stronger and more supportive of everybody in the neighborhood.” Council President Wes Heyser said he did not plan to support the ordinance as written. Council member Chad-Alan Carr said he planned to vote for the proposal, noting that when he first moved to Gettysburg he was concerned about the noise from the nearby railroad. “Friends of mine said that railroad was there long before you; you’re just going to have to get used to it. And I did.. now I sleep fine,” he said. Carr also expressed his opinion that the borough’s nondiscrimination ordinance was not relevant to the decision. “I don’t plan to change my vote,” said councilmember John Lawver. “I remember growing up there was a grocery store on that block of S. Washington St., there was a barber shop; there was an automotive repair center. Now they’re all gone. I’m definitely more pro-business and small business than I am none.  It’s a mixed-use area and I think there’s way too much emphasis put on the High St. property as opposed to the other zoning zones this could go to,” he said. Councilmember Patti Lawson said she would vote for the ordinance, saying she had confidence that an events venue was an appropriate use in the Elm St. Overlay. “We know there are ordinances in place, like the noise ordinance, that are in place already.” Councilmember Judie Butterfield said she would also vote for the ordinance. Public Comment at the Zoning Hearing The following represents a sample of many of the comments given by the public at the zoning hearing. Gettysburg business owner Paul Kellett said he did not support the idea, saying there were  “no use standards;  no parking requirements; no maximum number of indoor guests.  They could have music all night long. This is very concerning to me.  People are going to park in my driveway. I’m going to have to call a tow truck.  You’re in close proximity to a lot of churches.  They could be blasting music and using the parking of those churches when there are solemn events such as funerals. This intensity of use should be a special exception use; have some conditions for parking.”  Kellet mentioned the possibility of shuttle buses in the neighborhood. “You’re going to create a parking people for a lot of people including churches and the courthouse. I think it’s a very bad idea.” Rosemary Meagher: “We enjoy our backyard garden.  Most of the houses adjacent to the English property are residents.  This is a very densely-populated area.  Meagher noted that the residential area of Colt Park was moving to stop commercial activity while the borough was moving to allow more commercial activity in the same ward.  “What makes the residents of Colt Park more worthy of quiet, undisrupted residential neighborhood that the S. Washington/ W. High St. neighborhood?” she asked. She said the borough had initially had rules in place for security, but that those rules had been removed.  “Somehow between September 2022 and January 2023 all of this got by.”  No restrictions any day of the week; 2000 sq. ft. limit removed. No references t restrooms or ADA requirements. Destination Gettysburg representative Carl Whitehill said he supports the proposed changes.  “We believe that events in these areas can be done respectfully to those who reside in these areas while at the same time giving visitors and local residents alike opportunities to enjoy our community.” Mandy Day from Gettysburg: “It is so disheartening to hear that after hours of previous discussion of guidelines for this venue, everything has just been tossed aside.  You have voted on and passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that all people deserve fair and equal treatment but you are ignoring that because we don’t live in the single-family homes with the big yards.” Charles Strauss, Gettysburg Planning Commisssion Chair: “We took seriously our role to provide comments as you considered this ordinance change.” Strauss said the planning commission reviewed the proposal in January and April of 2022. “Somewhere between April 18, 2022 and February 21, 2023 it went from an application for one parcel to an ordinance text amendment and somewhere in those months the recommendations we made seemed to have either been revised or ignored. They went missing in the discussion.” Strauss said the planning commission also made comments to the borough in February and March of this year. Strauss said the commission was particularly concerned because it could find no other community of the same size that permitted this type of use.  Strauss said the commission supported an events venue use but that the committee advised the borough to make events venues a use by special exception and not by right. Strauss said the commission wondered why the Elm St. overlay district would be treated with less oversight for this use than the ROR zoning district. Sue Cipperly from N. Stratton St.  said the purpose of the Elm St. Overlay was to promote the development and redevelopment of a residential neighborhood adjacent to a commercial district. “Why should one neighborhood be protected and the other expected to accommodate a virtually unrestricted tourist entertainment business?” The owner of the High St. property in question, Scott English, encouraged the borough to move forward on the proposed zoning “I’m excited to move forward to offer a safe family-oriented venue that can serve locals and visitors.”  It’s time to move forward.  This is good for Gettysburg. If we don’t adapt to the changing needs in our community we jeopardize the preservation of our irreplacable resources.” Gettysburg resident Kris Webb spoke of several small businesses that had made a positive difference in the borough. She said she sided with the property owner. “Let us support our visionaries,” she said. Kathy Gilbert spoke in favor of the ordinance saying the English’s would be responsible operators of the business. Shelly Knouse said the English property “is absolutely beautiful. It’s renovated inside.”  She said an event venue would bring more business to Chambersburg St. Marcy Bievenour said the property owners would take the needs of the community into consideration “I don’t believe he would be so callous as to damage the neighborhood. It’s mixed use throughout the town,” she said.   A video of the public meeting, provided by Community Media, is available here.

Cumberland Township to receive $3,566,262 in grant awards; prepares for campus improvements and busy community season ahead

At their March Board of Supervisors meeting, Cumberland Township Manager David Blocher, reported that the Township was awarded a total of $3,566,262.00 in grant funding which will be earmarked as follows: $1,300,000.00 in grant funding awarded from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) which will be used to support the community with campus improvements. $1,000,000.00 awarded from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), to be applied towards upgrades by Cumberland Township Sewer Authority. $146,262.00 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) to go towards the Police Vehicle Replacement Program. $1,120,000.00 awarded from the Federal Consolidation Appropriations Act of 2023.  This funding will go towards Sewer Service Engineering. On behalf of the entire board, Township Supervisor Chair Shaun Phiel thanked the staff and former township manager, Ben Thomas, Jr., saying, “The effort put into these grant applications in 2022 has brought in more than $3.5 million in 2023 that will benefit the township on many fronts, for many years to come.” Phiel also noted that the board and staff will continue to pursue sources of revenue that will benefit the residents of Cumberland Township. Township Manager David Blocher thanked the governing bodies for their support and efforts to help make this happen. “We are proud of our township with the protection and services that we have which makes it the place you want to live,” he said. Blocker said that, as the Township grows, there are challenges to ensuring the provision of services to a level the community expects and that these grants would make a positive impact on the township, both operationally and financially. Police Report:  Chief Matthew Trostel reported that The Church of Brethren had requested assistance with a bike rodeo for youngsters scheduled for May 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Police Cadet Dakota Myers, who recently completed PA Vehicle Code and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) coursework, was assigned to assist with the bike rodeo project.  As part of the 25th National Prescription Takeback Program, various Adams County police departments will hold a free Medicine Take Back event on April 22, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cumberland Township police officer Rich Keefer will be assisting the Carroll Valley Police Department with this event.  Chief Trostel pointed out that the Cumberland Township Police Department (CTPD) has a 24/7-365 drug drop box at the station throughout the year.  (See also information on permanent collection sites at Adams County Medication Collection Boxes). Chief Trostel said the Co-Responder Program Cooperation Agreement has been signed by Cumberland Township and awaiting countersignatures from York County and WellSpan. As soon as the program is officially in place, Chief Trostel will invite Coordinator Bruce Bartz and Co-Responder Mackenzie Johnson to attend a future Board meeting for an introduction. All documentation related to CTPD’s award of the PCCD Medical Marijuana Grant has been completed and equipment to be funded by the grant has been placed on order. All CTPD members will be scheduled to attend Medical Marijuana Training classes in the near future. In other police business, Chief Trostel reported on the department’s calls during the month; updates on the police vehicle upgrades; department training of individual PD members, as well as correspbndence received from the Barlow Fire Department Chief complimenting Officers Rich Keefer, Brian Weikert, Ryan Eiker and Sergeant Josh Rosenberger on their exemplary handling of various incidents. As previously reported, the Board approved the promotion of Officer Josh Rosenberger to Sergeant. The 160th Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary special events will take place June 30 through July 2, 2023 (see more information at: 160th-battle-gettysburg-anniversary). Clem Melot from Pennsylvania Municipal Code Alliance (PMCA) and Jim Fox, representative for the reenactment organization, addressed the Board to report on current planning status and amount of support needed from the township. A community member addressed the board to seek clarification on the upcoming Electronic Recycling Collection Programs for the county. Details about the program can be found online at PA Counties Electronics Recycling Collection Programs. Information on each of the Engineering Projects, Bills/Budget approvals, and Committee Reports presented at the meeting can be found in the Regular Board Meeting Agenda:  March 28, 2023 Cumberland Township BOS Meeting, and will be available in further detail on the Cumberland Township website, once the minutes of this meeting have been posted:  Cumberland Township BOS Meetings 2023.

Gettysburg seeks input on Racehorse Alley changes

Major changes to traffic patterns in the borough are being considered and the public is urged to weigh in on them. The Gettysburg Borough Council continued its discussion of potential changes to Racehorse Alley at Monday’s workshop meeting. The proposed changes are backed by Healthy Adams County’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Gettysburg Inner Loop project, as part of their creation of a network of roads, alleys, and off-road trails that enable safe travel around the borough. In his presentation to the council, Borough Engineer Chad Clabaugh said several options are still under review, each with the goal of increasing safety, decreasing traffic flows through the alley, and making the borough more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. On the table are options that make Racehorse Alley run one-way west or one way east, or the “Franklin Funnel,” which would prevent drivers crossing Franklin St. in the alley. Some borough council members noted the extent to which people use the alleys to commute to work and a goal of the process would be to prevent that. No decisions have been made at this point but the council pointed out that few residents have expressed their opinions about the proposed changes. Please leave your comments on this post, contact your local representative, or call the borough at (717) 334-1160.

Gettysburg hears call for more murals

Adams County Arts Center Executive Director Lisa Cadigan and Jeff Rioux, Director of the Gettysburg College Center for Public Service, called for more murals and other people-oriented art in the borough at Monday’s borough council work session. Cadigan said the Arts Council encouraged creating and maintaining public arts in our area, with the goal of emphasizing “story-telling for community placemaking.” Rioux said public murals would not only beautify the borough but also help create vibrant neighborhoods that give people pride in their community. Rioux noted that public murals frequently use a collaborative process with significant input from the community, which creates a sense of collective efficacy. Rioux said murals can help maintain and attract small businesses and are very popular with tourists, who frequently use them as a backdrop for selfies. “Selfies in front of them will give other people ideas about where to visit,” he said. Cadigan and Rioux proposed creating partnerships with local agencies and the creation of a committee including residents to promote murals. Rioux and Cadigan said although their focus is on murals, there could be many different types of public arts projects considered, including projection art and panels that are hung on surfaces. “I pass by a lot of walls that could be painted,” said Rioux. “There are many stories to tell,” said Cadigan. Council member Chad-Alan Carr pointed out that some historic buildings might have had murals that had been painted over. Council President Wes Heyser said that according to regulations in the historic district, murals could be painted only on historic buildings that have already been painted. Individuals interested in learning more about or becoming involved in the project should contact Cadigan or Rioux.

Council of Governments focuses on cybersecurity

The threat of cyber-attacks loomed large at Thursday’s meeting of the Adams County Council of Governments (ACCOG). “A municipality is an enticing target,” said ACCOG member Ron Harris, who presented information to educate municipal leaders about the many online scams that threaten cybersecurity and outlined best practices that leaders can use to prevent those threats. Some of the issues municipal websites face are a lack of policies or outdated technology for addressing cybersecurity issues. Other problems are related to the limited budget many municipalities have and their need to be transparent. Best practices highlighted during the presentation include regular security updates, a data recovery plan, extensive cybersecurity training, holding vendor partners to high standards, and cybersecurity insurance. “This is here now,” said Adams County Commissioner Randy Phiel, who encouraged municipal leaders to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). He said that currently Adams County does have cybersecurity insurance, but warned that without MFA government agencies may not have as many options in that area. County manager Steve Nevada said that online scammers are becoming more sophisticated, hacking into local companies to give the appearance of being legitimate and then infiltrating email. “Really train your staff,” advised Nevada, encouraging the use of MFA. “MFA is a pain but it’s part of what we do to operate today.” He offered to help municipal leaders integrate MFA into their systems and urged them to contact him. Before presenting a legislative report, State representative Dan Moul highlighted “real hero” Cathy Wallen who attended the ACCOG meeting. Moul related a recent incident where Wallen, district office manager for State Representative Torren Ecker, saved a man’s life at a recent dinner. He said Wallen was the first to react when an attendee collapsed and immediately began performing life-saving compressions. She received a round of applause for her heroism.   Moul, the chairman of the agricultural committee, reported on a current movement to organize farm workers. “That would kill agriculture in Pennsylvania,” he said.  Moul also warned about a new type of avian flu which can be passed on easily and wipe out entire chicken populations. His third concern is the destruction of the county tax base by the Civil War Trust which buys land in the county for historical preservation. Moul threatened a class action suit against the state of Pennsylvania to bring attention to the matter and said he would pay the filing fees out of his pocket. “I’m looking after taxpayers, not the park service,” he said. The Adams County Planning Department is updating the county’s heritage plan and is looking to include lesser-known historic resources that are important locally. The county office is also urging local leaders to encourage people to fill out the current transportation survey that can be found on the Adam’s County website. Every two years the State Transportation Commission (STC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) update the 12-year program. As part of this update process, a public comment period is held which includes a transportation survey and an online public forum to collect public input. It will be available until April 30. After hearing reports from representatives of Bermudian Springs, Upper Adams, and Conewago Valley School Districts, Board member Bob Gordon said ACCOG has advocated for school districts for years and that a future presentation would highlight Adams County schools. “How can ACCOG work and assist school districts,” he asked. ACCOG president Terry Scholle agreed and encouraged all school districts to be represented at the monthly meetings. Robin Fitzpatrick, president of the Adams Economic Alliance thanked the county commissioners for selecting them as one of the 14 recipients of the ARRF monies for county projects. She said they will be using the $300,000 to assist middle-income home buyers with down payment assistance. Other projects currently underway include the purchase of 50 acres of contaminated land in Cumberland County, and a new small business loan program with a focus on tourism and restaurants that will be unveiled in April.  Carl Peters, Destination Gettysburg Director, Gettysburg has seen an occupancy rate increase of 23 percent over the same period last year. “Domestic leisure travel is very popular right now and that’s good for us,” he added.   Bob Gordon said he “hopes to make 100,” as the ACCOG attendees celebrated his birthday. “I am now ninety-plus,” he replied later when asked his age. Gordon serves on the Hamiltonban Township council and has been an active member of ACCOG for many years. Featured image caption: A cake and an ovation were presented to honor ACCOG member Bob Gordon, at Thursday’s meeting. The ninety-plus-year-old has been active in many areas of Adams County government for many years.

Adams awards $5 million for development and safety projects

Five million dollars from the Adams Response & Recovery Fund (ARRF) was awarded to 14 projects impacting economic development and public safety priorities at Wednesday’s Adams County Commissioners meeting. Top awards included one million dollars to the East Berlin Area Joint Authority to support regional economic development, $500,000 to Adams County Technical Institute for land and construction of a county-wide career and technical institute, and $465,000 to South Central Community Action Programs, Inc. to provide affordable housing. Other awards included: $368,900 to the Gettysburg Combined Area Resources for Emergency Shelter for homeless housing $323,100 to Adams County Economic Development Corporation to assist middle-income home buyers with down payment assistance. $312,000 to the Adams County Arts Council for essential programming in the community. $281,000 to True North Wellness Services to increase behavioral health services in the county. $250,000 each to: Alpha Fire Company No. 1, Inc. for a new ambulance Anthony’s Way Foundation for transitional housing Adams Regional Emergency Medical Services for a critical care EMS unit Buchanan Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. for firehouse upgrades Heidlersburg Area Civic Association Fire Company to replace SCBA equipment for fire response. Lake Meade Property Owners Association, Inc. for an access road to provide upgrades to Lake Meade Dam.   Southeastern Adams Volunteer Emergency Services for a new state-compliant engine tanker. Commissioner Randy Phiel said that the county received $20 million from the American Rescue Plan funds and could have used all of it to offset the deficits caused by Covid as some counties have done. Instead, the county used half of the funds for that purpose, reserved $5 million for the updated broadband project now underway, and provided the community the opportunity to apply for the other $5 million. The funds were announced in September 2022 and 43 project applications were received between Oct. 24 to Nov. 21, with a minimum cost of $250,000. “I wish there had been millions more. All the applications had merit,” said Phiel. Commissioner James Martin called the process to determine the awards “very thorough. It was a well-informed decision and, when done, will make an impact on our community.” “Almost all these funds were used for affordable housing, economic development, or mental health services. Without a doubt, these are some of the most critical issues facing our communities. While all the applications were good, these three issues must be addressed if we are to move forward,” Commissioner Marty Qually commented. Awards and Honors The Optimist Club of Gettysburg honored Eric Beyer by presenting him with the 2023 Respect for Law Award. Detective Beyer is the coordinator of the Adams County Drug Task Force and a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. He also assists all other law enforcement agencies within the county from summary offenses to homicide investigations. Optimist Club Director Doug Miller said it is a positive way to recognize an officer. “He goes above and beyond,” Miller said. Commissioner Phiel agreed. “Eric is unique, adding to his plate over and over again. He never says no. There is no one more deserving or entitled to this recognition.”   A modest Beyer thanked the commissioners, his wife, his co-workers, and the Optimist Club. The commissioners named Adams County resident Timothy H. Smith Official County Historian.  The proclamation noted he has served as a volunteer, research assistant, collections manager, historian, and director of education for the Adams County Historical Society for over 30 years. He replaces Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter, former historian from 2001 until his death in 2013. Smith, who attended the commissioners’ meeting unaware that he was to receive a reward, said, “I am stunned and honored and hope I can fulfill the duties of the official county historian.” “Your distinction comes at a unique time,” said Commissioner Martin, referring to the opening of the new Historical Society facility in April. Martin thanked him for his long hours and accumulation of so much knowledge. “This is about protecting our future—making sure we don’t forget those stories,” added Commissioner Qually. “I can’t think of anyone else in this county who knows more or deserves it more. Smith, originally from Maryland, began visiting the area in the 1970s before making it his permanent home in 1989. “There’s not one who parallels him for his knowledge of Adams County history. He is the go-to guy for everything. The new county historical museum would not have gotten done without his basic knowledge about what should be in there,” said Commissioner Phiel. Smith will be recognized again when the new Adams County Historical Society opens at its new headquarters, 625 Biglerville Rd on April 15 with a weekend of events.    In other board business: The Agricultural Land Preservation Board has picked up more than 70 acres of farmland after approval from the commissioners to purchase the David and Beatrice Waybright Farm for $3,000 per acre. The county has authorized the advertisement to accept sealed bids for the maintenance repairs of 40 county bridges. The sealed bids must be submitted online at PennBID on or before 8 a.m. on May 3. All bids will be announced at the commissioners meeting on the same day. Municipal demolition and building permits will be reduced from $10 to $, but non-compliance fees will rise from $50 to $100 per incidence. The cap for projects requiring permits is now $4,300 and will be assessed annually. Residents must receive permits from the municipality in which they reside and then apply for county permits. Adams County business manager Steve Nevada reminded residents that the new email address went into effect in January and after April 3, the old email address will no longer work. The new email tag is @admascountypa.gov. The old tag was @adamscounty.us. If in doubt, Nevada said the Adams County PA website can provide contact information. The next meeting of the Adams County Commissioners will take place on April 5 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Featured image caption: Eric Beyer was the recipient of the Optimist Club of Gettysburg Respect for Law Award. From left, Optimist member Fred Darling, Commissioner James Martin, club secretary Daryl Aurand, club president Gary Rappoldt, golf committee chair Dan Mattern,  Commissioner Randy Phiel, Respect for Law committee chair Doug Miller, Commissioner Marty Qually, Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnet.  Second photo caption: Timothy H. Smith was named Official County Historian at Wednesday’s Commissioners meeting. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Commissioner Randy Phiel, Smith, Commissioner Marty Qually. 

Gettysburg school board director removed from primary ballot

This story was updated on March 25, 2023 Adams County President Judge Michael A. George has ruled that because she intentionally misstated facts about her real estate holdings and income on the financial statement accompanying her petitions for Gettysburg Area School Board, incumbent board member Amy Beth Hodges may not run as a Republican candidate in the 2023 primary election. In a separate order issued on March 24, George also removed Hodges from the Democratic primary election on the basis of insufficient valid signatures in her Democratic petition. The objection to Hodges’ Republican Party petition was filed by Gettysburg Area School District resident Andrew W. Miner. George heard oral arguments in the case on Monday before making his ruling yesterday. In his ruling, George said Hodges listed her profession, business, or occupation as “business owner” and listed her occupation or profession as “innkeeper.” In her statement of financial interests accompanying the petition, Hodges listed 44 York St. Gettysburg as one of her real estate interests. Hodges also checked the “none” box in response to the question of whether she possessed financial interest in any legal entity in business for profit. George determined that 44 York St. is owned by White Orchid Enterprises LLC and that Hodges does not have any legal interest in the property. George said Hodges and her husband are in negotiations to obtain full ownership of the business (known as the Brafferton Inn), but that it was unclear as to the manner in which such a transaction would occur, if at all. In his order, George said all candidates of a political party seeking nomination and election to a public office within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are required to comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Election Code, which includes a statement of financial interests. George said inaccuracies in the statement of financial interests do not automatically disqualify a candidate and can be amended. According to George, Hodges filed an amended statement in which she reported the Brafferton Inn as a source of income of $1,300 or more and denied she is employed by the business or has a financial interest in the legal entity. George said that “despite Hodges’ representation in her Petition, it is unequivocally clear that she is not a ‘Business Owner,’ but that “Hodges’ misrepresentation concerning her occupation as a “Business Owner” standing alone is insufficient to qualify as a material representation invalidating the Petition.” He concluded by saying “However, when combined with inaccuracies in the Statement of Financial Interests supports a conclusion that the inaccuracies in the combination of documents were intentional. All of these representations further her public statements as to business ownership which are false but clearly aimed at gaining political favor.” Hodges was first elected to the school board in 2019 when she successfully ran for two seats. Because she was only capable of filling one chair, Hodges resigned from the position that included a two-year term and accepted the four-year position.

GARA explores improvements to alternative sports park; additional space for little league teams

Two community members, Joshua Kinard and Derek Roden, attended The Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority’s (GARA’s) monthly board meeting on Monday to propose improvements to the Alternative Sports/Skateboarding section of the park.  Both representatives are experienced skateboarders who had used the park for many years when they were younger. “There is not much life left in that park,” said Kindard. The pair said a goal would be to have the ramps appeal to all ages; create obstacles for kids of all age groups and sizes; remove all outdated gear and matter and, ultimately, make the sports park more functional and safer by removing spaces where anyone could hide. The team proposed resurfacing the area with concrete, which would ensure longevity and require less maintenance, and updating the various ramps and obstacles.  If needed, the project could be carried out in phases, such as breaking ground and adding the foundation first; then adding obstacles here and there.  “We would like to offer our help to impart our knowledge for the design and making it more functional,” said Roden.  The pair said they had a variety of resources to raise funds through sponsorships from local businesses, skateboard shops in the larger area, music shows, contests, and crowdfunding. They also mentioned the possibility of exploring a grant.  The board expressed interest and pledged their support for the project.  Board member Steve Neibler suggested that the team also attend Gettysburg Borough and Cumberland Township board meetings to raise interest, as well as reaching out to the Mt. Joy and Straban Townships.  GARA Executive Director Erin Pedigree proposed forming a sub-committee to explore all options and perhaps find ways to collaborate with other townships to search for possible grant money.  Noting that Gettysburg is a great place for recreation, Neibler thanked the team for coming and invited them back for further updates. The President of Gettysburg Little League (GLL), Drake Cammauf, addressed the board to request additional space for the Little League team practices and games.  Cammauf said the league has now grown to 200 kids with 18 teams playing this spring, effectively doubling the size of the original league.  Cammauf also noted that there is competition for space in the whole area from other leagues, such as travel ball, softball teams and the Cal Ripken leagues. Noting that GARA’s Weikert and Coldsmith fields were overloaded already, Cammauf inquired whether there might be other opportunities to expand.  Neibler mentioned an area between Swope Field and Breckenridge St. that had baseball fields in the past. “This might be a great location for the kids if they don’t need the base pads and so on”, Neibler suggested.  The group discussed cost of restoring the baseball fields which might still have a basic foundation to work with. Cammauf noted that GLL had better resources this season to help with financing. Since the league had grown, it also increased the availability of business sponsors within the league, including some excavating companies that might be able to assist with the project.  Neibler said that there wasn’t enough money in the budget to create new spaces but offered full support to assist as much as possible with organization and utilizing existing fields.  Pedigree offered to meet and explore financing options, including funds from various donors and the Giving Spree to be earmarked for this project.  The board invited Cammauf back to discuss and collaborate further. Pedigree reported that several special events had already been confirmed for the upcoming season, including a free Easter dinner for the Gettysburg Soup Kitchen, hosted by the Church of Brethren, as well as the Celebrate Success autism celebration in April. She also reported that almost all nights of the summer concert series have been filled with mostly rock cover bands and jazz musicians.  Farmers Market planning has been in full swing; at present, the team is still exploring the best options for customer parking.  Erin further reported that discussions continue regarding the proposed new bike trail study we reported on previously.  Additional business included discussion of potentially adding a pickleball court to the park, which might be funded by a recently received $20,000 donation. Since the board meeting did not meet a full quorum, certain business matters were postponed to next month. The full agenda of the meeting can be found at:  https://www.gara-recpark.info/meetings-and-holidays.

Zoning Ordinance Public Hearing – Event Venues – March 27, 2023 – 6:00 p.m. Borough Hall

The Gettysburg Borough Council has been working for over a year on inserting a new category of “Event Venue” into the zoning ordinance.  The owners of 68 W. High Street (as of Dec. 2020) want to have a business that would involve both indoor and outdoor events such as bridal showers and wedding receptions, parties,  ghost hunting, dinners, etc.  These events would range in size.  One hundred guests has been the maximum number discussed over the past year.  The Borough Code does not currently include Event Venue so, by PA State law, it needs to be allowed somewhere in the borough.  Uses can be allowed either by “right” or “special exception”.  By right means little restriction, just get all permits required.  “Special exception” means an application to the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB), where there can be public input, and additional conditions can be put on the activity, if deemed appropriate by the ZHB. After months of trying to create limits on the number of events, hours of activity, location of tents, etc. that would apply to all potential event venues — not just the 68 W. High Street property — a draft ordinance was produced in September 2022 by Borough Planner Carly Marshall and Solicitor Eastman.  Ms. Marshall had reviewed meeting videos to make sure she had captured council’s recommendations.  At the time, it seemed like a good compromise between not allowing the activity at all in a given district, and allowing an unrestricted use in the confined spaces within Gettysburg. At the January 2023 work session, however; some members did an about-face and removed most restrictions from this potentially detrimental use.  The only things remaining were the existing borough noise ordinance, rules about busses idling on the streets, and a maximum of 100 guests and staff on premises.  No limit on the number of events per month or days of the week.   A new draft was developed that allowed Event Venue as a by-right use in some districts and a special exception in others.  For some reason, in the Elm Street Overlay (neighborhood including W. High and S. Washington to South Street) it is included as a by-right use (same as Steinwehr Ave. Tourist Commercial), while on Baltimore Street, Office Residential (OR) and the development site behind the Transit Station (RORR), it is by special exception.   How is this appropriate ? The Elm Street Overlay district is one of the most densely settled, historic neighborhoods in Gettysburg. During 2007, a consultant met with local citizens and officials to develop a plan under the PA State Elm Street program – a sister program to Main Street, but focused on potential neighborhood improvements, history, and programs.  Olde Getty Place was initiated as a program facilitated by the Housing Authority.  The Elm Street Overlay was added to the zoning ordinance to allow limited uses appropriate for a neighborhood setting.  A maximum 2,000 square foot limit was placed on buildings in the R-2 Residential portion to avoid non-residential structures being out of character for the neighborhood.  The Plan is still considered an official borough plan, but the program fell through the cracks when the Housing Authority underwent changes.  The Elm Street overlay remains in the ordinance. Various people have commented that they believe economic/commercial development was a primary focus of the Elm Street program and ordinance.  Mr. English insists it is not a residential area.  At the February 27, 2008 public hearing for the proposed Elm Street Overlay (ESO) district, Tom Comitta, zoning consultant, described the purpose of the ESO as “to promote the development and redevelopment of a residential neighborhood adjacent to a commercial district according to the Elm Street Project Plan.”   I was at that public hearing on another matter, so I can confirm that this took place.  Concerned members of the neighborhood were in attendance.  (See excerpt below.) In the proposed ordinance, Section 27-5A05 is deleted.  This sets a 2,000 s.f. limitation on buildings in the residential portion, in order to maintain neighborhood character.  This means the footprint of the building, not the upper floors or lot size.   At the March/April work session meetings, the Council agreed by consensus not to change or delete this section, but leave it to the Zoning Hearing Board to address, if needed.  It was not discussed after that. While the Event Venue ordinance would affect several districts in the borough, the focus by the council has been on the 68 W. High Street property and what its owners want to do.  There are other properties even in the Elm Street Overlay that could meet the required .5 acre size requirement.  So there could be multiple event venues, with associated traffic, parking, and noise within a few blocks of each other.  Residents could be sandwiched in between properties that become event venues.  It can be cumulative, and it cannot be assumed that it won’t happen based on today’s ownership.  (Speaking of parking, South Washington Street is an RPP zone, where residents depend on street parking but could be pre-empted by event attendees.) There is a public hearing on March 27, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.   If you are concerned about having the changes made to the Elm Street Overlay or other zoning districts in the borough, you can attend the hearing, or you can send an email to Wes Heyser, Council President,   wheyser@gettysburgpa.gov To see the entire ordinance:  https://www.gettysburgpa.gov/pending-ordinances     

Pa. primary election 2023: A complete guide to the candidates for state Supreme Court

Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — During Pennsylvania’s primary election in May, Democrats and Republicans will choose their parties’ nominees to fill a seat on the state Supreme Court. Pennsylvania elects its Supreme Court justices in statewide partisan contests. The winners of the May 16 primary will compete during the Nov. 7 general election. The state’s primaries are closed, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote for candidates during these spring contests. (Unaffiliated and third-party voters can, however, vote on ballot questions, other referendums, and special elections during a primary.) The seven-member court currently comprises four Democrats and two Republicans. One seat has been vacant since the death of former Chief Justice Max Baer, who occupied the bench for nearly two decades. While the eventual winner of the race won’t change control of the court, a Republican victory could bring the party closer to retaking the majority it lost nearly a decade ago. >>Register to vote, change your registration, request a mail ballot, and more at vote.pa.gov The state Supreme Court takes on relatively few cases, but its rulings can have a major impact on politics and policy in Pennsylvania. In recent years, the court has decided cases on reproductive rights, mask mandates, and election disputes. “The Supreme Court is the ultimate decider of law in Pennsylvania but most people don’t have everyday interaction,” said Deb Gross, president and CEO of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a nonprofit that educates people about Pennsylvania’s judicial system. “They rarely would handle a landlord-tenant case, but … would decide a case about voting or redistricting.” Learn more about the candidates: What a justice does Justices on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court get the final say on cases that are appealed up through the commonwealth’s two other appellate courts, which means they often decide whether to uphold or overturn decisions from governors and the state legislature. In recent years, the court has handed down major rulings interpreting Pennsylvania’s Election Code. The court’s decisions include instructing officials to toss out thousands of mail ballots with missing or incorrect dates on the outer envelopes, disqualifying thousands of ballots with missing inner envelopes, and letting counties use ballot drop boxes at their own discretion. The court also intervenes when the governor, state House, and state Senate can’t agree on a congressional map. In 2018, the justices declared the map unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to draw a new one. They then commissioned a new map themselves when the lawmakers deadlocked. In 2022, the court again chose a new map. Justices are elected to 10-year terms, after which they face a retention vote. In the past two decades, only one justice has failed to retain their seat. During the latest election of a state Supreme Court justice, just over two years ago, candidates raised nearly $6 million over the course of the race. Republican Kevin Brobson won the election, beating his Democratic opponent Maria McLaughlin with over 50% of the vote. April 4 is the next deadline this year for candidates to file a campaign finance report with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Democratic candidates Deborah Kunselman Kunselman is based in Beaver County. She began her judicial career with an election to the county’s Court of Common Pleas in 2005, and won a seat on Superior Court in 2017. She spent 13 years in private practice before that, working in civil litigation and family and employment law at several Pittsburgh-area law firms. During eight of those years, she also served as assistant solicitor and then chief solicitor for Beaver County. Outside of her practice, Kunselman sometimes lectures about legal issues, volunteers as a religious education instructor, and annually serves as a judge at the Beaver County Mock Trial Competition. She was rated “Highly Recommended” — the top designation — by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, which wrote that she has a “reputation for being a thoughtful appellate decision-maker, open to persuasion, and proceeding in each matter with integrity and high character.” In her PBA questionnaire, Kunselman wrote that her “passion for the law and love of writing opinions” drove her to run for state Supreme Court. She said that she hopes to write unambiguous, precedent-setting opinions that lawyers will be able to clearly understand. Read Kunselman’s PBA questionnaire here. Daniel McCaffery McCaffery, a Philadelphia native, was elected to Superior Court in 2019. A veteran of the U.S. Army, McCaffery began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, where he was assigned to the major trials unit. Following his stint in the DA’s office, McCaffery joined a private firm based in Montgomery County and spent 16 years there as a civil trial attorney. Before being elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 2013, McCaffery volunteered as legal counsel for the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee and was a member of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. McCaffery’s website notes that he has also worked on 50 campaigns as a manager, fundraiser, and canvasser. McCaffery is the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, and his website also lists endorsements from the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters, and the Pennsylvania State Building & Construction Trades Council. He was rated “Highly Recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, which wrote that he has “sound knowledge of legal principles” and a history of “community involvement.” McCaffery wrote in his PBA questionnaire that he is running for state Supreme Court because he thinks that “Democratic Institutions including the judiciary are under duress.” He said that he hopes to restore confidence in the court system and will “approach every case in a non-partisan manner.” Read McCaffery’s PBA questionnaire here. Republican candidates Carolyn Carluccio Carluccio is a judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, to which she was first elected in 2009. Before becoming a judge, Carluccio worked on both sides of the justice system. After a few years in private practice at the start of her career, she became an assistant U.S. attorney in Delaware in 1989 and served in the role for nearly a decade. She then served as chief public defender of Montgomery County from 2002 to 2006. Carluccio also worked as chief deputy solicitor for Montgomery County, handling contract negotiations, real estate matters, and personnel and labor law issues. She also did a stint as the county’s acting director of human resources between 2008 and 2009. Carluccio was elected unanimously by her peers to serve as president judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas in 2022. The Pennsylvania Republican Party endorsed Carluccio in early February, choosing her over another candidate who had previously run for state Supreme Court. She was rated “Highly Recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, which called her a “highly respected jurist.” In her PBA questionnaire, she wrote that she “wants a justice system that is fair and impartial.” She also wrote that her “diverse court experience” is an asset, citing her experience on both sides of the justice system as well as in family and civil cases. Read Carluccio’s PBA questionnaire here. Patricia McCullough McCullough, of Allegheny County, currently serves on Commonwealth Court. This is her second time running for state Supreme Court after losing the Republican primary in 2021 to Brobson. During that election, McCullough’s husband began serving a prison sentence for taking money from an older woman’s trust fund — a factor that Republican Party officials said lessened their support for her candidacy. McCullough was first elected to Commonwealth Court in 2010 and has since been involved in several high-profile cases regarding redistricting and election certification. In November 2020, she ordered state officials to stop certifying the election results in response to a suit brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.) and others that sought to throw out mail ballots. A higher court later dismissed that ruling with prejudice, saying that the petitioners didn’t bring the case forward in a timely manner and that not certifying the election would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of voters. When she ran for state Supreme Court in 2021, McCullough’s website stated that she was the sole candidate in the race who had been “praised by President [Donald] Trump.” McCullough also recently attended a political rally hosted by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), where she called Pennsylvania “the birthplace of the ‘One Nation Under God.’” The rally’s keynote speaker was Trump lawyer Christina Bobb, who spread false claims of election fraud. In February, McCullough attended a Susquehanna County Republicans event and posed for a group photo that included Frank Scavo, a Pennsylvania resident who was sentenced to 60 days in prison for participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. (McCullough did not respond to a request for comment about the photo.) During the 2020 redistricting cycle, the state Supreme Court picked McCullough to serve as the court’s special master and make a recommendation for a new congressional map. She recommended that the state Supreme Court impose new congressional districts based on a map that state House Republicans submitted — a recommendation that the state Supreme Court justices did not take up. McCullough began her career as a clerk to a Court of Common Pleas judge in Washington County, then worked as an attorney and adjunct professor for the University of Pittsburgh. She went on to work in private practice for five years, until her appointment to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in 2005. During that time she also served as executive director of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh before returning to private practice. She was elected to Commonwealth Court in 2009. On the campaign website for her 2021 state Supreme Court candidacy, McCullough wrote that she was running as a constitutionalist and that her belief in the state and federal constitutions fueled her desire to serve on the state Supreme Court. McCullough did not complete the Pennsylvania Bar Association questionnaire, according to Charles Eppolito III, chair of the organization’s Judicial Evaluation Commission — a panel of PBA members who evaluate judicial candidates. Candidates who do not complete the process receive a rating of “Not Recommended for failure to participate,” he said. During her 2021 run for state Supreme Court, McCullough received a “Not Recommended” rating from the PBA. The organization’s Judicial Evaluation Commission wrote that it became aware of McCullough’s “alleged conduct at a previous employment,” and that when members questioned McCullough about the issue, she did not answer the questions “to the satisfaction of the commission.” Read McCullough’s 2021 PBA questionnaire here. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results. Featured image caption: PA Supreme Court primary candidates, from left, clockwise: Deborah Kunselman; Daniel McCaffery; Patricia McCullough; Carolyn Carluccio.

Scott Harper appointed as Adams County Chief Public Defender

Scott Harper, former Adams County assistant public defender, has been named Chief Public Defender of Adams County. Harper graduated from Widener University School of Law in 2005 and was in private practice as a trial attorney, serving much of south-central PA. He joined the Adams County Public Defender’s staff in 2021. A former business owner, Harper graduated from Juniata College in 1991. He and his wife of 31 years have two children. “I’m very pleased Scott is succeeding me as Public Defender,” said Kristin Rice, former Adams County chief public defender. “We worked together for the last couple of years, and I found him to have qualities that I believe are fundamental to a Public Defender: he is a staunch supporter of individual liberties, independent, unafraid of any new challenge, and fights for his clients. The Public Defender’s Office is in good hands, ” she added.  

Carroll Valley trailer ordinance may finally see resolution

After two months of discussion at planning commission meetings, Carroll Valley Borough may be near a resolution to what has become known as the “trailer ordinance.” “I hope to prepare an ordinance draft for the next meeting,” borough manager Dave Hazlett told the Carroll Valley council. At issue is how many non-motored vehicles may be parked on private property. The January meeting heard nine residents speak on the subject, two seeking a limit on the number of stored vehicles and the others questioning why any limits were necessary. At the March planning commission meeting, it was agreed that three would be the appropriate number. “It’s hard to determine what that acceptable limit would be within the community. We’re trying to find the middle ground where we can please the most people,” Hazlett said. “We want to address those yards and homes that have an excess of what we consider reasonable and then create environmental or aesthetic issues,” borough council member John Schubring said. Other business A new 12-megapixel camera system and fencing have been approved to help secure the municipal services facility on Ranch Trail Road. The facility is used to house gas pumps and is also the location of the Carroll Valley impound lot. Hazlett told the council that people dump many trash items within the existing facility fence. The new fencing and camera will help to deter that practice. The borough approved the $8,870 camera system purchase. Bids for the fencing will be advertised and awarded at the April 11 borough council meeting. A resolution was approved for a cooperative tax collection agreement between Fairfield Area School District (FASD) and Carroll Valley Borough. The borough’s tax collector, Phyllis Doyle-Smith, will collect taxes for FASD. Hamiltonban’s tax collector resigned at the end of February, and the position remains vacant. The Adams County Treasurer’s office is currently collecting Hamiltonban Township taxes. A second resolution was approved for a mental health liaison to work with the borough police when responding to calls involving residents with mental health issues. Borough police chief Cliff Weikert said the new partnership had “no drawbacks” and would greatly help the department. Mayor Ron Harris advised residents who don’t wish to have hunters on their properties to take advantage of the purple paint law. A change, during 2020, in Title 18, the state Crimes Code, gives landowners the option of using purple paint rather than signs to post on their properties and alert others that lands are private and trespassing isn’t permitted.  A radar bill is once again being heard at the state legislature, and Mayor Ron Harris said he wants people to understand that such a bill is not a revenue generator for the borough. “It’s really for the safety of the people,” he said. If passed, the law, which currently allows state police to use radar devices to apprehend speeders, would extend that option to local police departments. Pennsylvania is the only state in the union prohibiting local municipalities from using radar to monitor speeding. Assistant borough manager Gayle Marthers thanked the 228 residents who attended the annual father-daughter dance in February. She also extended her appreciation to the council members and many others who volunteered their time and talents. The annual Easter Egg hunt will take place on April 8 at 11 a.m. Volunteers are needed to fill the more than 5,000 plastic eggs, and donations are appreciated. April 22 is medication take-back day in Carroll Valley. Hosted by the borough and neighboring police departments, in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Agency and Collaborating for Youth, residents can dispose of expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Chief Weikert also wanted to remind borough residents that drop-offs can also be made at any time at the medical disposal unit located at the police department, whenever the office is open.

Gettysburg recognizes 20th anniversary of its official flag; expects more bicycle police patrols

Gettysburg Mayor Frealing recognized the 197th anniversary of its founding and honored local resident Bob Mcilhenny for his work in creating the Gettysburg flag 20 years ago at its meeting yesterday. Read our story about the development of the flag here. Frealing declared March as “The official flag of the borough of Gettysburg month.” Frealing said the borough planned to hold an annual remembrance of the founding of the borough on March 10, 1806, going forward. Oct 13-15 will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the movie “Gettysburg.”  There should be some really cool stuff going on,” said Main Street Gettysburg CEO Jill Sellers. The borough announced that new “big-belly” trash cans have arrived and will be placed on Lincoln Square. The compacting trash cans hold more trash than standard cans. GARA representative Matt Moon said the annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held in the rec park on Saturday April 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  It’s a free event; all ages are welcome.  The borough approved a bid for $65,913 from JDI Sites Solutions for Racehorse Alley Parking Garage maintenance. Glenny said he had met with 3 or 4 people who are interested in the job as a police officer, including some who live in town. “I’m very positive about how that’s going,” he said. Glenny said the department had purchased some new bicycles and that residents should expect to see more officers on bicycles in the near future. Glenny noted that bicycles have the advantage that they can patrol in some areas where patrol cars cannot. Councilmember Judie Butterfield noted that the idea of having bicycle patrols was seen as important in the initial drafting of the Elm St. overlay project. Glenny said Wellspan Health had agreed to grant $35,000 to the police department which will include new 2-way radios for the new officers, as well as funds to cover personnel training time. “There’s no free training,” said Glenny. Glenny said that although there was not much on it, the Gettysburg Police Department’s new Crimewatch page is now up and active. Moon said about 50 visitors participated in this month’s Black Balloon Day. “It was a somber event. I thank everyone for coming out,” said Moon. Butterfield said 42 people had signed up for the March recycling event to be held on Saturday and that there is still space to sign up. Borough Manager Charles Gable said funds from both parking and hotel and entertainment taxes were up in January. Frealing said she had visited the White House in Washington as part of Black History month, and thanked the many people who had attended the Annual Fire Department Recognition Banquet.

Gettysburg Considers safety changes to Racehorse Alley; seeks zoning volunteers

Borough Engineer Chad Claybaugh said the borough was working with a traffic consultant to create a design to make Racehorse Alley safer and more accommodating for bicycles and pedestrians. Claybaugh said a number of options were being considered, including the possibility of making the alley one-way between Buford and Washington Streets. The alley is already being used by pedestrians and bicycles, as well as cars. Claybaugh said the changes were also expected to reduce the number of people taking shortcuts through the alley and prevent traffic backups. Claybaugh said there were many variables to take into consideration and that he was reaching out to businesses and other residents along the alley. “The goal is to retrofit an existing unsafe condition,” he said. “There are more questions than answers at this point.” Volunteers Needed The borough is looking for volunteers from the community to help make zoning decisions over the next months. The borough has allocated funding for a new rezoning effort, and the project requires a steering committee that would be meeting for between 6 and 8 months starting in April.  The committee would meet during the day once a month for about 90 minutes and would include members from borough staff and other borough organizations. The borough also hopes to have 3 or 4 members from the public joining the committee. People interested in serving on the committee are asked to apply to the borough by March 17. GMA Reports Mark Guise from the Gettysburg Municipal Authority gave an update on current projects in the borough. Guise said construction on the new water tower behind Giant has finished and the elevated 1.5 million gallon tank has been in service for the past 9 months. The existing tank next to it will be removed once the cell phone equipment has been transferred to the new tank. Guise said the new tank provides more emergency storage and that the borough now has 2.2 million gallons of usable storage — up from 1.6 million before the construction. Next up on the docket is the rehabilitation of a tank located at 770 Baltimore St., which will occur over the summer. An older tank at that location will be removed. Guise said the borough will be opening a new well south of Gettysburg off Sachs Rd. “The aquifer is good,” he said. The well is expected to provide at least 300 gallons of water per minute. A new water main will be constructed to the site. Guise said the state provided guidelines about how much water could be drawn from the new well. Guise said permitting was close to being completed for the installation of new sewer lines on the west side of the borough. Gettysburg Garden Club MOU The borough has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gettysburg Garden Club to provide flowers and hanging baskets in and around Lincoln Square during the summer months. Gettysburg Garden Club president Maryan Daniels said her organization had taken on the work in 2008 and that they had struggled financially in the beginning. “It’s an expensive project; about $10,000 per year,” she said. Daniels said the club was now able to keep the project going thanks to donations that come from the Adams County Giving Spree held in November. The club said donations to the Garden Club go to the downtown flower project. “The Giving Spree has really made this project,” she said. Daniels said she expects the downtown flower project will be self-supporting. “Our goal is that these flowers will be here forever.” Daniels said the club cared for 48 baskets and 8 planters. The borough will begin work on revising its employee handbook, which hasn’t been updated since 2009.  One idea is to create a mission/vision statement for the borough. The process is expected to take several months.

County Commissioners conserve new properties; honor Land Conservancy and 4H

Wednesday was a day to appreciate preserving Adams County’s rural landscape as the commissioners approved the purchase of new land for preservation and honored two conservation agencies at their meeting. The commissioners approved a proposal from Ellen Dayhoff, AG Land Conservation Board Program administrator, to purchase five agricultural conservation easements in Conewago and Union Townships. The purchase should go to settlement by the end of March. Three farms from Union Township will be purchased with $171,484 in township funds and $414,822 in county funds. The two farms in Conewago County will be purchased with $396,407 from township funds and $106,477 from the county. The county investment comes from the general fund 2020/2021 farmland preservation program annual allocation. The properties are part of a multiple farm preservation program, including Hanover Shoe Farm, where famous harness racing horses are bred and raised. “An equine study completed by the Adams County Planning Office shows what a strong economic driver the equine farms are for the county,” Dayhoff added. Dayhoff said the four additional Hanover Shoe farms are being purchased through state and federal funding and are slated to close by the end of the month. A further two properties, including the “home” Hanover Shoe farm, are in the process of being acquired and may go to settlement by the end of 2023 or early 2024. The commissioners also proclaimed March 9 to April 21 as Land Conservancy of Adams County Month and March 12 to 18 as Pennsylvania 4-H Week. According to Board President Dave Salisbury, the Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC) was born out of the county’s agricultural land preservation program in 1995. Since then, it has worked with more than 130 local landowners to preserve more than 12,000 acres of farmland, meadows, forests, streams, and historic spaces, including 43 miles along streams and creeks. Commissioner Phiel, a conservancy board member, reminded the public of an opportunity to support the LCAC by participating in the 36th annual art auction that will take place from April 7 to 19. Art donations are accepted from March 13 to 29. More information regarding the event and contributions can be found at preserveadams.org/art-auction-23.  Darlene Resh, 4-H club spokesperson, thanked the commissioners for their support and praised the 60 county volunteers who supply about $170,000 worth of work hours for the club and its members. There are more than 1000 members in Adams County 4-H club programs, including their after-school programs and embryology school enrichment program. The enrichment program provides educational materials that teach elementary students about the care and management of chicken development as part of a three-week science program. “I love seeing preservation and future in the same room,” Commissioner Marty Qually said. “It should be a goal in every government to keep our land healthy.” Commissioner James Martin thanked the club for its work with Adams County youth, saying, “Leadership, citizenship, life skills – there are very few places where that happens in such a negative society. You are like an oasis.” New Chief Public Defender Scott Harper, former Adams County assistant public defender, has been named Chief Public Defender of Adams County. Harper graduated from Widener University School of Law in 2005 and was in private practice as a trial attorney, serving much of south-central PA. He joined the Adams County Public Defender’s staff in 2021. A former business owner, Harper graduated from Juniata College in 1991. He and his wife of 31 years have two children. Featured image caption: Front Row Left to Right: Carly Keller, 4-H Beef Club member; Casey Zirk, 4-H Goat Club member; Darlene Resh, 4-H Educator; Makayla Keller, 4-H Teen Senate member. Back Row Left to Right: Noah Kuhn, 4-H Sheep Club member;  Donna Scherer, Customer Relations Manager; Alexis Lansford, 4-H Educator; Jim Martin, County Commissioner; Randy Phiel, County Commissioner; Charlie Lory, East Berlin 4-H Shooting Sports Club member; Marty Qually, County Commissioner; Laura Klunk, New Oxford 4-H Club Leader.

Gettysburg celebrates the 20th anniversary of its flag

It was twenty years ago when Gettysburg resident Bob Mcilhenny received a phone call from then borough manager Charlie Sterner. “Sterner said he thought it would be a great idea if we had a town flag,” said Micilhenny. “He called me because I ran a business that fabricated banners and flags.” Mcilhenny said he started the design using a letterhead seal from the 1960s that had been created by Eugene Sickles, a Battlefield guide and artist. “The seal contained a lot of Gettysburg-related images. I thought that was a good place to start, but I boiled it down into something that was simpler,” he said. Mcilhenny said the council adopted the flag at its meeting on March 10, 2003. He noted that the original seal says “Ordained on Mar 10, 1806,” which is the day the state legislature officially created Gettysburg as a separate municipality from Cumberland Township. “March 10 is Gettysburg’s Ordination or Independence Day,” he said. “I added color to arrive at the final design which represents the intersections of the roads that led the armies here, a stylized representation of Lincoln Square, and a field of blue with 3 gold stars representing the 3 wards and also the 3 days of the Gettysburg battle.” McIlhenny said he got a lot of support and advice during the project. “I talked to a flag expert named Whitney Smith who ran the flag research center in Massachusetts. Smith coined the term vexillology which refers to the study of flags.” “I asked Smith about the design and he wrote back saying. ‘I hope that you will be in a position to encourage the adoption of this handsome, distinctive, unique, and symbolic flag.’” Mcilhenny said Caroline Smith on the borough council was instrumental in getting the flag approved. “Sterner told the captain of the guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg about the flag, and the ship adopted it as its house flag. It’s displayed on board and flown in battle and while special guests are on board,” said McIlhenny. “Crew members sometimes come to town to help out, and they wear the emblem of the Gettysburg flag on their work shirts.  The ship uses the flag as a symbol.” Featured image caption: USS Gettysburg; Modern flag; Mcilhenny

Cumberland Township board of supervisors approves medical marijuana training grant

At their regular monthly meeting yesterday, the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $25,000 Medical Marijuana Grant for the Cumberland Township Police Department. The grant had been awarded in December 2022 by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crimes and Delinquency (PCCD) as part of opening funding opportunities to all Pennsylvania municipal police departments to support “emerging issues that law enforcement faces or will face related to the enforcement of the Medical Marijuana Act.” Police Chief Matthew Trostel and Officer Ryan Eiker, the designated certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) for the department, provided an official release with details and outlined the background and plans for use of the grant money which includes: Purchase of 10 Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) Devices: One to be assigned to the department’s DRE, Officer Eiker, and the other devices to replace the department’s current PBTs that had been in service for about 8 years and “are at the end of their service life”.  The devices will be purchased through the Pennsylvania DUI Association, which will also provide the plastic straws and servicing of the devices. Medical Marijuana Workshop: Officers will attend training to learn about the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law and related issues that law enforcement faces daily. Funding will also pay for overtime to backfill shifts and keep sufficient manpower to cover the department’s schedule. Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) Training:  One officer will be sent to this training which is “designed to give a better understanding of different types of impairment, including marijuana impairment”. Training will include a review of Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and “instruction on different drug categories, signs and symptoms that could be seen from the drug categories ingested”, as well as additional roadside tests. Attendance at the Pennsylvania DUI Association Conference:  Funding was further secured to send one DRE officer to the PA DUI Association Conferences in 2023 and 2023 to receive continuing education hours for DRE Recertification. The conference is held in the Fall; locations vary from year to year.  Funds will also cover salary, lodging, and mileage expenses related to the officer’s attendance. The Board congratulated the presenters and unanimously authorized signing on the grant award notification. Other Business: Oak Lawn Cemetery/County of Adams Rezoning Request:  Following a public hearing that had immediately preceded the BOS meeting, the Board approved a proposed zoning map amendment requested by Adams County, to rezone the property located at 1380 Chambersburg Road (approx. 9.6 acres of a 25.4-acre tract) from Institutional (INS) to Mixed Use (MX) zoning. Township Manager, David Blocher, reported that the township had passed its 2022 audit with no issues. He thanked the previous township manager for assisting in the audit process. Board member Chris Biggins also expressed her thanks for the excellent work performed by the management office. A hearing date was set for April 5, at 5:00 pm, to review the BR Smith Properties Conditional Use Request for a campground in the Mixed Use zoning district. Motions proposed by the Finance Committee regarding a donation of ARPA funds to the local SPCA as well as various bank transactions were approved by the Board. The Board reviewed and approved the previously proposed Police Department Promotion Policy for final signature. A Gettysburg citizen addressed the board, voicing concerns regarding the Browns Ranch on Redding Lane. Certain activities on and around the property, including a great deal of nightly movement, made him wonder if there were Black Ops activities or “other shady stuff” going on at the property and if he needed to be worried. Chief Trostel assured him that, from a law enforcement perspective, there was no need for safety concerns. Further details on each of the Engineering Projects, Bills/Budget approvals, and Committee Reports presented at the meeting can be found in the Regular Meeting Agenda:  February 28, 2023 CT Meeting Agenda, and will be available on the Cumberland Township website, once the minutes of this meeting have been posted:  Cumberland Township BOS Meetings 2023.

Black Balloon Day remembers those lost to opioid addiction

It’s a sobering thought. According to the Adam’s County Coroner’s Office, 119 people have lost their lives in the county to opioid overdoses since 2015. Lisa Lindsey, data prevention specialist with the Center for Youth and Community Development, told the commissioners on Wednesday morning that the number of deaths in Adams County from overdoses in 2022 was 5, down 12 from the previous year. To honor those working to improve the odds, Adam’s County Commissioners have proclaimed Black Balloon Day on Mar. 6, 2023. On that day the county’s Overdose Awareness Taskforce members will distribute free naloxone and virtual black balloons on Lincoln Square from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The vision of the taskforce is to educate the public on opioid overdose, support those who are addicted, and save lives. Begun in Massachusetts in 2016, Black Balloon Day is a time to remember and honor those lost to opioid overdose deaths and is now an international event. Matthew Moon, a taskforce member for the past five years, said there is a great deal of stigma regarding opioid drug use with the widespread belief that it is only prevalent among addicts and those who purchase street drugs. “But it has to do with prescription drugs: people overdosing in their own homes. It’s as simple as an elder forgetting they have already taken their medication. The prevalence of opioids in the last decade is endemic,” he said. Gettysburg’s Mercy House offered a continuum of care for addicts provided by Recovery Advocacy  Services Empowerment which runs similar programs in other counties. However, the group could no longer offer services due to financial challenges as of Dec. 20. Commissioner Randy Phiel hopes there will be a solution to the problem within the next two or three months. The county is interviewing other agencies that may be able to replace RASE. Tax Collection Assistance Provided The county treasurer’s office has taken on the role of tax collector for Bendersville Borough, Upper Adams School District, and Hamiltonban Township. The county treasurer’s office currently assists Abbottstown and Arendtsville boroughs, bringing the total number to five. County Treasurer Christine Redding said they are unsure whether Fairfield Areas School District (FASD) will also join the growing list since those taxes were collected by the Hamiltonban tax collector, who retires at the end of February. FASD business manager Tim Stanton said the school district would address the tax collection issue at Monday’s board meeting. “We appreciate the work you and your staff are doing as tax collectors,” Phiel commented. He said he appreciated that the treasurer’s office was committing to this challenge without additional personnel but indicated if the trend continues, more help might be necessary. Responding to a question regarding reimbursement from Commissioner Qually, Redding said her office would be receiving the same payment as independent tax collectors would get in those jurisdictions. Other Board Business The commissioners approved a Grant Agreement with the Land Conservancy of Adams County for $260,000 for the 628-acre Hartlaub Grassland Project in Mt. Pleasant Township. The funds, which will come from the county’s Parks and Recreation and Green Space Grant Program, will be augmented with $1.6 million from the federal grassland projects. As part of a 10-year plan, the Department of Emergency Services will receive a one-ton ductless split system rooftop HVAC. The new system will cost nearly $100,000. It will replace the 20-year-old system, which causes humidity problems within the building. An application will seek federal grant funding of $107,503 to support victim advocacy in the County between Oct. 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2024. There is no county match required. The 2020 Community Development Block Grant between Adams County and Keystone Health will allocate $228,423 for a mobile clinic and $40,312 for a telehealth project. Both will address the needs of farm workers in rural areas of the county. The next county commissioners’ meeting will take place Mar. 8 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the county courthouse.

Gettysburg Planning Commission considers proposed event venue ordinance

The Gettysburg Planning Commission considered Tuesday evening a proposal from the Borough Council to create an ordinance that would allow event venues in several zoning districts across the borough. The commission acts in an advisory role to the Borough Council and will share its findings with it. Saying event venues with outdoor activities and events have a greater likelihood of impacting neighboring homes and businesses than other traditional business and civic uses, especially in a small-town setting such as Gettysburg, the commission recommended the council allow individual event venue applications to be determined via special exception issued by the zoning hearing board. The commission said this procedure, rather than allowing the use “by right”, would help ensure a future proposed project met all the criteria in the ordinance, plus additional requirements if deemed necessary for public health, safety, and welfare. The procedure would also provide a forum for owners of potentially-affected properties to give input. The commission also made recommendations about the current proposal, including: retaining the 2,000 square foot limitation on non-residential uses in the R-2 portion of the Elm Street Overlay, to protect the neighborhood scale and character. Revising or restoring limits on allowed days of the week, and how late operations/noise could take place for outdoor activities to minimize impacts (these were in earlier drafts of the ordinance.) In public comments to the commissioners, speakers: Noted that the events venue ordinance, as written, would insert a large commercial use into the Elm Street Overlay District, which is a densely-built neighborhood surrounding West High and South Washington Streets, where residents would be affected by noise, traffic, and crowds. Questioned why this ordinance would insert a large commercial use into the Elm Street Overlay while, in another matter, the Council is planning to remove 49 Colt Park properties from Tourist Commercial zoning to protect the residents.

Gettysburg proposes zoning changes to allow event centers

The Gettysburg Borough council has authorized a public hearing to be held on Monday, March 27, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. in the borough office at 59 E. High St. to consider its proposal to establish and regulate event venues in the borough. The borough has spent many months discussing the new ordinance which arose from a request for such a venue from a business on High St. The proposal has been criticized by residents as likely to change the character of the borough. The text of the ordinance that the council voted on does not seem to have been made public at this time and the borough has not replied to requests to share it. Council President Wes Heyser voted against the motion. The borough unanimously approved a public hearing to be held on Monday, March 27, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. to consider a proposed amendment to reclassify 49 properties located along and adjacent to the northwestern side of Johns Avenue and the southeastern side of Highland Avenue from their current Tourist Commercial classification to R-1 Low-Density Residential. “This is our attempt to remedy a situation that we thought was problematic that residential housing inventory was in danger of being removed and turned into commercial use at a time when our residential housing property is scarce. So this is an attempt to remove a threat to that inventory and make sure these properties remain residential,” said council member Matt Moon. Planning Director Carly Marshall said the borough would mail letters to property owners in the affected areas explaining the proposed changes to them. We’ll also be posting numerous signs in that area with information about the hearing and the affected changes,” she said. The text of the ordinance that the council voted on does not seem to have been made public at this time and the borough has not replied to requests to share it. Other Announcements: The borough is considering a new ordinance related to satellite dishes and solar modules. In his report from the rec park, Carr said registration for Little League is open, and that the Black History club group meetings will continue in February. Councilmember Judie Butterfield reported on the recent Adams County Council of Governments meeting. Moon reminded people about the upcoming Black Balloon Day events which be held on March 6. Councilmember Patricia Lawson said last weekend’s festival honoring film director Ken Burns was “wildly successful.” March 18 is the next electronics recycling date. Public Works Director Chad Harbaugh said The Culp’s Run restoration project is “essentially done.” Maintenance on the Racehorse Alley Parking Garage will occur this year. Harbaugh said the repairs were primarily aesthetic. “The main goal this year is to preserve the outside, removing the old, cracked, caulking, doing some power washing, and replacing some concrete that is falling,” he said. Borough Manager Charles Gable said the parking department had a surplus of $184,000 for the year fiscal year 2022 and that there is $1.5 million in the borough’s general fund. “The borough remains in good physical condition from an operating perspective,” he said. Gable and Mayor Frealing visited PA Sen. Rob Casey in his office in Washington D. C. on Jan 31. The visit, Gable said, was to “inform him and educate him and his staff on the RAISE application that the borough will be submitting later this month, and to gain his support for it. “The senator is actually very versed in our project here,” said Gable. The borough will enter into an agreement with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation related to the construction of the Gettysburg Gateway Connectivity Project. Main Street Gettysburg CEO Jill Sellers thanked the borough for their work in helping the film crew for “A Gettysburg Christmas,” and reminded businesses that the application window for façade grants begins on Monday. Sellers said the borough was working with America250 to prepare for the event to be held in 2026. “We’ve got some really cool things that are in the works so stay tuned for more announcements on that,” she said.

Gettysburg Tax Collector explains upcoming tax bills

Gettysburg and Adams county residents will be receiving their annual tax bills in the next few weeks. Gettysburg Tax Collector Lisa Angstadt explains: The Occupation Tax is charged to every Gettysburg borough resident who is currently employed and the amount is based on the occupation reported to the County Tax Services office. If a resident is unemployed or retired, they are not required to pay the Occupation Tax. If your employment status changes, you must report the change to Tax Services as soon as possible. You will also get a  Per Capita Tax Bill, sometimes called the “Head Tax,” which is $10.00 if you live in Gettysburg. You’ll only get a Real Estate Tax bill if you own property.  The amount of the tax is based on the current assessed value of the property. If you pay these taxes early (by April 30) you will get a 2 percent discount on your tax. But if you pay them late (after July 1), a 10 percent penalty is applied. You can mail in your Gettysburg borough taxes with a check, pay in person, or online at https://www.govpaynow.com/gps/user/cyg/plc/a0051u If you have any questions please call 717-334-9450 or email gburgborotc@gmail.com.

Tracking Josh Shapiro’s biggest campaign promises

Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. Tom Gralish / Philadelphia Inquirer HARRISBURG — Gov. Josh Shapiro made a lot of promises on the campaign trail. Now, he faces the new challenge of keeping them. A month into his tenure as Pennsylvania’s top executive, Shapiro has so far avoided conflict and focused on what he can do unilaterally. He nominated his cabinet and issued four executive orders: one that updated administration ethics rules, and others focused primarily on economic development. None prompted much controversy. But in order to tackle most of the bigger issues on the long agenda Shapiro laid out while running for governor, he will have to work with a divided legislature on notoriously fraught issues like regulating Pennsylvania’s energy industry and updating the state’s election laws. He’ll also have to take some firm positions on topics he has previously avoided, like whether he’ll continue his predecessor’s commitment to keeping Pennsylvania in an organization that would cap carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants. In the coming months, Spotlight PA will track Shapiro’s progress on some of the key commitments he made on the campaign trail, highlighting specific promises for the following reasons: Shapiro emphasized them during his run for governor; Passing them would require collaboration with the legislature; Or they could bring different factions of his supporters into conflict. Pocketbook issues One of the biggest focuses of Shapiro’s platform was a promise to bolster the economy and lower consumer prices for Pennsylvania residents. But he’ll need support from the legislature to implement nearly every one of the major policies he has proposed to that end. Promise: Against a backdrop of rising food and gas prices in 2021, Shapiro said he would provide a $250 gas tax refund for every personal passenger car registered in the state (up to four per household) and eliminate the state’s 11% sales tax on cell phone service. What’s next: Such tax refunds or changes in tax policy are either negotiated in the budget or via legislation, both of which would require the legislature’s cooperation. Promise: Shapiro has said that the state “needs” to raise the hourly minimum wage to $15, a position that legislative Democrats have long championed. What’s next: The move would require legislative approval, and many Republicans in the state House have previously opposed increasing the minimum wage. However, Democrats are now in control of the state House for the first time in more than a decade, giving Shapiro more leverage. The GOP-controlled state Senate previously agreed to a smaller minimum wage increase. Promise: On the campaign trail, Shapiro said Pennsylvania needs to attract more businesses. To do so, he announced a plan to lower the state’s corporate net income tax — paid by businesses that are headquartered in the state and based on their total profits — to 4% by 2025. What’s next: A change to this tax would likely be codified during budget negotiations. Last year, then Gov. Tom Wolf and the legislature agreed to lower the tax rate to 4.99% over the course of the next decade. Shapiro’s plan would cut that timeline in half and reduce the CNIT even further. Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax was previously the second-highest in the country, at 9.99% — a perennial topic of conversation when lawmakers negotiated state budgets. Energy and the environment During his campaign, Shapiro had the support of two factions that are often at odds: environmental protection advocates and the energy industry. He repeatedly argued that the choice between the two was a false dichotomy, but has made commitments that could conflict with one another. Promise: Shapiro pledged to have the commonwealth generate 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, one of his boldest goals. What’s next: Shapiro said that this would be done by changing the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to require that companies selling energy to the commonwealth’s Public Utilities Commission include a higher percentage of energy from alternative resources. The current requirement is between 8% to 10% depending on the kind of renewable energy source. The act was previously amended in 2020 under Wolf. To change the percentage again, Shapiro would need the legislature to act. Promise: Shapiro said he will put Pennsylvania on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. What’s next: Shapiro has indicated he wants to put money into plugging abandoned wells — a significant source of emissions in Pennsylvania — and said such an effort could create jobs. Likewise, he said he supports investments in and tax incentives for “zero carbon technology.” None of these plans have included specific details or timelines. At the same time, Shapiro hasn’t committed to maintaining his predecessor’s biggest environmental accomplishment: joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI is an agreement among a consortium of states to reduce emissions by requiring fossil fuel power plants to purchase allowances to emit carbon dioxide. Over the course of his campaign, Shapiro declined to say whether he’ll stay in RGGI, and committed only to consulting with experts in the energy and environmental fields to see if the program would raise energy prices, cost jobs, or adequately protect the environment. If Shapiro were to pull out of RGGI, it would signal a “lack of seriousness,” according to University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann. Mann has said that reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 is possible, but will require Shapiro to “take advantage of the bully pulpit” and convince voters that legislative Republicans “block efforts to create a livable future.” Justice system and public safety Violent crime and public safety were popular talking points in the 2022 election cycle, and Shapiro brought the topics up often during his campaign. He made pledges that reflect the priorities of a range of Pennsylvania’s political factions, saying he will support “data-driven” changes to policing policy but also calling himself “pro-police,” Many of Shapiro’s proposed criminal justice changes focus on the prison system rather than law enforcement. Promise: Shapiro has “pledged to help hire 2,000 more police officers across the commonwealth.” What’s next: Shapiro has not specified how he plans to accomplish this goal, but it will require collaboration with the legislature during budget negotiations and working directly with counties. Promise: Shapiro said he would include a line item in his first budget that funds legal representation for indigent Pennsylvanians. Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not allocate any state funding for the criminal defense of the poor. What’s next: While Shapiro can easily include such a proposal in his budget recommendation, the legislature ultimately has to agree to fund it. Despite some bipartisan support for funding indigent defense in the past, no proposal has ever gotten traction. Promise: Shapiro wants to implement new programs regarding commutation and recidivism. One would allow older incarcerated people to apply for geriatric parole. Shapiro also said he would sign legislation to expunge the records of those serving time for nonviolent marijuana convictions. What’s next: Both of these policy proposals would need to come from the legislature, as the governor does not have the ability to introduce legislation. However, the governor’s office can grant clemency and commute sentences. While there have been some similar attempts to expunge records, those past efforts lacked the reach of the policy Shapiro has proposed. Similarly, there have been bills introduced to allow for geriatric parole, but they have never gained traction in the state legislature. Promise: Shapiro made several commitments to tighten gun control. He has said he plans to close a “ghost gun” loophole that allows sales of gun parts that can be assembled into untraceable firearms, enact universal background checks as a condition of gun purchases, and pass a “red flag” law that would temporarily withhold guns from people experiencing a mental health crisis. What’s next: Many of these proposals would require the approval of the legislature. Republicans in Harrisburg have generally been unwilling to tighten gun laws despite being open to some of Democrats’ criminal justice priorities in the past. However, the new Democratic majority in the state House gives Shapiro an edge in the legislature. The last significant change to the commonwealth’s firearm regulations came in 2018, when the General Assembly passed a bill that made it easier for law enforcement to take away weapons from people convicted of domestic abuse. Voting rights Throughout his campaign, Shapiro highlighted his work defending Pennsylvania against former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and he framed his victory as a rejection of radicalism and misinformation. Because the legislature has been unwilling to consider single-change election legislation in the past, Shapiro would likely have to agree to a more comprehensive bill that contains his priorities as well as compromises he’s willing to accept in exchange for GOP support. Promise: Shapiro said he will sign legislation to allow counties to begin tabulating mail ballots before Election Day, a process known as pre-canvassing that is common in states with widespread mail voting. County leaders have been asking for this change since 2020, and Pennsylvania’s lack of pre-canvassing is frequently blamed for the commonwealth’s slow election results. What’s next: Republican lawmakers and Wolf spent the past two years intermittently trying to pass an election bill that would have expanded pre-canvassing. It never happened, but not because there’s significant opposition to the measure. The effort stalled because GOP lawmakers pushed to also include other major election changes, including expanded ID requirements at the polls. Shapiro has signaled that he would likely accept some kind of stricter voter identification requirement in order to enact his priorities. Promise: As a part of his campaign platform, Shapiro promised to improve access to the ballot box. He published a plan that said he will sign bills to pass automatic voter registration, which would sign up eligible people when they apply for a state ID or driver’s license; a pre-registration process for 16- and 17-year-olds; and a firearms prohibition at polling places. What’s next: Like pre-canvassing, these kinds of changes could be included in a broader election package. Compromise would likely be essential. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Commissioners Proclaim Court Reporters Week

The week of Feb. 4 to 11 was proclaimed Court Reporting and Caption Week 2023 by the Adams County Commissioners at its Wednesday meeting. “Court reporting is essential to the health of the judicial system,” said Commissioner James Martin. “I wish there was some way to see how many miles of text these ladies put down over these years. Thank you for that work,” he added. Corrie Ondrizek, Chief Court Reporter, said the three Adams County Court Reporters – herself, Jennifer Nice, and Karen Brown, continue to improve by keeping up with the new technology, including real-time translation. “It provides simultaneously what is being said and taken by us on a second screen for the Judge and/or hearing impaired participants,” she said. Ondrizek said court reporters are still necessary even with current technology in audio and visual recording because there is always a chance of failure. “Proceedings take attorneys’, parties’, and witnesses’ valuable time and money. To expend that money and effort and not to have a record is devastating,” she said. She added that court reporters also make note of other happenings in the courtroom that an audio recording cannot see, such as when a witness gestures with their hands, nods, or shakes their heads. Ondrizek received an associate’s degree from Hagerstown Business College and later obtained a registered professional certification through the National Court Reports Association. She has been a court reporter for 35 years. Featured image caption: From left, Commissioners James Martin and Randy Phiel, Chief Court Reporter, Corrie Ondrizek, Judge Christina Simpson, Court Reporter Jennifer Nice, and Judge Thomas Campbell. 

New mail-In vote processing machine will save county money

The purchase of a new ballot sorting machine, at a cost of more than $200,000, was approved by the Adams County Board of Commissioners at today’s meeting. “We were given a lump sum by the state to help with the purchase and have utilized that,” said commissioner Randy Phiel. The Agilis Falcon ballot sorting machine made by Runbeck Election Services will not be used for walk-in voting. County manager Steve Nevada said the purchase would be covered through a Pennsylvania State Integrity grant offered this year. An extended warranty, as well as maintenance and software, will add an annual cost of $30,000 beginning in the second year. The new purchase, which will include the cost of setup and training, will streamline the task of sorting mail-in ballots. Right now, each mail-in ballot must be opened, scanned, registered, and verified for signatures and other issues by hand. Going forward, the new machine will complete those tasks. “These aren’t things we weren’t already doing. We are just increasing the efficiency and saving the manpower,” said Nevada. Nevada said he wasn’t sure if the new device would be ready for the May primary election. “It has to be built, installed, and the training provided,” he said, adding that it is expected to be up and running by the general election in the fall.   “People should know it was vetted very well,” said Commissioner James Martin, who added that there was a lot of comparison shopping and consults with other counties before making the decision. “We think it will help us with the mail-in process, and the grant covers it – an additional bonus.” In other election news, a poll place scanner/tabulator and Express Vote machine was purchased for use in Conewago Township at the cost of nearly $13,000. Commissioner Phiel said the purchase would help streamline the vote in one of the county’s largest polling places. The township, which now has two precincts, will likely see a third soon. County solicitor Molly Mudd said the state would probably sign off on the split from two to three precincts, but the process has not yet been completed. In other board business, the Adams County Commissioners presented a certificate of recognition to the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania for their 85th Anniversary. The mission of the Fellowship is to promote the legacy and memory of President Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, and the dedication and history of the Gettysburg National Cemetery through educational events and programs. Founded in 1938, the Fellowship commissioned and maintains the Return-Visit Statue in front of the David Wills Home. “It’s only fitting and proper we provide this award today,” Commissioner Phiel said, borrowing from Lincoln’s address. He and Commissioner Martin thanked the Fellowship members for their work which garners thousands of visitors annually. February 5 through 11 was proclaimed Future Business Leaders of America week in Adams County. Gettysburg Areas School District (GASD) student Jacob Dickerson addressed the commissioners and thanked them for the proclamation. Eric Wadel, a business teacher for GASD and FBLA advisor for the past eight years, said the program offers students from ninth to twelfth grades the opportunity to participate in community service, leadership training, and competitions at the regional, state, and national levels. Last year, two FBLA students from GASD placed 10th in the nation.  Commissioner Martin said he was proud that students are taking this opportunity to become tomorrow’s new business leaders. “I encourage you to follow the same principles of leadership that Lincoln followed,” he said. Featured image caption: Feb. 5 to 11 was proclaimed Future Business Leaders of America at this morning’s Adams County Commissioner’s meeting. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Commissioner Randy Phiel, Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) student Jacob Dickerson, and Eric Wadel, business educator and FBLA advisor at GASD [Judi Seniura]. 

Democrats sweep special elections, affirming first Pa. House majority in 12 years

Stephen Caruso of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — Democrats have swept three Allegheny County special elections, cementing their one-vote majority in the Pennsylvania state House and ending a two-month debate over which party controls the chamber. With the wins, Democrats can now set the state House agenda for the first time since 2010 and will enjoy extra leverage in coming budget talks over how to spend more than $40 billion in projected state revenue. The party also will be able to push policy priorities like a minimum wage hike or LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Associated Press called all three races for the Democratic candidates — Joe McAndrew in the 32nd House District, Abigail Salisbury in the 34th, and Matt Gergely in the 35th. Once they are sworn in later this month, the trio will officially give the Democrats 102 votes in the 203-member state House. “Our caucus has never been more unified,” state House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia) said at a news conference Tuesday in Pittsburgh. “We look forward to the privilege of leading and serving in every corner of this Commonwealth.” It is unclear, however, if the wins will be enough for McClinton to claim the speaker’s gavel, which is currently held by state Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Berks). He was elected in a deal that Republicans engineered in a last-ditch effort to avoid entering the minority. But Rozzi’s deal has not panned out as Republicans planned, and the GOP caucus, most of whom are accustomed to holding the levers of power, now face an adjustment to life in the legislative minority. “When you’re in the majority, you make those calls. You decide when a committee meeting is happening, you can decide what bills are running and decide what bills to get amended, which ones get to the floor,” said state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R., Centre), who previously served as GOP floor leader. “It’s not as much fun in the passenger seat.” Republicans briefly held a functional majority at the start of this year’s legislative session thanks to the three vacancies in seats Democrats had won. But while many conservatives pressed party leaders to take advantage of that temporary advantage and pass at least two far-reaching constitutional amendments, internal divisions stopped the GOP from capitalizing. Instead, Republican leadership backed Rozzi to take the gavel on swearing-in day. Republicans believed Rozzi would switch parties to become a registered independent as part of the GOP-engineered deal, which would have left the chamber at a tie. However, Rozzi has not dropped his Democratic registration. In January, he recessed the chamber indefinitely when no path emerged to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a two-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil suits against their perpetrators and those who shielded them. Republicans insisted on tying that bill with their own proposals to expand voter ID and make it easier for the legislature to override regulations, which Rozzi considered a no-go. While some Democrats have talked about replacing Rozzi with McClinton as head of the chamber, such a maneuver would be unlikely without either Rozzi’s consent or the backing of Republicans. Asked Tuesday night, McClinton only said to “please stay tuned to see what the will of this body will be on the date that we return to the voting session.” Rozzi, meanwhile, has said he intends to remain speaker. He and Democrats have appeared to be on speaking terms — top Democratic leaders and staff repeatedly visited his office in the past few weeks. The state House now needs rules to dictate how bills are introduced, amended, and voted on. And unlike in previous years, there will be competing options. First, the chamber awaits the results of a tour Rozzi organized with three Republicans and three Democrats to hear the general public’s opinions on the chamber’s internal operating rules. Testifiers at four stops across the state told the panel they want more bipartisan bills and less absolute power in the hands of top legislators. Senior Democrats, who have waited years to regain that power, might not grant that wish. “I don’t believe that we ought to be looking at a unilateral disarmament,” state Rep. Dan Frankel (D., Allegheny) previously told Spotlight PA. “I don’t think my Republican colleagues would ever have given us that kind of benefit.” Rozzi has not announced a timeline for the release of the rules his group has been working on. State House Republicans have released their own rules package; state House Democrats have not, but are working on their own proposal behind closed doors. While the caucus awaits action from Rozzi’s work group, “our leaders continue to discuss potential rules changes and meet with stakeholders to ensure that when the House reconvenes later this month, we’re prepared to enact fair rules to govern the chamber,” state House Democratic spokesperson Nicole Reigelman said in an email. Rules could be decided as soon as Feb. 21, the state House’s next scheduled session day (Rozzi scheduled 10 weeks of session just minutes after Democrats claimed victory in the races).  Tuesday’s winners can be sworn in as soon as their results are certified. The state Senate remains in Republican hands, and GOP leaders there have indicated they won’t hesitate to block proposals they disagree with. “We will work across the aisle when necessary to advance issues important in this commonwealth,” said state Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R., Indiana) at an introductory news conference last year. “But we will also defend the principles and beliefs of those who have elected us to serve them here in the state Senate.” Featured image: Jose F. Moreno / Philadelphia Inquirer WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Cumberland reorganizes; investigates racist graffiti

At their January Board of Supervisors meeting, the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors welcomed newly elected Township Manager, David Blocher and appointed the following members to boards and commissions: Planning Commission: Stephen Tallman – Re-appointed Robert J Bunce – New Planning Commission Alternate Kathleen Heidecker – New Planning Commission Alternate  HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board): Marty Miller – Re-appointed  Lynne Wells Graziano – New HARB member  Zoning Hearing Board: Tom Marlowe – New ZHB member CTA (Cumberland Township Authority): Steve Toddes – Re-appointed    With respect to the Oak Lawn Cemetery project, Adams County Commissioner Chairman Randy Phiel, who attended the meeting, thanked the Township for their ongoing support in rehabilitating the neglected campus and for helping “close the final chapter of this tragedy”. Police Report:  Chief Matthew Trostel gave a detailed report on operational matters; ongoing training of various officers; numbers of traffic stops, crime responses, and service calls answered during the preceding reporting period.  He introduced the department’s new cadet hire, Dakota Myers, who comes from Maryland. Trostel also mentioned various communications received from Township residents, including a letter of praise for Officer Josh Goodling regarding his response to an incident involving a hearing-impaired person, as well as an anonymous donation of $2,000 to the department from another Township resident.  John Eisenhower Bridge Graffiti:  Chief Trostel updated the Board on the racist graffiti painted on historic John Eisenhower bridge, which has been classified as a hate crime, carrying with it enhanced penalties for perpetrators. At this point, police have not been able to determine whether the perpetrators are local community members or from out of town. Chief Trostel requested assistance, asking for the public’s help in reporting any information by calling the police dispatch at 717-334-8101. Adams County Crime Stoppers will accept tips anonymously and is offering a cash reward for information leading to the successful conclusion of the case.  The County is currently evaluating funding options to improve security in the surrounding areas, including the installation of lights and safety cameras to monitor activities. County Commissioner Randy Phiel reported that an anonymous donor had offered $5,000 to the county which could be used toward remediating graffiti from all bridges, including the Sachs Covered Bridge.  Trostel emphasized the need to monitor these areas and to raise increased community awareness. Police/Mental Health Co-Responder Program:  Chief Trostel reported on the current status of getting a co-responder program in place with York/Adams Mental Health Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MH-IDD) (see also York/Adams MH-IDD Program), funded by a grant from WellSpan Health. Trostel reported that “mental health calls to the Township police department have increased substantially and the numbers seem to keep going up”. The program is designed to have a mental health co-responder assist police officers in de-escalating critical calls, including substance abuse, mental health, and medical crisis calls. The ultimate goal is to connect citizens with the right mental health resources, averting the often unnecessary need to arrest a person during a police response. To date, Officer Dan Barbagello has been the main police responder focused on mental health calls. Chief Trostel praised Officer Barbagello for an excellent job and mentioned that the callers in the community (currently 40-60 calls per month) are very comfortable with him as responder.  “Adding a dedicated mental health responder will free Officer Dan up for other police tasks”, said Trostel. The department is currently training three additional officers for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) dedicated to this program. Once the contract with MH-IDD is put into place, Chief Trostel will introduce local MH-IDD responder McKenzie Johnson to the Township and provide a detailed overview of the program. The program will be shared with other police departments in the county and potentially include collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Police and Gettysburg Borough Police. The Board unanimously voted to finalize and sign the contract with MH-IDD. Vice Chair Steve Toddes thanked the Police Department for outstanding service to the community and a well-trained, compliant cadre of officers. Other Business: Other agenda items discussed by the Board included approval of bills; reports by the Maintenance Department; announcement of the Supervisor’s participation in the Cumberland Township health care plan; allocation of ARPA funds; and passing various resolutions regarding financial authorizations presented by the Finance Committee.  More details on the individual business items on the agenda can be found at:  Cumberland Township Agenda January 24, 2023. Engineering Projects:  Township Engineer, Timothy Knoebel of KPI Technology, discussed and requested approval for various ongoing projects, as outlined below.  The Board approved all requests for motions submitted. Bruce VanDyke – Final Minor Subdivision Plan Cambridge Crossing Phases 2 & 3 – Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan Interchange Storage – Final Land Development Plan Benuel & Martha King – Final Land Development Plan Oak Lawn Cemetery – Final Subdivision Plan Adams County Historical Society – Request for Release of Financial Security SARA South Apron Phase IV (Phase 1 Construction) – Request for Release of Financial Security The Crossings – Preliminary Subdivision Plan – Extension request until April 26, 2023 Adams Electric, Lot 3 – Final Subdivision Plan – Extension request until April 30, 2023 CRE Biglerville Associates – Final Subdivision Plan – Extension request until May 9, 2023 Boritt Sewage Planning Module; Component One, 500 Plank Road MS4 – Update & Contractors Request for Payment on Basin Retrofit project Further details on each of the Engineering Projects and Budget approvals will be available on the Cumberland Township website, once the minutes of this meeting have been posted:  Cumberland Township BOS Meetings 2023.

Commissioners seek tax collectors; welcome therapy dogs for children

As local townships struggle to find candidates to fill their open tax collection positions, collecting taxes seems to be unappealing as paying them. The problem became more acute last week as the Adams County Board of Commissioners accepted the resignation of tax collectors from Hamiltonban Township and Bendersville Borough . “Small municipalities are having a problem getting people to step up to be tax collectors,” said Commissioner Randy Phiel. When a  municipality loses a tax collector, it must either find someone to serve for the remainder of the elected position, receive tax collection services from the county, or ask a neighboring township or borough to help. The county treasurer’s office currently assists Abbottstown and Arendtsville boroughs in that function. “It is a complex job,” said Chrissy Redding, Adams County Treasurer and former tax collector for Straban Township. “The revenue is not in the pot, so to speak, to compensate for the time spent,” she added, “especially in the smaller jurisdictions.” Redding said each jurisdiction might differ in how it compensates tax collectors, but while she was in Straban, she received 5% of what was collected, in addition to other payments from the county. Tax collectors are elected for four-year terms, but anyone elected this year in the mid-term elections would serve just two years. First-time tax collectors must go through a background check, attend a class, and receive training on the software program. Redding said she appreciates the hard work of a tax collector and enjoyed the job. “The gratitude and opportunity to assist someone was a way to give back to my community. “When I bid farewell to tax collecting, that was a tearful moment,” she said. Tax collectors are not responsible for retrieving delinquent taxes. When the various tax seasons are closed, the reconciled lists are turned over to the counties or school districts for collection. The commissioner’s approved an agreement with JP Harris Associates, LLC of Mechanicsburg, PA, to collect delinquent county per capita taxes. The three-year agreement is at no cost to the county since the delinquent taxpayer pays vendor feeds to the tax collection firm. Commissioner James Martin reminded county residents to try to avoid delinquent tax payments, which can result in a hefty fine. Therapy dogs will comfort children The county will begin offering therapy dogs for Adams County Children and Youth Services clients and their families to help relieve stress during court days. The program will be provided by Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), a non-profit organization from Lancaster whose volunteer teams promote well-being by sharing the power of human-animal interactions. “We are pretty early in the planning stages,” said Sarah Finkey, Administrator for Adams County Children and Youth Services, adding that they hope to have the program in operation by spring. “We’ve heard wonderful things about the program. Waiting to appear in court can be very stressful for families, and the dogs can be very calming.” Finkey said they plan to use the volunteers and their pets two days a month during juvenile court. “We’re excited about the program.” Sarah Graham, a board member, volunteer, trainer, and evaluator with KPETS, explained that the organization works with children and families waiting outside the courtroom before their court appearance. Graham recalled working with a young child who waiting to testify. When the child returned from the courtroom, they dove under the table where Graham and her dog were sitting. So Graham and her dog got under the table with them, and the child sat quietly petting the dog. “We are there to assist the child and the family as they go through a difficult time,” she said. Helping out in courtrooms is only one aspect of what the program does. In addition, they offer services to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hospice centers, senior centers, rehabilitation and retirement communities, counseling centers, libraries, and cancer centers. Graham said there was scientific research supporting the effectiveness of the program. “Our motto is ‘touching lives, warming hearts; we make use of that human-animal bond,” she said.  Individuals who would like more information can contact info@KPETS.org. Ag Land Preservation Matching Funds Ag Land Preservation manager Ellen Dayhoff announced a $250,000 gift from an anonymous donor, which is part of the county’s 2023 agricultural preservation matching funds of $1,114,000. Dayhoff said it was the first time the program received such a large donation. The county matching funds, in addition to 2022 Clean and Green interest, totals nearly $1,200,000. This amount will be matched and perhaps increased. “We usually get a one-to-one match or sometimes more than one,” said Dayhoff. The county land preservation program has resulted in nearly 24,000 acres of farmland in Adams County preserved for agricultural or farm purposes since it began in 1989. Landowners apply to the program and are paid per acre based on an appraisal. “We receive more applications than we can service,” said Dayhoff, who added the program results in the preservation of between 800 to 1000 acres per year. The next Commissioner’s Meeting will be Feb. 8 at 9:00 a.m. in the county courthouse.

Josh Shapiro sworn in as governor

Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA and Katie Meyer of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — In his first moments as Pennsylvania’s 48th governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro touted his election as a rebuke of extremism and an embrace of bipartisanship. Outside the Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Shapiro returned to ideas he had reiterated throughout his dominant campaign, pledging to deliver on promises of growing the economy, decreasing gun violence, ending the opioid epidemic, and bolstering trust in democracy. “Here in Pennsylvania, we didn’t allow the extremists who peddle lies to drown out the truth,” Shapiro said in his inaugural speech. “We showed that our system works and that our elections are free and fair, safe and secure.” Shapiro succeeds Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who served two terms. He must now navigate Pennsylvania’s divided legislature — which includes a state House of Representatives teetering on deadlock — and decide which deals he’s willing to cut in order to make headway on his priorities. Republican Tom Corbett, one of three former governors who had breakfast with Shapiro ahead of the inauguration, said he knows one thing for sure: The governor’s first term will only get harder from here. “This is the first day and this will be the best day being governor,” Corbett said. “It’s a celebration.” Also sworn in Tuesday was Shapiro’s running mate, Austin Davis. As lieutenant governor, Davis’ primary role is to preside over the state Senate. He will also chair the Board of Pardons, which hears requests for commutations and pardons. Davis, 33, has served as a state representative for Allegheny County since 2018. He is the state’s first Black lieutenant governor and its highest-ranking Black official in the executive branch. Davis reflected on his family history at his swearing-in ceremony, stating that the American dream is still real. “I don’t think in my grandparents’ wildest dreams they would have ever imagined that their grandson would one day be sworn into the second highest office of this commonwealth,” Davis said. Shapiro, 49, started his elected career as a Montgomery County state representative. He next served as a county commissioner, and later became the state’s attorney general, a role he held for the past five years. During his time as attorney general, he cemented his statewide reputation by signing on to dozens of national lawsuits against former President Donald Trump alongside other Democratic attorneys general, completing an investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, prosecuting energy companies for environmental damages, and defending Pennsylvania’s election laws against the Trump campaign and other Republicans’ efforts to invalidate ballots. Shapiro’s lofty political ambitions have long been well-known in Pennsylvania politics. In recent years, he channeled his decades of political capital into becoming the sole candidate in the Democratic primary for governor — itself an unusual feat in an election without an incumbent. During the primary and general elections, Shapiro dipped into a deep well of monied backers, spending more than $69 million overall. He received major donations from individuals and organizations from inside and out of the state, from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the political action committee of Wawa. In the general election, Shapiro faced state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), a far-right lawmaker whose platform centered on baseless claims of election fraud. Shapiro framed himself in stark contrast to Mastriano, emphasizing the GOP senator’s attempts to ban abortion after six weeks, reduce public school funding, and claim that climate change is “fake science.” Shapiro won handily with more than 56% of the vote, and he outraised Mastriano by tens of millions of dollars. In the months since, he has worked with a transition team led by some of the same wealthy donors who helped fund his campaign. That transition has been notably opaque. The more than 300 members of Shapiro’s transition were required to sign nondisclosure agreements that bar them from publicly sharing information about their activities, at risk of a lawsuit and heavy fine. The team is organized under the federal tax code as a so-called “dark money” group and does not have to publicly disclose the private interests that may be underwriting its work. Shapiro’s inaugural team, which will pay for his swearing-in day events, is similarly organized and is also shielding donor details. Previous governors have privately funded their inaugural committees and celebrations, but both of Shapiro’s immediate predecessors have disclosed the names of donors. Shapiro has had a reputation as a dealmaker throughout his political career. As a state representative, he helped negotiate a novel scheme that allowed Democrats to elect a hand-picked, cooperative Republican as state House speaker in order to maintain power in the chamber during a period of closely divided control. As a commissioner, his fellow county officials recognized his key role in brokering a period of unanimity on a board that had often been publicly acrimonious. During his gubernatorial campaign, he emphasized his pragmatism to attract independent and Republican voters who felt that Mastriano was too extreme. During his inaugural celebrations, members of the state House and Senate said they expect that approach will continue. House Democratic Appropriations Chair Matt Bradford, a fellow Montgomery County Democrat, told Spotlight PA that Shapiro is not an ideologue, and said he possesses executive, legislative, and political talent that made him an ideal fit for the office. “I think he’s prepared on day one to be an impactful governor,” Bradford said. A significant portion of those talents will go toward dealing with the state’s General Assembly. Shapiro inherits a split legislature: Despite three current vacancies, Democrats are expected to soon control the state House, and Republicans will control the state Senate. Passing any legislation will require bipartisan collaboration. Corbett said the parties are much more divided than they were during his tenure, which ended less than a decade ago. “The legislature is completely different, the politics are completely different,” said Corbett, adding that he believes Shapiro is already employing the right strategy of reaching out to both parties. Leaders and rank-and-file members of both parties in the legislature have said that they expect to focus on issues where they can find common ground, such as lowering the cost of insulin and raising the minimum wage. “We are excited to work in a bipartisan fashion to keep up the great work,” said state Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) in a statement to Spotlight PA. Costa named funding public education and infrastructure as priorities. State Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R., Indiana) struck a similar note of optimism after hearing Shapiro’s inaugural speech, noting he sees several policy areas ripe for compromise. He also hopes Shapiro will have an appetite for cutting deals with the legislature. “I would hope that given Gov. Shapiro’s familiarity with the Capitol, his service in the legislature, that that would give him a better appreciation of the value of co-equal governance than former Gov. Wolf did, in my opinion,” Pittman said. Embed #3 But some members of Shapiro’s party are watching their new governor with trepidation. Progressive state Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Philadelphia) said he wants to see what values Shapiro actually upholds as a leader. “What I like about Shapiro is that he will sit down with anybody, and he will listen in good faith,” Rabb said. “My concern is that you can’t please everyone. And ultimately, we have to decide what our North Star is. That North Star could be political expediency, it could be justice, or anywhere in between.” Since winning the election, Shapiro has followed his promises of bipartisan pragmatism by staffing high-level cabinet positions almost exclusively with experienced public officials and attorneys, including prominent Republicans. Shapiro tapped Al Schmidt, a Republican election official in Philadelphia who gained attention for battling against Trump’s false claims of election fraud, for secretary of state — a role in which he’ll oversee the state’s elections. Shapiro also nominated Pat Browne, a former Republican state senator, as secretary of revenue. From 2014 to 2022, Browne chaired the state Senate Appropriations Committee. He lost his 2022 primary election by 24 votes. Spotlight PA’s Stephen Caruso and Angela Couloumbis contributed reporting. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results. Featured image caption: Josh Shapiro takes the oath of office to become Pennsylvania’s 48th governor. [Commonwealth Media Services]

GARA approves Story Walk; considers supporting ACHS bicycle trail

The Gettysburg Recreational Authority (GARA) Board of Directors was presented with two proposals requesting GARA’s support. Pedestrian Trail:  The Adams County Historical Society (ACHS), together with Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc. (HABPI) is planning a new pedestrian trail from the end of the sidewalk on Carlisle Street up to the facilities of the Historical Society. Dennis Hickethier from HABPI briefed the board on the current plans and requested GARA’s support.  Hickethier said ACHS is currently undergoing a feasibility study exploring four possible routes, as well as associated pedestrian crossings and cost estimates for different segments. The ultimate goal for this additional trail is safety for pedestrians walking up to the Historical Society facilities, particularly seniors and children. Currently, once the pedestrians reach the end of the existing sidewalk on Carlisle Street, they then have to walk alongside of the road that has a 40-mph speed zone.  One possibility is starting from the sidewalk on the West side on Carlisle Street up to the pedestrian crossing by Transitions Healthcare nursing facility and running the trail on the far side of the trees away from the road up to the Historical Society building.  Since the various routes of the trail may affect other properties, the project will require cooperation and approvals from the National Military Park, Transitions Healthcare nursing facility, and Gettysburg College. ACHS plans to apply for a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) but, as a non-profit organization, will need underwriting from a municipal authority to support the grant, as the grant applicant must have ownership of the property or an easement for the trail.  “This would be a perfect opportunity for GARA to expand their reach, as their mission includes programs and services to help sustain better health and wellness”, said Hickethier.  This new walking trail would be a benefit to the community but the project will require some organization for GARA to obtain the easement and function as grant applicant.   The board discussed various aspects associated with the proposal, including best location, alternative routes, maintenance plans and responsibilities, liability insurance, and other considerations.  In order to meet the grant application deadline, ACHS requested a decision within a month to six weeks.  The board plans to make its decision by the next board meeting in February. Library Story Walk:  Brad Ensor from the Gettysburg Library said that in the past the library has had success with its Story Walk project – depicting pages from picture books on poster boards and placing them along the trail in the park for families to read as they walk on the paths.  While this program was well received by the community in the past, the current setup is not ideal to withstand windy weather (during the big storms in 2020, the project lost several pages). Ensor said the Office of Commonwealth Libraries had extra funds to disburse and would approve grants of $7,500 per project.  The library would like to apply for these funds and use them to put the poster pages up as a permanent fixture in the park (with strong posts placed around the concrete in reading height for children). He requested GARA’s approval to install 20 posts in the park which would cost approximately $6,000.  The remaining funds of the grant would go to the purchase of the books (it takes about three books per story to cut and prepare for posting on each Story Walk).  Since the grant application is due at the end of January, the Library would need a decision from GARA soon to agree to host the signs. The board discussed maintenance responsibilities, installation of the posts and other aspects related to the project.  Board Chair Steve Niebler commented that the Story Walks are impressive but must look well maintained which the library is committed to take on.  Niebler also suggested that perhaps a scout organization might want to take on the installation of the posts as a community project. The board also noted that the Story Walk would be a great addition on Children’s Day once the Farmers Market comes to the park.  The board unanimously voted to support the Story Walk posts project. Financial Report:  The board then discussed the financial report presented by Executive Director, Erin Peddigree, and approved it for filing for audit. Directors Report: Peddigree then reported that one tree fell on a fence in the park during the last winter storm. The tree was removed and the damaged fence was fixed. Peddigree also reported that GARA received the last piece of updated equipment for the maintenance staff. A new Gator truck will now replace the old 1987 truck that had been used up until now. Peddigree outlined maintenance plans for the winter: painting the assembly room; touching up the rest rooms; cleaning up the Youth Activities building and kitchen; waxing floors; running backflow and fire extinguisher tests and preparing the buildings for the upcoming season. Peddigree said the Christmas Festival had gone well; particularly, the trolley seemed to have been popular and will be set up again in next year’s festival. Various rentals are in the books for January, as well as regular meetings in February for Black History Month. The Giving Spree brought in $9,041.84, which is $3,000 more than GARA received last year.  Pedigree is sending out thank you cards. The annual audit, performed by SEK CPAs went well and the auditors mentioned to Niebler and Peddigree had done a great job in complying with all requests. Peddigree and Reza Djalal from the Farmers Market will begin meeting each month to collaborate on this year’s Farmers Market season.  The first Farmers Market exhibit is planned for April 29th. Peddigree said she and Djalal were still waiting for an update on the grant application they had submitted jointly. She did receive an email from the grant office inquiring into plans for how funds were to be used, if only a partial grant were approved. The estimates for roof repair of the Weikert field and Amphitheater came in from Alam B. Roofing and Coldsmith Roofing. The estimates varied considerably between basic roof repairs and full roof repair with additional underlying damage repair underneath the roof.  The board voted to award the contract to Coldsmith.  The $1,500 awarded by the Optimist Club towards the repair work will be used toward the total cost.  Work should be started in about four to six weeks. Peddigree then asked the board to approve the purchase of new chairs and additional tables to replace the old chairs in the assembly room which were badly stained and hard to clean.  Peddigree had priced chairs at Sams Club which amounted to roughly $4,000 for 60 chairs and a few extra tables.  A motion to authorize the purchase of the chairs and tables at Sams Club was approved.  Since delivery would cost an additional $2,000, Pedigree will organize picking the furniture up – Board Vice-Chair Steve Toddes offered his truck. Niebler then suggested finding an artist to paint the background wall in the Hall of Fame.  “I could envision big orchids across the wall, which would be particularly nice for weddings and receptions”, he said.  Board members will look into finding an appropriate artist. Peddigree also reported that all vendors from last year’s 4th of July celebration have agreed to return for this year’s festival. With respect to finding a replacement for retired maintenance employee, Steve Williams, Ms. Peddigree will start promoting the job opening in February. The next GARA board meeting be on Feb. 13, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. in the Charlie Sterner Building.

Commissioners support highway safety; review candidates for Chief Public Defender

The Adams County Commissioners have approved a program that will provide Adams County Adult Correctional Center referred inmates with online Alcohol Highway Safety School classes. Twelve hours in length, the cost to the County for the classes is $175 per student per month. The classes will be funded by Probation’s 2022-2023 Intermediate Punishment Treatment Program Grant, administered by the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency.   The commissioners also approved a temporary professional services agreement with the Law Office of Rosina Stambaugh, Esq. was made by Sarah Finkey, Administrator of Adams County Children and Family and Youth Services. The law office will provide legal services to a juvenile in a pending immigration matter at the rate of $80 per hour effective Sept. 26, 2022, and expiring at the conclusion of the assigned case. Craig Yingling, Dave Wenk, Sidney Kuhn, and Doyle Waybright were all approved by the commissions to serve another three-year term on the Ag Land Preservation Board. Yingling will serve as chairman, Wenk as vice-chairman, Ellen Dayhoff as treasurer, LeighAnn Abraham, as secretary, and Mark Clowney, Assistant Secretary. The Preservation Board was established in 1990 to protect viable agricultural lands by acquiring agricultural conservation easements, which prevent the development or improvement of the land for any purpose other than agricultural production. Money for the program is allocated from both the county and the state and at its current level of funding is capable of preserving about 800 acres of farmland each year. An original service agreement approved in June 2015 has been amended to increase the rate or pay for David K. James, III, Esquire from the original $6,000  to $7,500 a year for legal services required by the tax services department. The amendment is for a term of one year. A second recommendation was approved for the annual maintenance agreement for a high-volume pressure sealer. This machine allows interim tax notices to be sealed at the rate of about 1,000 in five minutes. Human trafficking and domestic violence victims who are residents of the Adams County Adult Correctional Center will continue to be provided with services by YWCA Hanover Safe Home. In addition to victim services, professional training will be provided to ACACC employees and staff. There is no additional cost to the county. As the county reviews candidates for the vacant Chief Public Defender position, Paul Royer, Esquire, and a former county assistant, will receive a rate of $90 per hour as assigned by the county public defender’s office. The agreement is effective through Dec. 31, 2023. The next meeting of the Adams County Board of Commissioners will take place Jan. 25, 9 a.m. at the Adams County Historical Courtroom.

Gettysburg will keep its Christmas decorations up during January to help visiting film crew

Gettysburg borough will keep its outdoor Christmas displays up, probably until mid-February, at the request of the producers of “The Gettysburg Christmas Story,” which will be shooting in town beginning Wednesday. The borough noted that the Trap, Neuter, and Release program for feral cats has been continued. Residents are encouraged to report cats that need to be neutered. For more information please contact the borough office or Forever Love Cat Rescue. Christmas tree collection continues. Trees should be placed on the curb, not in the street, or can be taken to rec park or 457 E. Middle St. for recycling. The borough said plans for the celebrating the 30th anniversary of the movie “Gettysburg” this year are underway. In other news: The borough will apply for $420,000 and $900,000 grants for stormwater and sewer-related improvements. The Police Dept. has received $126,000 from the PA Crime Commission which includes funds for officer retention. The search for two new police officers is beginning. “We’re trying to get the pieces of the puzzle into place,” said Borough President Wes Heyser.  The borough has hired a new full-time parking department employee. John D. Butterfield was appointed to the Borough Zoning Hearing Board for a 5 year term. John D. Lawver, Jr. was appointed to the Storm Water Authority for a 5 year term. Tammy Murdorf was appointed to the York Adams Tax Bureau and the Adams County Tax Collection Committee and Lisa Angstadt was appointed as an alternative to Murdorf on both committees. Council Memer Matt Moon asked Mayor Frealing to pass on good words to Chief Glenny (who was not at the meeting) on the occasion of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Moon noted “the professionalism and dedication your department shows to keep our community safe.” Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers thanked the many volunteers who helped with town beutification and other projects in 2022.  Sellers said 1,324 volunteer hours were contributed which had a worth to the borough of $39,653. Sellers said last year’s Christmas Festival attracted over 7,500 attendees. “The reach is going exponentially,” she said. Statistics suggested people were frequently staying overnight and spending money. The borough will make available a total of $50,000 for façade improvements, funded by a state grant. GMA representative Chris Berger said GMA bills will increase 5 percent on the water side only this year, to keep up with costs and inflation.

Cumberland Township hires new manager

The Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors announced the hiring of David Blocher as the next Township Manager. Blocher follows Ben Thomas, Jr., who retired at the end of 2022 after twelve years of service with the Township. “After an extensive search, the Board of Supervisors are confident that Dave is the right person for the job”, said Shaun Phiel, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Blocher has management experience in both the public and the private sector. He is also involved in many community organizations in Adams County. “Dave’s work ethic and enthusiasm stood out during the selection process,” said Phiel, “and his investment in this community is indicative of his commitment to Cumberland Township.” Phiel said Mr. Blocher’s starting date with the Township will be the week of January 23rd. Blocher said he is “excited to serve the community in a new way” and that he is “looking forward to learning as much as possible from Ben Thomas” as he transitions into the position.” Thomaswas honored at the December 2022 meeting of the Board of Supervisors for his financial vision, his procurement of grants for the Township, and his leadership abilities. Thomas has agreed to assist in acclimating the new manager to the Township duties and responsibilities. Blocher has “big shoes to fill” according to Vice-Chair Steve Toddes, “and Dave was selected because we have faith that he will advance the best interest of the residents and businesses of Cumberland Township.”

Pamela Cooper-White Speaks on Christian Nationalism

“Christian Nationalism is a radical, fanatical departure from the teachings of Jesus and any faithful reading of either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, and it is also dangerously anti-democratic,” said Orrtanna resident Pamela Cooper-White, speaking on the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington by a mob of supporters attempting to keep Donald Trump in power by preventing a joint session of Congress from formalizing the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. The author of Christian Nationalism: Why People Are Drawn in and how to talk across the divide, Cooper-White spoke to a crowd of over 70 people, plus an additional dozen who attended via Zoom, at the Adams County Democratic Committee headquarters. The presentation was the first of what the committee hopes is an ongoing series of presentations and discussions. Cooper-White’s book addresses three topics: what Christian Nationalism is and how it relates to other right-wing religious movements; why people can be attracted to such a group, and how to converse with people who believe some or all of the beliefs of Christian Nationalism. Cooper-White began by reviewing the religious gloss that was superimposed on the January 6 insurrection: groups praying by crosses outside the Capitol building, Christian symbols merged with those used by Trump, insurrectionists praying inside the House and Senate chambers. Cooper-White said she found a group called “Jericho March blowing a shofar (“Joshua Horn”) “to bring down the walls of government especially blasphemous. Cooper-White addressed the political dimensions of the movement, notably the key role of Trump, who she said “tapped into a deep and broad reservoir of resentment and paranoia that has been accumulating for decades.” Cooper-White noted that many Christian Nationalists believe “God has withdrawn ‘His’ blessing from America because ‘she’ has fallen into profligacy.” She also commented on the limited “Christianity” in Christian Nationalism, noting that Christian Nationalist preachers ‘tend to leap across the Bible from the Old Testament to the Book of Revelation, . . . making scant reference (if at all) to the teaching of Jesus about love, healing, and justice.” Cooper-White pointed out the central and extremely dangerous role played by our state senator Doug Mastriano, whose rallies and web page are suffused with Christian Nationalist themes, who organized transportation for participants to the Capitol Building attack, and who made it himself at least as far as the Capitol grounds. She also reminded the audience of how close to home this movement has struck, citing the July 4, 2020 presence around Gettysburg of armed forces similar to those who attended the January 6 attack and the following weekend’s Black Lives Matter rally on the square, when groups of armed militia created an intimidating presence. Following her talk, Cooper-White engaged in a lively question and answer period and ended with an autograph session. Her inventory of books sold out quickly. “The Psychology of Christian Nationalism: Why People Are Drawn in and How to Talk Across the Divide,” Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 2022. Copies are available at the Adams County Democratic Committee, 24 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg, PA 17325 and on Amazon.

Mayor Frealing honored by Democratic women

Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing was honored as an outstanding elected Democratic woman at the annual Pennsylvania Democratic Women’s Federation brunch in Harrisburg in November 2022.  The organization honors currently elected women from across the Commonwealth who are nominated by their local chapter.  Mayor Frealing was nominated by the Adams County Federation of Democratic Women for her past experience at the state level and her current position as the first female Mayor of Gettysburg.  The mayor received her award from PA Federation President Dianne Gregg.

Adams County Commissioners Bid Farewell to Chief Public Defender Kristin Rice; finalize tax-neutral budget

There were multiple moments of applause and a standing ovation on Wednesday morning as the Adams County Commissioners bid farewell to Chief Public Defender Kristin Rice, who is retiring after serving for the past 19 years. “I want to say the last 19 years have been a joy. I’ve felt so supported by my attorneys and my office staff,” she said. “Everything I have ever needed, this county has supported me to do my job. I am extremely proud to have been a part of this service we provide to our citizens.” Rice joined the Adams County legal system in 2003 and assumed the role of Public Defender in 2011. She plans to continue working at the law firm of Wolfe, Rice & Quinn, LLC., which she opened with her husband in 1986. “It is a privilege to talk about this wonderful woman,” said Adams County Court of Common Pleas Judge Christina M. Simpson.  Simpson said she once worked across the aisle from Rice as the assistant district attorney and that they often argued against each other in court. “But it was always with grace, dignity, and mutual respect. The community owes her a debt of gratitude, not just for her role in the justice system but for the care in her heart for her clients—which is rare and admirable in her position,” she said. “You’ve been an advocate, a contemporary, and always on the other side,” said District Attorney Brian Sinnett. “I have the greatest respect for you personally and professionally, especially with regard to how you always do what is best for your client. There is nobody like Kristin Rice when it comes to being a public defender.” Commissioner James Martin echoed the praise, saying, “What you do provides a link in the justice system, and you do it well. I’ve never seen anyone do it better. You do it with a whole heart and by making sure your clients have the proper representation in the justice system.” Presenting her with a plaque for her years of service, Commissioner Randy Phiel said “we owe Kristin Rice a debt of gratitude we can never repay.” “You’ve had a difficult caseload,” said Commissioner Marty Qually, who added he will miss her in the courthouse. “I’ve never doubted your caring.”   2023 Budget The final 2023 Adams County Budget was approved at Wednesday’s meeting. Not only is there no tax increase for the coming year, but a change in the budget brought its deficit down by nearly one million dollars. County Manager Steve Nevada said this occurred because of an increase in the hotel or “pillow” tax and the utility allocations. “The tentative budget presented on Nov. 16 projected using $3,586,790 of the appropriated fund balance. Since that time, we received finalized open enrollment data and revised utility allocation and are now projecting using only $2,636,774 of the appropriated fund balance,” said Nevada. The final budget can be found on the county website at www.adamscounty.us. Commissioner Randy Phiel reiterated that the county is in good shape, has a strong bond rating, and only uses $2.6 million of reserves. “That’s not bad for us. There are thousands of pieces of minutiae in a budget like this, and the process begins in July,” he said, thanking the many people who had a part in its creation. County taxes account for about 20 percent of a homeowner’s tax bill, with another 20 percent going to township or borough governments and about 60 percent to school funding. National Impaired Driving Prevention and 4D Prevention Month “30 percent of all traffic crash deaths in the U.S. involve drunk drivers,” Nate Sterner, youth director at Collaborating for Youth, told the County Commissioners. The county has proclaimed December as “National Impaired Driving Prevention and 4D Prevention Month.”  The four areas of distraction are drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted. “For young teen drivers, drunk driving is very dangerous, regardless of if they’re the ones driving or not. One driving under the influence citation (DUI) can change their life forever,” he added. “It used to be all about alcohol,” said Commissioner Randy Phiel. “Now we need to grasp the fact that more people are driving under the influence of drugs–and cell phone distraction is phenomenal—worse than it’s ever been.” Sterner agreed, stating statistics that indicated drivers aged 15 to 20 years represent the largest group involved in fatal crashes occurring because of distraction. “And 19 percent of drivers of all ages admit to using the web while driving, while 40 percent of teens say they’ve been in a car while the driver has used a cell phone,” he noted. Collaborating for Youth is a community-driven program focused on increasing services and reducing risks facing area youth and families. Other Board Business Nearly $450,000 was approved for a license and service agreement for software that will assist Adam County first responders. The contract with Tyler Technologies, Inc. of Yarmouth, Maine, also includes maintenance and support fees of almost $50,000 per year for as long as the county uses the software. Emergency Services Director Warren Bladen also received approval for a grant award to be used for attendance at two HAZMAT training conferences. The three-year agreement will end in September 2025, costing about $8,000. The cost to the county is $1,591 as a non-Federal match. Commissioners approved a modification request for the STOP Violence Against Women grant for $375,000 in federal funds to the YWCA Hanover Safe Home. The home provides free services for victims of domestic violence and operates on a 24/7 basis. There will be no additional cost to the county to provide employment readiness skills, education, and mentoring services for the inmate population at the Adams County Adult Correctional Center. The one-year agreement is with Equus Workforce Solutions, a Kentucky company with local offices in Gettysburg. Featured image caption: Adams County Chief Public Defender, Kristin Rice, is honored upon her retirement. From left, Commissioners James Martin, Randy Phiel, Rice, and Commissioner Marty Qually. 

Gettysburg passes 2023 budget with new police offers and no new taxes; eyes storm water repairs

The Gettysburg Borough Council will apply for two major grants related to needed stormwater repairs. Borough Engineer Chad Clabaugh said the grants were directed toward repair of failing stormwater system infrastructure including channel walls on “The Tiber” (Stevens Run). Harbaugh said the Gettysburg Borough Storm Water Authority (GBSWA) would be responsible for matching funds, which he expected to be about $500,000 if the grants are approved, and that $4 million in work needs to be done on the Stevens Run project. Harbaugh said GBSWA chair Mike Malewicki is looking through past records in an attempt to determine the ownership history of the various structures and walls around Stevens Run. Borough Council President Wes Heyser thanked Malewicki for the work he is taking on. “He’s steadily pouring through,” said Heyser. “We’re talking about a lot of money here. But we’re also talking about a lot of exposure and liability.” The council also: Adopted the proposed 2023 budget of $6,051,389 or 4.177 mills, which includes no tax increase as well as the hiring of two new police officers, new safety equipment, and funding for ongoing capital improvement plans. “[The budget] remains tax-neutral in a time that is economically very difficult for a lot of people,” said board member Matt Moon. Approved budgets/funds for fire services, the Community Development Block Grant, capital projects, debt services, capital reserves, liquid fuels, and revolving loans. Moved some reserve funds to the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust (PLGIT). Approved tax relief to borough residents who actively volunteer for fire or EMS services. For detailed information about this program, please click here. Borough members agreed this program would encourage volunteers to join local forces and that it would be expensive if the borough needed to move to paid forces. Re-appointed board member Chris Berger to a 5-year term on the Gettysburg Municipal Authority. Re-appointed borough staff member Sarah Kipp to a 4-year term on the Gettysburg Planning Commission. Approved a new employee transparency and accountability policy. Set dates for borough council meetings (generally the second Monday in the month) and work sessions (generally the fourth Monday in the month) for 2023. In other business, Police Chief Robert Glenny commended his officers for their work solving an arson crime in the borough and helping with the deer that was trapped in the Blue and Gray Bar and Grill earlier this week. “Officer Bryan Holden wrestled the deer to ground,” said Glenny.  “The deer was not put down but released to mother nature.” Gable said there was just over $2.2 million in the borough’s general fund checking account.  “That’s fairly high compared to other Nov. 30 dates,” he said. “That’s good news.” Council member Chad-Alan reflected on his first year on council, noting how well the council worked together and how much they had accomplished. The borough said leaf collection was continuing but would end by the end of the year. Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers thanked borough staff and volunteers saying the 2022 Christmas Festival had been a success and that over 1,000 people had visited the planned welcome center on Baltimore St. Borough Manager Charles Gable said parking revenue for the Christmas Festival weekend was over $17,000, which he said was “essentially double” what the revenue was in 2019.

Congress aims to close off presidential election mischief and fraud with simple and bipartisan solutions

Derek T. Muller, University of Iowa Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., center, and Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, right, take cover as protesters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Presidential elections are complicated. All 50 states and the District of Columbia hold simultaneous elections in November. The states and the district certify those results. But that’s not the end of it. When people cast votes, they’re actually voting for a group of people called “electors.” Groups of these presidential electors meet in December. They send their votes along to Congress, which counts them in January. The presidential candidate who gets the majority of electoral votes is, finally, declared the winner. There are known weaknesses in these rules for how we administer presidential elections and tabulate results in Congress. Ambiguities in existing law have been exploited to try to make something go wrong. Legal theories were floated by allies of President Donald Trump after the 2020 election that suggested ways to undermine the results of the election, culminating in a failed insurrection at the Capitol. That’s why a bipartisan group of congressional leaders now aims to pass reforms to the 1887 law governing this process, the Electoral Count Act, before the end of 2022. As an election law scholar, I have suggested that Congress focus its reforms on a few crucial areas that could have wide bipartisan support. It’s done just that. Discouraging mischief Both the Senate and the House have versions of a bill that tries to achieve the same end. But the Senate bill, known as the Electoral Count Reform Act, is narrower, went through extensive public vetting and has broad bipartisan support. It is likely something very close to this version becomes law. The Electoral Count Reform Act does many small things, but it does a few big things that deserve public attention for their ability to deter mischief in this important process. I testified at a Senate committee hearing on the legislation at the invitation of two co-sponsors of the bill, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri. I have also spoken with members of Congress about its importance. Here are the four major reforms in the bill: 1. Clarifies that Election Day is Election Day Right now, presidential elections take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. But existing law also allows states to choose presidential electors on a later date if they “failed to make a choice” on that day. This provision was designed in the mid-19th century for the few states that held runoff elections if no candidate received a majority. But no state uses it for that purpose today. The provision leaves an open question: When has a state “failed to make a choice”? Some advocates in 2020 suggested that abstract questions about voter fraud or absentee ballots constituted such a failure and therefore meant the state could choose electors at a later date. That raised the prospect that states might send two sets of electors to Congress, a slate for the candidate who carried the popular vote and another slate, chosen later by the legislature. And that would invite Congress to undermine the popular election results by counting the second set of electoral votes. Congress would close that door in the Electoral Count Reform Act. There would be one day of choosing electors, with no possibility of a later choice. And state legislatures could not show up after the election and attempt to change the rules – the bill mandates that state rules for how the election is run must be on the books before Election Day. 2. Ensures timely, accurate appointment of electors In past years, especially in 2020, disputes about which votes should or should not have been counted raged on for weeks after Election Day. A federal court in Pennsylvania, for instance, rejected a lawsuit claiming that hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election should be thrown out because counties processed them differently from one another. The Electoral Count Reform Act would create a firm date for states to certify election results. Creating a firm deadline would ensure a speedy end to any litigation. Some Trump supporters in 2020 attempted to file rogue paperwork purporting to represent an alternative slate of electoral votes from a particular state. The act would limit such mischief through expedited judicial review and clear obligations for state officials to submit accurate results to Congress. It would require state election officials to certify only the result that matches the outcome of the election held on Election Day, and nothing else. The act would ensure that there is one true set of returns from the states. 3. Raises objection threshold When Congress meets on Jan. 6 to count electoral votes, it is typically a ceremonial act. But since the 2000 presidential election, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers have objected or attempted to object to counting at least some electoral votes cast in presidential elections. Debate proceeded in 2005 and 2021, which forced the chambers to separate and conduct two hours of debate over whether to count electoral votes. To open debate currently requires just one member of each house of Congress to object. The act would raise the objection threshold to one-fifth of the members, based on the principle that only under the most extreme circumstances should Congress consider refusing to count electoral votes. It is simply too easy under the existing rules to cause mischief and turn this ceremony into an airing of grievances. Raising the threshold makes it harder to slow down counting and increases public confidence by refusing to give attention to baseless objections. 4. Defines vice president’s power In 2021, Trump publicly and privately pressured Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes during the joint session of Congress. Pence would not do what Trump wanted, arguing he had no power to do so. The act would clarify that the role of the president of the Senate – typically, the vice president – is ceremonial. The language would be updated to reflect what is already known – the vice president has no unilateral power to determine whether to count electoral votes. While some of these concerns have been around for many years, they have come to prominence only in recent years, and none more so than around the violent attacks that took place when Congress last counted electoral votes. If Congress enacts these simple bipartisan solutions, it can instill confidence in future presidential elections. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Gettysburg Borough moves forward on new ordinances

The Gettysburg borough council moved forward on a number of proposed ordinances at its workshop meeting on Monday evening. The council will move forward on a new complaints policy by which the public or others may make complaints about borough staff including members of the police department. The document sets a series of hierarchies for examining and resolving complaints and requires monthly summaries of potential complaints to be shared to the council. Vice President Matt Moon who in the absence of President Wes Heyser chaired the meeting, said the policy was created because it had been requested by members of the borough staff and that the documenting of incidents would help protect the borough from liability. “We hold our staff, both uniformed and non-uniformed to an incredibly high standard of behavior,” he said. The borough will postpone considering a resolution regarding the unlawful use of waste containers to a future contract with WM and will postpone considering a potential resolution regarding the unlawful sharing of utilities until it is relevant to a future borough contract. The borough will move forward with a new special events zoning ordinance that followed from a proposal from Scott Engiish that came to the council in February. The proposed use of the property at 66-68 W. High St. for events prompted the council to develop a special events zoning ordinance for the Elm St. Overlay District. But doing so opened a can of worms for the council because so many questions came up. The board agreed they should move forward expeditiously and that Mr. English had been waiting too long for a decision. Moon said the council was right in the approach it took because the English application had “laid bare” many questions including the use of public toilets. “Somewhere we got thrown a curveball,” said board member Chad-Alan Carr.  “We’re restricting somebody’s property and somebody’s business too much. I think we need to go back to the drawing board.” Eastman said any vote on the proposed ordinance could not occur until after a public hearing process. The borough is moving forward with a comprehensive rezoning plan. Planning Director Carly Marshall said the current document was signed in 2008 and that there have  been many amendments since then. The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the council will be on Dec. 12 when they hope to approve the 2023 budget, which is currently on display for public viewing.

Rejecting undated mail ballots disproportionately impacts communities of color in Pa., data shows

This article is made possible through Spotlight PA’s collaboration with Votebeat, a nonpartisan news organization covering local election administration and voting. This article is available for reprint under the terms of Votebeat’s republishing policy. Pennsylvania’s policy of rejecting undated and incorrectly dated absentee and mail ballots is more likely to impact voters from communities with larger nonwhite populations, a Votebeat and Spotlight PA analysis of data from three urban counties has found. Earlier this month a deadlocked Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that undated and incorrectly dated mail ballots should not be counted in the Nov. 8 midterm election, the latest development in a years-long dispute over these flawed ballots. Under state law, a person who casts a mail ballot must sign and date a declaration on the outer envelope. In reaction, some counties released lists of voters who had submitted these types of flawed ballots in an effort to have them rectify the error before the end of Election Day so that their vote would be counted. An analysis of these lists — released by Philadelphia, Allegheny County, and Erie County between Nov. 4 and Nov. 7 — found that the 3,571 voters submitting the flawed ballots were more likely to come from communities with higher than average nonwhite populations as compared to the voting population as a whole in the county. “Though [the Pennsylvania Department of State] has not independently confirmed [this] analysis, if accurate, the data you’ve compiled does take a step toward confirming with empirical evidence what we understood to be the case anecdotally,” the agency said in a statement after viewing the findings. “This minor voter error appears to impact specific communities of voters more than others, including older voters, low-income voters and voters in communities of color.” Oprah Means, a 35-year-old African-American mother of three from Duquesne, Allegheny County, was one such voter. Her ballot was rejected for having an incorrect date — defined by the state Supreme Court as falling outside Sept. 19 to Nov. 8 — and she could not recall what date she wrote that would have been disqualified. She said she was “not at all” surprised to hear there was a racial disparity among rejected ballots. “It felt like it was done on purpose to me,” Means said, noting that her ballot had been submitted for weeks before she was informed, at 7:40 p.m. on Election Day, that there was an error. She added that by voting she was trying to set a good example for her 19-year-old daughter. “It felt just, like, disappointing,” she said. “The people I voted for won, but I was still upset my vote didn’t get counted.” The disparity was clearest in Philadelphia, where voters who submitted ballots with blank or improper dates were nearly 6 percentage points more likely to come from neighborhoods that have more nonwhite residents than average. Pennsylvania’s official list of registered voters, which Votebeat and Spotlight PA used for this analysis, does not contain racial demographics for each individual, making it impossible to do exact comparisons of these voters by race. Instead, Votebeat and Spotlight PA used U.S. census data by zip code to identify communities and neighborhoods with a higher than average percentage of nonwhite residents than the county. Here’s how that data showed the 6-point disparity among voters: While 55.2% of all registered voters in Philadelphia live in zip codes with higher than average nonwhite populations, 61% of voters who submitted the flawed ballots live in such zip codes. A similar racial disparity was also found in Allegheny County and, to a lesser degree, in Erie County. In Allegheny, which contains Pittsburgh, voters who submitted flawed ballots were also around 6 percentage points more likely to come from zip codes with higher than average minority populations. In Erie County, that figure was just over 2 percentage points. John Curiel, an assistant professor of political science at Ohio Northern University, verified Votebeat and Spotlight PA’s findings using an alternative technique for estimating the races of individual voters in the three counties, based on name and zip code. His analysis similarly found that there was a roughly 7 percentage point greater number of nonwhite voters among those submitting flawed ballots in Philadelphia as compared to the county’s voting population as a whole. Curiel’s estimates for Allegheny and Erie counties likewise found disparities that support Votebeat and Spotlight PA’s analysis, although without as strong a correlation as in Philadelphia. Votebeat’s analysis also showed a disparity between the income levels of flawed ballot voters and the voting population as a whole in Allegheny County, but not in Philadelphia and Erie County. In Allegheny, voters submitting flawed ballots were roughly 4 percent more likely to live in ZIP codes with higher than average poverty rates as compared to the county’s voting population as a whole. A long-standing issue When universal mail balloting was introduced to Pennsylvania in 2019 through Act 77, the law required that voters sign and date the outer return envelope. That portion was challenged in a 2021 case from Lehigh County as violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s requirement that a voter’s ballot could not be rejected for reasons that were immaterial to the voter’s eligibility. Marian Schneider, senior voting rights policy counsel at the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said disparities related to this practice have been known as far back as that case. “We already know that [rejecting ballots for being undated or having incorrect dates] skews older,” she said. She said that in the Lehigh case, both sides agreed that the issue had a greater impact on older voters. An analysis of birth years from Philadelphia and Allegheny’s data found that, in both counties, the median age of voters submitting the improperly dated ballots was slightly higher — two to four years — than those submitting properly dated ballots. While the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with the immaterial defect argument in the Lehigh case, the U.S. Supreme Court mooted the ruling earlier this year, as one of the candidates in the race in question had conceded. That left the question again up in the air ahead of this year’s election, before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 1 that counties should not count the ballots. But the issue is once again headed toward the nation’s highest court. The ACLU of Pennsylvania, along with the NAACP and several other organizations, is suing the Pennsylvania Department of State in federal court to have these ballots counted. A hearing hasn’t been held yet. Similar to the Lehigh case, the current case is making the immaterial defect argument and not arguing the practice violated the Civil Rights Act’s protection of certain classes, including race and age, from discrimination. But Schneider said the lack of a date, or an incorrect date on a ballots, should have no bearing on a ballot’s validity, and when rules are strictly interpreted in such a way, discrimination often follows. “Whenever you have a strict reading of election rules, it’s going to disproportionately impact low income voters and … nonwhite voters,” Schneider said. Aseem Shukla of The Inquirer contributed to this report. John Curiel of Ohio Northern University provided Bayesian Inference data analysis. Read more about the methodology of this analysis at Votebeat. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Adams improves 911 response system

The Adams County Commissioners have approved a $46,000 quote from Priority Dispatch Corporation that could improve how 911 calls are processed and ensure that the proper response is given to each emergency. Warren Bladen, Director of Adams County Emergency Management Systems, described the three types of responses to emergency calls – fire, police, and medical dispatch. When a 911 caller answers an operator’s question, the computer decides on the next question for the operator to ask. The quality assurance audit provided by the new system helps ensure that the appropriate questions are asked correctly and that the operator doesn’t skip, jump ahead, or ask questions out of order.  “It’s important for people to answer the questions completely so that the appropriate response can be made,” said Bladen. “And don’t hang up. Everyone assumes we have their location, but we don’t. Every bit of information could be critical.” he added. The contract will provide continual audits of emergency telecommunicators. This used to be handled in-house, but an increased workload demand created the need for an outside service. “This is the same company that provides protocols that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management (PEMA) has selected,” Bladen said. While computers are very useful in prioritizing the right questions to achieve the best response, Bladen said he doesn’t see it being a job fully taken over by artificial intelligence in the future. “It still needs that human element,” he said.   Inadvertent Real Estate Tax Relief In other business, the commissioners adopted an ordinance that will save new real estate holders in the county from having to pay fees or additional fines associated with late payment of taxes. The ordinance establishes a waiver form that new property owners can fill out if they don’t receive their real estate tax notifications because they have inadvertently been sent to the former owners. In the past, the new owners had to pay any late fees or fines associated with the late payments. Beginning in 2023, they can file a waiver acknowledging they did not receive the tax bill and pay only the face value of the tax. Offender Monitoring Device Price Increase The cost of offender monitoring devices has risen by ten cents per day, including alcohol, radio frequency, breathalyzer, and GPS monitoring. When offenders can’t pay the cost of their monitoring devices, the county picks up the tab. As of August, the total cost for unpaid monitors in 2022 was $14,500. Solicitor Molly Mudd pointed out that even with the county picking up the balance for the unpaid devices, it is a significant saving for the county to have offenders monitored in their homes rather than being placed in jail at the cost of about $115 per day per inmate. “This keeps them working and able to pay their fines,” said Commissioner Marty Qually. Moment of Silence Long-time resident Mary Furlong was remembered with a moment of silence at the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting. “She was a very vibrant and beneficial part of our community,” said Commissioner Randy Phiel. The volunteer, activist, and educator was an Adams County Courthouse tipstaff employee. She died Nov. 21.

Butler Township Receives $1 million Grant to Advance Plans on New Township Facility

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of the Budget has awarded Adams County’s Butler Township $1 million from its Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) to construct a multipurpose municipal complex. Grant funding will be used to advance plans on a new, fully functional township facility where safety and security are a priority. The proposed project will include a reception area, delineated offices and workspace, a meeting room with ample space for social distancing, and a maintenance area and garage that is all under one roof. Commonwealth legislators Rep. Torren Ecker and Sen. Doug Mastriano provided support letters for the request. “A huge thank you goes out to Rep. Torren Ecker,” said Butler Township Supervisor Chair Ed Wilkinson. “Rep. Ecker was an early supporter of our project and worked hard to get this funding secured. A township facility that houses all municipal functions will have a huge impact on safety, security, financial efficiency, and improved service and convenience for local residents.” Currently, the township houses its administrative office in the lower floor of a residential dwelling that was converted into office space and a public-meeting room. The salt shed and maintenance building are located across the township. The maintenance building is in derelict conditions and will likely no longer be insurable due to the age and structural instability. Not only will the new township facility increase efficiency with day-to-day operations, but it will also be designed to serve as an emergency operations center, if the need arises, and it will also provide the benefit of a polling location. “The new township facility will be a centralized location that will meet the growing demands of the community,” said Ecker. “I was happy to advocate for the township’s application for these funds.”

Gettysburg proposed 2023 budget available for public inspection

The proposed Gettysburg Borough 2023 budget is available on the borough’s website for public viewing and comment. The budget will potentially be approved at the Dec. 12 council meeting. According to the borough, the budget highlighs are: No Tax Increase Two Additional Police Officers Borough-wide Rezoning Project Capital Projects Advanced Gettysburg Welcome Center (Grant Application Submitted) Gettysburg Gateway Connectivity Project (Construction Money Grant Application Submitted) Design and Engineering (Grant Award Received) Gettysburg Inner Loop (Construction Money Grant Application Submitted) Design and Engineering (Grant Award Received) Area Segregation – Portable Barricade System (Grant Application Submitted) Street Preservation (Replace Broken Crosswalk on Steinwehr Avenue) Racehorse Alley Garage Maintenance Bridge Maintenance

No county tax increases predicted in 2023 as federal Covid-19 funds roll out

The Adams County commissioners said they projected no tax increases for the 2023 fiscal year. “No tax increase and not cutting services” are solid positives for the budget, said Commissioner Randy Phiel. The county said it had received $10 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that will be dispersed in several ways so that all county residents are positively affected, either directly or indirectly. Phiel said $584,000 in funds from ARPA was currently being dispersed to 34 municipalities, 17 fire departments, and two EMT companies. “None of these organizations know this is happening,” said Phiel. “They will be contacted right after this meeting.” Commissioner Marty Qually said the county’s current reserves of nearly $28 million provided the ability to cover the budget shortfall. “We could have used the ARPA funds to balance the budget but chose not to because we’ve had some good years,” he said. “The amount of hard work and effort and labor that goes into this is significant,” Phiel said, thanking the many people who worked toward achieving the budget goals. “It has been a tough year economically, but the county is in good shape financially.” Phiel said a fiscal team was created several years ago, fostering collaboration between the budget, controller, treasurer, and commissioner’s office. “One of the best things we’ve done is to create a team to look at our fiscal position.” The county budget is set at $87.7 million. In addition to wages, FICA, and benefits for county workers, expenditures will contribute toward the prison ($14.2 million), court services ($10.6 million), children services ($9.9 million), 911 telecommunications ($4.3 million), tax services ($3 million), and planning and development ($2.1 million). Proposed capital projects include solar panels on some public buildings, prison upgrades, and hardware and software programs that serve the county. “It is definitely a priority project to get this money to the community. These are funds that can impact the general welfare of the communities and essential services in the county,” said Commissioner Martin. It’s a win/win,” said Qually, “and that’s something you don’t often hear about federal funds. We made it through the pandemic that clearly impacted municipalities and services. Now we need to close that gap for some of them.” The tentative 2023 budget can be reviewed on the county website. ARPA funds will also make a direct contribution through a $5 million grant that will be divided and awarded for large-scale projects within the county. Currently in the application process, the minimum project cost is $250,000. The focus of these large-scale plans is water and sewer infrastructure and programs, services, or capital expenditures that respond to the pandemic’s public health and negative economic impacts, such as affordable housing initiatives and projects furthering workforce development. So far, the county has received 12 applications for the funds, but more are expected before the application period ends. At that point, an internal committee will review the applications, and funds will likely be awarded at the beginning of 2023. The application window closes at midnight Nov. 21. Information is provided on the county website. The Adams County Commissioners approved contracts totaling almost $170,000 for cybersecurity services to the information technology department. The hardware and software contracts will maintain and enhance products that archive and manage emails, record activity that can be reviewed for security purposes, provide email filtering and protection, and identify and respond to suspected malicious activity. Other programs provide firewall management, multi-factor authentication, endpoint device protection, and web filtering management that stops end users from going to harmful sites. Inmates over the age of 21 can now receive educational services unavailable in the past. At no additional or matching cost to the county, the Adams County Literacy Council will provide adult basic education services to the residents of the Adams Correction Center who are 21 years of age or older. Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 will continue to provide education services to inmates under the age of 21. The next Adams County Commissioner’s Board meeting will take place Nov. 30, 9 a.m. in the ceremonial courtroom.

Budget; Stormwater expenses; Christmas Festival dominate Gettysburg Borough Council Meeting

Mayor Rita Frealing and the Gettysburg Borough Council last night honored Dave Reese, Parking Meter Maintenance and Laborer, for 41 years of service to the borough.  Reese retired on November 2. Frealing said that since 1981 Reese had performed numerous services for the borough, including helping maintain the parking garage and other areas. Frealing thanked Reese for his “Outstanding dedication and unselfish service to both the citizens of the borough of Gettysburg and his fellow workers.”  The audience responded with avid applause and cheers. Proposed 2022 Budget After three budgetary work sessions the council is completing the draft of the proposed 2023 borough budget, which will be published on Nov. 28. The council will consider and potentially adopt the final budget at its meeting on Dec. 12. The proposed budget, which includes no tax increase, creates funding for two new police officers who will likely be hired as cadets who have not completed required police officer training.  This new policy, approved by the council at yesterday’s meeting, reflects a major change in how the borough hires officers. Rather than being hired with training, the new officers would complete training after being hired. The borough said the shift to hiring non-certified personnel would expand the pool of applicants, making it easier to hire a more diverse police force including potentially a bilingual Spanish-English speaker. Borough President Wes Heyser said the borough would work with labor relations to be sure the hiring was done properly. The proposed budget also includes a provision that provides reduced taxes for volunteer firefighters who live in the borough. News from Main Street Gettysburg 184 new memorial bricks were installed on Lincoln Square, bringing the total to almost 8,000 bricks. The Gettysburg Nature Alliance has donated $25,000 to the Welcome Center project. The Avenue of Trees along Steinwehr Ave. will be set up on Nov. 29 The annual Gettysburg Christmas Festival will be Dec 2 to 4.  “Every kind of reindeer you can imagine is going to be in Gettysburg that weekend,” said Sellers. Volunteers are needed for many different festival activities. More information about the festival is at  https://www.agettysburgchristmasfestival.com/ Mayor Frealing said she had held her first set of office hours at Gettysburg College.  Frealing said some students visited and indicated they “wanted to become part of Gettysburg.”

Democracy For America Offers Post-Election Meetup

Thursday, November 107 pm, YWCA Community Room DFA’s Leon Reed and Professor Char Weise of Gettysburg College will appraise the results (to the extent they are known) of the 2022 elections, considering such issues as election results and trends in Pennsylvania (governor, senator, state legislature); national results and trends (who will or is likely to control the House and Senate and where will this be decided); results of high profile elections. They will also consider how these results are likely to affect ongoing struggles about democracy, policy disputes in Washington, and the 2024 elections. The focus will be on how this will affect our lives. Ample time will be reserved for Q&A. Don’t sit and wonder how it will turn out. Come discuss it with the experts!

HUD Community Development Block Grant Awarded to Adams County Recipients

The Adams County Commissioners approved the submission of more than $320,000 for the 2022 Community Development Block Grant, awarding funding to Biglerville Borough and Hoffman Homes, as well as covering the county’s administrative fees, at its meeting yesterday. The $100,000 awarded to Biglerville Borough is the second grant in a multi-year project that will replace approximately 3,500 lineal feet of the water main serving the eastern portion of Biglerville Borough. “The upgrade to the water line along East York Street will provide more capacity to the residents borough-wide because the existing water main line is limited due to being undersized in some areas,” said Harlan Lawson, economic development specialist with the Adams County Office of Planning. He said the borough was awarded just under $111,000 for the same project last year and will likely seek funding from the state to continue the project in 2023. A grant of $163,338 was given to Hoffman Homes to install a steel fence approximately one-quarter mile long and seven feet high along Orphanage Road in front of Hoffman Homes’ property. It will create one point of entry and one point of exit for all individuals and vehicles. Located in Littlestown, Hoffman Homes for Youth provides treatment for those aged 7 to 21 diagnosed with a mental health disorder by offering services and support and helping to transition them back into the community. “The project will be completed in two stages,” said Hoffman Homes Executive Director Rebecca van der Boeuf. The first will provide the fencing along Orphanage Road; the second will be the construction of a gate with a camera monitoring system and the only way to enter the property. “The safety of our youth is paramount,” said van der Boeuf who explained that currently, there are two entrances to the property, and it is difficult to vet who is coming onto the property. “The type of youth we support places us at a higher risk of incidence,” she added. CDBG funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It can be used for housing rehabilitation, public services, community facilities, infrastructure improvement (water, sewer, stormwater), streets and sidewalks, economic development, and planning. The minimum request is $100,000 with no ceiling limit. In other council business, the Adams County Adult Correctional Center will receive two roof-top HVAC units with a cost to the county of $361,132 and an additional $15,240 for automation control for the units. The current system is 22 years old and needs repair. Enginuity, LLC of Mechanicsburg, PA, will complete the work. A further $2,589 proposal was approved to hire Overhead Door Company of Harrisburg-York to replace the tracks and lift cables on the overhead garage door of the outdoor storage building at the ACACC.   An upgrade to the county’s controller office accounting software has been approved at the cost of $11,340. The upgrade includes consulting, project management, and technical and training services. The county information technology services department has renewed its license for a reporting and analytics app that allows the IT network team to navigate and search data coming from the Cisco VoIP phone system to build reports and dashboards around that information. In addition, software updates for FaxFinder will provide the ability for all offices to send and receive faxes securely and digitally. Both agreements will cost about $4,300. Adams county Emergency Services will share certain 911 data with Carroll County to enhance call routing and transfers between the two counties. 911 calls near the MD/PA border are sometimes challenging to locate, depending on which tower provides the service.

Kiwanis donates $1,000 to GARA for playgrounds

At Monday’s board meeting, Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) Executive Director Erin Peddigree said the Gettysburg Adams Kiwanis club had donated $1,000 to GARA for playgrounds. In terms of the budget, Peddigree said GARA was “right on track with last year.” Peddigree said baseball and softball continued in the park, and that Weikert Field would be painted this week. Peddigree said the park would install new lighting to make the Sterner building parking lot brighter at night. Board President Steve Niebler said that after talking to an expert he was “more positive” about the ability to repair the amphitheater tile mural. Niebler said he would ask the local Optimist Club to help contribute to the cost of repairing the amphitheater roof as part of the repair work. Peddigree said the rec park would be hosting a crafts show with food trucks and kids’ activities during the Gettysburg Christmas Festival. Peddigree said that all of the annual rec park events were expected to continue into next year and that with the Farmer’s Market also coming, “2023 is already pretty full.” Peddigree said she was applying for grants to repair the restrooms, sponsor music in the park, and maintain the park’s restrooms.

Adams County Elections Secure Under Watchful IT Department

Adams County’s Technology Department Chief Phillip Walter told members of the Adams County Council of Governments (ACCOG) on Wednesday that his department will play a vital role in securing the vote during the upcoming election on Nov. 8. “We train pollsters, teach them how to use software, scanners, and other devices, and what to do in case of equipment issues,” Walter explained. He said the department had been working diligently to meet new state standards. As election night unfolds, his department will help with the central scanner, opening envelopes, and have rovers go to different sites to check out any units that may have a problem. “We take cybersecurity very seriously,” he said, adding that live streaming will also be available on election night. Walters told ACCOG members the IT department has been making many changes in the past few years, including the current transition of its website from adamscounty.us to adamscountypa.gov. The IT department is organized into four areas — work orders, department projects, IT projects, and organizational alignment. “We are woven into the fabric of what departments do. We look at what their business is and then determine how we can enhance each area to help move government forward.” The county will now use only encrypted devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets that will be secure if lost or stolen. Walter said that as part of the plan to help the county streamline its technology, training would be provided to ensure employees can get the best use of the software. 9/11 Memorial Trail Dennis Hickethier, secretary of Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc (HABPI), gave a presentation regarding the 9/11 Memorial Trail. Thirty-six miles of trails in Adams County will form part of the 1300-mile trail, connecting three memorials to honor those lost during the 2001 terrorist attacks. The multi-use trail that links the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Flight 92 Memorial in western PA will begin at Caledonia State Park, continue into the borough of Gettysburg, and then extend eastward into Hanover. “We are fortunate the trail comes through Gettysburg,” Hickethier said. While there is no direct funding for the trail’s completion, many municipalities are promoting its use, and that should eventually bring more people into Gettysburg to see what Adams County has to offer, he said. David Laughman, Legislative Chair for ACCOG, asked how the trail will interface with the planned Adams County Historical Trail and Hickethier said parts of the 9/11 trail would merge with it. Hickethier said the county office of planning is creating maps for the trails. Once completed, the alliance will send letters to the seven municipalities involved, asking for approval for trail signs to be placed in appropriate locations. He encouraged the municipalities involved to embrace the project and said the signs would be free of charge. Broadband Project George Mauser, vice-chair of the Adams County Broadband Community Task Force, asked for a spot on future ACCOG agendas to update county governments on a study to provide unserved and underserved areas of Adams County with broadband networks. Mauser said that surveys would be distributed within a couple of weeks through hard copies, mailings, and the county website to determine where coverage is and isn’t available. Mauser encouraged county governments to distribute the surveys as widely as possible so that residents would hear the message multiple times through multiple sources. Two meetings took place recently to seek public input into the broadband needs of Adams County. A draft of the survey distributed at the meetings asks a variety of questions concerning broadband usage, speeds, availability, and reliability, among others. The Broadband feasibility study was designed to address the development and implementation of a county-wide broadband network using available federal funding if awarded. Adams County Commissioner Marty Qually said the survey would provide information needed to qualify for the funding. “At the end of the day, it’s ‘Can we get the funding?’ We need boots on the ground,” he said. Commissioner Report Adams County Commissioner Randy Phiel said the coming county budget is tight, but no tax increase is anticipated. “We’re in good shape,” he said. Phiel reminded municipalities that all ballots for the Nov. 8 election must be in election offices by 8:00 p.m. and that ballots post-marked after that time will not be counted. Response and Recovery Adams County Response and Recovery Fund (ARRF) applications are now being accepted through Nov. 21. Sherry Clayton-Williams, director of the county office of planning and development, said two applications have already been received. ARRF focuses on utility infrastructure improvements and large-scale community development projects. A grant of five million dollars has been received for these projects from the US Department of the Treasury as part of the state and local fiscal recovery programs. The minimum project amount is $250,000. Clayton-Williams invited anyone with questions to contact the county office of planning. In other council business, Carl Pietrzak, President of Destination Gettysburg, announced that the county experienced a strong tourist season, with hotel occupancy rates up seven percent over last year. He said travel behavior is still very strong, despite gas prices and economic uncertainty. But he said there are still challenges when it comes to staffing. ACCOG president David Bolton announced that as he retires and Vice-President Terry Scholle steps up to replace him, there will be an opening on the ACCOG council. “We are looking for someone from a borough who would like to serve as vice president next year,” he said and appointed David Laughman as head of the nomination committee. The next ACCOG meeting will take place on November 17.

Gettysburg approves holiday parking; moves forward on 2023 budget

The Gettysburg Fall brush pick up will take place from Monday, Nov. 7 through Thursday, Nov. 10. The staff will come by each location two times during the week. Gettysburg Borough has left the free holiday parking hours for 2022 the same as they were last year.  Parking will be free on Monday through Friday between Thanksgiving and New Years Day for marked meters on Lincoln Square and within one block of the square and on Steinwehr Ave. Three hours maximum. But meters will be enforced for their regular hours on Saturday and Sunday. In short, during the holiday period: Monday through Friday:  Don’t Pay Saturday and Sunday: Pay The free holiday parking policy is designed to benefit merchants during the holiday season but also creates some confusion.  Parking Enforcement Officer Becka Fissel said that some drivers expressed confusion about the policies no matter how carefully the signs were worded, and that the policy frequently created anger on the part of drivers. Police Chief Glenny agreed that there would always be some drivers who did not properly read the signs. The borough council is continuing with its budget discussions. The council has cancelled the work session scheduled for next Monday, Oct. 31, due to Halloween, and will hold its final budget work session on Nov. 7.  The council expects to advertise the budget on Nov. 14 and hold a public review session on Nov. 28 prior to approving the budget at its meeting on Dec. 7.

Gettysburg seeks transparency in employee complaints

Gettysburg Borough will revise its employee complaint processes to make them more streamlined and more transparent. The goal is a standardized set of “progressive disciplinary actions” for potential infractions. The policy would help ensure all relevant parties, including employees, supervisors, and the borough council would be notified of the processes and outcomes of any complaints and followup proceedings. The new procedures would include a periodic review of complaints about employees and would apply to all borough employees, including members of the police department. “We do have a history of not always having a robust program that is followed,” said Borough Council President Wesley Heyser. “We are trying to correct a history of lackluster policy, that was not being applied fairly or universally,” said council member Matt Moon. Heyser said in his experience the council was often not informed about complaints and procedures. “I have rarely known about complaints filed in many circumstances,” he said. The council discussed who should be the arbitrator in cases of potentially wrongdoing, with council member Matt Moon saying that the council should make the judgments. Moon said that on the basis of his own experiences there would be times when supervisors were too close to employees to make objective decisions. Heyser said he thought the council itself could be biased by “outside pressures” and advocated focusing on staff to make the decisions. “I’m looking at the police chief and the manager.  Part of their salary justification is that that is something they have to do. That’s difficult but it’s part of being the boss,” said Heyser. Police Chief Robert Glenny said he thought the current procedures in police department were satisfactory and expressed concerns about the document. “I’m very comfortable that our personnel complaints policy is one of the best around,” he said. Glenny said he didn’t know what he would do if he were ordered by the mayor to do something he thought was wrong and that the policy could create issues related to criminal investigations and Garrity rights in cases where police officers were being investigated. “You’re going to get pushback from the [police] Union,” said Glenny.  The council will continue its discussion of the policy in November.

Commissioners commit $150,000 in hotel tax money for farm center feasibility study

A feasibility study that may result in a future PA Agricultural Discovery Center in Straban Township was approved by the Adams County Board of Commissioners at its meeting yesterday. As part of the hotel tax fund, $150,000 will be used to hire a yet-as-unknown consultant who will determine the suitability of several county sites for the planned center. The decision to locate the Discovery Center in Adams County resulted after four counties submitted proposals for the opportunity. The Discovery Center team decided Adams offered the most cohesive approach and support for bringing the Center to life. If approved, the Ag Discovery Center will eventually consist of a multi-building complex that will immerse visitors in a replica farming community. It will feature spaces to learn about crops, dairy cows, poultry, and other livestock and environmental education. The site’s 3D maps and models will showcase Pennsylvania’s agricultural history and the latest technology used in farming practices today. Exhibits will combine play features and education while tailoring learning to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) concepts for a hands-on experience. Commissioner Randy Phiel said there could not be a better use for the hotel tax money, combining the county’s rich tourism and agricultural context. “We are pleased to be selected for the PA Ag Discovery Center,” said Phiel. “The Center will complement the county’s diverse agricultural communities and proud farming heritage.” In thanking the board for their approval of the funding for the feasibility study and business plan, Robin Fitzpatrick, President of the Adams County Economic Alliance, said the quality of the presentation was what won Adams the next step in this journey and explained how the project came about. “The Dairymen’s Association and the Center for Dairy Excellence approached the board of commissioners about a potential project. Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Lancaster counties were invited to submit a proposal regarding a site location.  After a year of site tours and meetings, the PA Ag Discovery Center selected Adams County for its site location.  Feedback was such that they experienced a strong and cohesive team amongst the board of commissioners, county planning and development, travel and tourism, and economic development.  The quality of presentations suggests that long-term coordination and assistance would be dependable and most valuable.” Other County Business Oct. 29 has been proclaimed National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in Adams County. This reclamation of expired and unused over-the-counter, prescription, and pet medications occurs twice yearly. It is a joint effort between local law enforcement agencies, Collaborating for Youth Volunteers, and the DEA. Nine locations for free disposal will be available throughout the county. The sites will accept loose pills, pill packs, liquids, and creams but not needles. Every year, improperly or undisposed drugs may cause misuse, overuse, overdose, and death. For more information, contact cfygettysburg.com or Lisa Linley at 717-338-0300. The county commissioners were asked to approve purchases of a new controller and card reader on the door to the room where the county’s voting machines are housed. The total cost of both items is approximately $4,000. Another $6,259 was requested for a Quadient IM-210 automatic letter opener that can open 400 envelopes per minute. This price includes an annual maintenance contract. Both were approved as part of a plan to ensure election security. The Adams County Court Administration, Information Technology, and Commissioners signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide a model for efficient, secure, and cost-effective technology services provided for the courts by the commissioners through the IT department. Ellen Dayhoff, Rural Resource Manager, sought approval for an offer letter to purchase the conservation easement for a farm in Union and Germany Townships. Ms. Dayhoff explained that the price for small farms has increased within Adams County, and the price offered has been set at $3,000 per acre, slightly less than the asking price. The County Commissioners approved the offer letter for the 42.72-acre farm. The board approved and signed a certification statement for receipts and expenditures for the 2021-2022 Human Services Development Fund Grant for almost $94,000 for the Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) and $60,000 for the Human Services Development Fund. The HAP program provides needy families with rental subsidies. Featured Image Caption: The Adams County Board of Commissioners proclaimed October 29 as National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Griseydi Castaneda, Center for Youth and Community Development (CFYCD), Commissioner Randy Phiel, Lisa Lindsey CFYCD, Commissioner Marty Qually and Samiah Slusser, Collaborating for Youth. [Judith Cameron Seniura]

Gettysburg discusses policing

Borough Manager Charles Gable said the proposed 2023 budget would include the possibility of hiring an additional 2 full-time police officers. If approved, the officers would cost the borough about $100,000 each. If approved, the new officers would bring the force to a total of 14 full-time officers. Glenny reminded drivers that there is an implied pedestrian crosswalk at every intersection that has either a stop sign or a stop light. Glenny said pedestrians always have the right of way if they are in the area of a crosswalk. “Whether it is painted, marked, designated, or not, if somebody is crossing the street at an intersection and they are in the area that would be a crosswalk, vehicles have to stop for them,” said Glenny. Glenny also reminded pedestrians that if they do not have right of way if they are crossing the street outside of an intersection. Glenny also said that pedestrians who are crossing at crosswalks in which there are pedestrian-controlled flashing lights must use the lights to assure they have the right of way while crossing. Glenny said the department would be continuing its enforcement of pedestrian and driver safety regulations. Glenny also said that nationally there had been an increase in the use of drugs that do not respond to the Narcan antidote. “We are seeing that tick up.  I hope and pray that that doesn’t come here. We as a community have done will with Narcan and reducing our overdose deaths,” he said. Glenny said the department was applying for a $148,000 local law enforcement support grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). The grant, if approved, would provide upgrades to police department computers and communications as well as for video surveillance around Lincoln Square. The grant also requests funding for officer training, retention bonuses, and wellness support. Glenny said the grant requests were all tied to reducing crime rates and increasing clearance rates. Mayor Rita Frealing said that this year’s borough Trick or Treat will be held Monday Oct. 31 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Saying lighting in the borough is not always good, Frealing asked drivers to slow down during the trick or treat hours. The date for the 2022 Halloween Parade has also been announced as Oct. 25 with a rain date on Oct. 27.  The parade will include two Grand Marshals: Frealing and former mayor Ted Streeter. Board member Chad-Alan Carr reminded council that Gettysburg Project Léon had sponsored the 2022 Salsa on the Square event and encouraged people to donate to the organization during the upcoming Giving Spree. Martin Jolin was re-appointed to a 5-year term on the Shade Tree Commission. Rebecca Brown was appointed as an alternate to the Shade Tree Commission, also for a 5-year term. The borough said their health insurance costs would rise 15.8 percent in 2023. The increase is substantially larger than the increases over the past years, which have averaged about 6 percent. Gable said the overall increase to the borough would be about $80,000. The borough’s health insurance is provided through the PCHIP health insurance program along with 287 other state municipalities. The borough said despite the 2023 increase, the borough’s membership in the cooperative had helped reduce health care costs. “Getting back into this cooperative was very important for the budget,” said Council President Wes Heyser. “Cooperatives such as this are critical because they allow us to spread risk across such a large group.” A PCHIP representative said the large increase was likely a “1 year blip.” Healthcare is provided for full-time borough employees including members of the policed department. Borough council members do not get a healthcare benefit. The borough reported that Waste Management (WM) had paid $7,500 in fines related to service lapses. The borough also reported that WM had substantially improved its services and that the the borough was no longer threatening to terminate their contract. “Substantially the service has improved,” said Heyser. “We’ve come to a fairly decent resolution with WM.” The council reported that the Gettysburg Municipal Authority was purchasing the a property at 424 E. Middle St., to be used for office space. The borough will consider adding new federal holidays to the free parking schedule. A Planning Commission meeting will be held on Oct. 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Adams County Commissioners Recognize Domestic Violence Victims

The national statistics are sobering. One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Many victims experience concern for their safety, PTSD symptoms, physical injury, and the need to be counseled by by victim services. Showing support for victims of violence, the Adams County Commissioners proclaimed Oct. 17 to 22 as Week Without Violence and the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In thanking the commissioners for their recognition of Week Without Violence, Nancy Lilley, Advocacy Director, YWCA of Gettysburg, said,  “At the YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. That’s why, for more than 20 years, YWCA has set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence. Join us from October 17 – 22 as we raise awareness, elevate survivor voices, talk with policymakers, and more, with a common goal: centering survivors so that together, we can end gender-based violence.” “I’m sure these proclamations come pro forma… but I assure you that for those of us who bring them, it’s a wonderful chance to highlight what we feel is important,” Ms. Lilley said, addressing Commissioners James Martin and Randy Phiel. “We’ve been doing this for 11 years now,” commented Commissioner Phiel “and I assure you that proclamations are never routine.” He added that the proclamations are an important way to highlight community concerns and celebrations. Commissioner James Martin concurred, saying that domestic violence crossed all social, economic, and ethnic borders and that it was time to end gender-based violence. Sarah Harvey, Assistant Director of YWCA of Hanover, Safe Home, underscored the importance of helping those affected by domestic violence in the Hanover area and throughout Adam’s County. Harvey said she was proud to provide services to all of Adams County.  Developed by the Hanover YWCA in 1981, Safe Homes offers: A 24 hour hotline and crisis response (717) 632-0007 serving the Hanover Area and Adams County Emergency safe housing and referrals to local shelters Legal advocacy, including assistance with filing protection orders Since 2019 the Hanover YWCA has included Adams County as part of its Safe Home coverage area. Harvey stressed that the hotline is free and confidential. “There are numbers in here that I would say are alarming,” commented Commissioner Martin, thanking both groups for their work in intimate partner violence. “Wish it wasn’t needed, but it is,” he added. On a lighter note, tiara-wearing Jane Rentsel, Special Programs Coordinator for the Tax Service Department, received a standing ovation on the occasion of her retirement after serving the county for 23 years. Daryl Crum, Director of Adams County Tax Services thanked her for her years of service, her flexibility and hard work, especially in the administration of the Clean and Green program. “She is the Queen of Green and Clean,” announced Crum, smiling. The Clean and Green program, enacted by the state legislature in 1974, encourages property tax savings by basing property taxes on use values rather than fair market values.  Commissioner Martin was not without tears as he thanked Rentsel for her work and her ability to “kick off my day with a time of laughter.” In response to a comment that the sun would shine on her first day of retirement, Rentsel joked, “It better. I have places to go and things to do.” In other board business: A $230,000 grant-funded program from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency was approved for the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex. Called “Transition to Success,” it is an alternative method to traditional corrections targeting first-time, low-risk offenders and probation violators. The program aims to provide them with the tools and resources to help them successfully reintegrate into the community. Current data suggests that the three-year recidivism rate for Pennsylvania is 53 percent, increasing to 71 percent after five years. Corrections Center staff hope to significantly reduce those numbers through the grant-funded program that will be used to refurbish two housing units, staff training, and purchase evidence-based treatment materials and other supplies. A public hearing to remove more than $40,000 from New Hope Ministries for rent and utilities assistance and contribute it to the Alpha Fire Company for Covid-19 response staffing and supplies was met without comment and approved. County Solicitor Molly Mudd later explained that the relocation of grant funds was a good move. New Hope no longer needed the original amount after the federal government provided funds for such assistance as part of its covid-relief program. Moving the funds was necessary to prevent the county from losing them. The board approved a two-year professional agreement with Mark Maas, P.I. for investigative work that the County Public Defender’s office may require. Maas, who will work on an as-needed basis, will charge the county an hourly rate of $75, not to exceed $15,000 for any individual investigation. Tax services director Daryl Crum received approval for an annual maintenance contract for billing software with Grandjean & Braverman, a Pennsylvania Company. Cost is $11,330, with any additional service to be billed at $115 per hour. Featured image caption: Domestic Violence Awareness Month was proclaimed at the Oct. 5 meeting of the Adams County Commissioners. From left, Commissioner James Martin, Mandi Howell, Gettysburg Advocate for Safe Homes, Commissioner Randy Phiel and Sarah Harvey, Director of YWCA Hanover Safe Homes project which provides Adams County residents with a number of resources.

Mayor Frealing goes to Washington

Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing and nearly 50 other community leaders from across Pennsylvania met with senior White House officials and President Biden yesterday at the Communities in Action: Building a Better Pennsylvania event at the White House. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Senior Advisor to the President Anita Dunn, Senior Advisor and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Rodriguez, Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, Senior Advisor and White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Gabe Amo, were also invited to the event, as were U.S. Congresswoman Madeline Dean (PA-4) and U.S. Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-5). Frealing said the half-day meeting was designed to help leaders learn about how the funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) had positively affected people in communities across the state and to provide ideas for how money still in the pipeline should be spent. “It was a chance to network with local officials,” said Frealing. She particularly noted how funding from the ARPA Child Tax Act helped children in Gettysburg. Frealing said that at the daycare center at the YWCA of Gettysburg and Adams County alone, increases in the child tax credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child helped 135 families with daycare expenses. “A lot of money was also spent on water and sewer projects,” she said. “I was really amazed to be invited,” said Frealing. “I met a lot of people including the State Director of Arts and representatives from the Latino community. Frealing said many of the state representatives she interacted with were expecting to visit Gettysburg in the future. Featured image: Mayor Frealing with Second Gentleman of the United States Doug Emhoff.

Cumberland supervisors tentatively deny approval of apartment complex

Cumberland Township Supervisors tentatively denied approval of preliminary plans for a large apartment complex at the site of the closed Gettysburg Country Club at Rt. 30 and Country Club Lane last night. Opponents of the proposed Residences at Willoughby Run, an eight-building complex of 112 apartments, overflowed into the hallway of the meeting room. Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to deny approval of the preliminary plan, questioning water issues, the traffic study, and other technicalities. The supervisors said some required approvals were unfinished. This action delays but does not end the controversy, because the developers need only upgrade the plan and resubmit. Opponents spoke against the proposed location, with one saying, “We really don’t want it, but if you must build it build it somewhere else.” Speakers said the apartments would not help with housing shortages in the county because of high rents. Speakers emphasized that the location of the apartments is on ground that was a site of the first day’s Battle of Gettysburg. Two faculty members from the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College came with several students who described the battles. “This is not a technical decision,” said history professor Dr. Peter Carmichael. Civil War Institute Assistant Director Dr. Ashley Luskey emphasized that for the opposition, it is the “intangible things” that are important. Several Gettysburg enthusiasts traveled for hours to speak out against the plan. One man said he had come from Edison, New Jersey, and had visited Gettysburg “over 100 times”. A mother and son drove to the meeting from Pittsburgh, saying there were four confederate hospitals on the site. Presenters submitted several hundred more petitions from Cumberland Township residents, and thousands of petitions had been mailed in from American Battlefield Trust. In addition to the spoken testimony, the supervisors also received many letters about the project.

Adams Council of Governments addresses financial ratings, Covid grants, school challenges

Adams County Treasurer Chris Redding addressed community leaders at the Sep. 22 Adams County Council of Governments (ACCOG) meeting, saying the county’s healthy A2+ rating for financial status reflects a joint effort of community sectors working together in a complex office with many moving parts. Redding said the treasurer’s office works with the 34 township and borough tax collectors on real estate and per-capita taxes. The office also provides thousands of licenses for hunters, sportsman, pet owners, bingo operators, and more. Redding said she is proud of the government finance team that was formed several years ago to streamline the account structures that enhance the county budget process. A former tax collector in the Straban Township for 10 years, Redding said the move towards a more digital format is a positive direction that provides the option of electronic payments to improve convenience and efficiency.  ACCOG secretary Danielle Helwig focused on National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) training. The Central Pennsylvania Emergency Management System oversees NIMS preparedness in Adams and other central counties. County Manager Steve Nevada said the training was useful and that interested community leaders could get more information from the NIMS website or by checking with their county solicitors. Nevada said typical threats include flooding, severe storms, fires, and hazardous material incidents. Response and Recovery Fund Grants Announced Adams County Commissioner Randy Phiel provided the ACCOG with information about the Adams County Response and Recovery Fund grant that will provide up to $5 million in non-repayable funding for projects that will help to alleviate the negative impact of Covid 19. He said the county’s two priorities for the grant money will be the economic impact caused by the pandemic and water and sewer projects. He encouraged interested community leaders to take advantage of learning more during the pre-application period from Oct. 1 to 23 by visiting the County website. Applications will be accepted Oct. 24 to Nov. 1. “Hopefully the pre-qualification period will help,” he added. Reminding the group that it is election year, Phiel said that the Precinct 2 voting place will return to Gettysburg College now that the school’s face-mask mandate has been lifted. He reported that the commissioners’ office has approved, for the first time in years, an increase in poll rental payments, from $45 to $100, and for poll workers, whose stipends will increase on average by about $70. Nevada asked community leaders to remind voters who wish to use mail-in ballots that they must be received by 8:00 p.m. on election day. He said if voters try to mail their ballots on election day, they will not arrive in time. The last day to register to vote is Oct. 24. Commissioner Marty Qually updated the ACCOG membership on the county broadband study that has just appointed a task force and is currently working with consultants to look at the feasibility of providing internet services to underserved areas in the county. He explained that the task force involves a “mix of leaders from different fields.” He said they would seek input from the community through surveys sent digitally, by mail, or in person. Monthly meetings open to the public will keep the community updated on the task force’s progress.  The county fire service boundary maps have been finalized, said Sherri Clayton-Williams, Director, Office of Planning and Development. “It was a huge undertaking, and we are happy to have it done.” Asked when the boroughs and municipalities will receive the new map, she said they were waiting for municipal approval but anticipated the maps would be available by the end of the year. Lori Duncan, Conewago School District business manager, asked community leaders to take the time to attend their local school district meetings. “Let’s communicate better and work together.” She said that while new housing developments may be seen as a benefit to townships and boroughs, leaders may not realize the potential burden schools face with the increase of students. She referred to aging buildings, capacity student populations, and the rising costs of education as issues that need to be jointly discussed. Justin Peart, business manager for Bermudian Springs School District, said public education has become much more challenging since the pandemic and that many problems are now magnified. “We have a bullseye on our backs with what is now happening in education. David Bolton, meeting presider, commented, “You brought a need forward. I agree, let’s work on that.” The Adams County Council of Governments meets monthly to provide a forum for the discussion of mutual interest by local government entities and to coordinate joint activities between members on an as-needed basis.  

Democrats continue supporting their candidates

Over 50 demonstrators met on the Gettysburg Square on Friday evening to continue expressing their support for Democratic candidates Josh Shapiro, John Fetterman, and Marty Qually. The demonstrators brought signs and raised their voices in support of abortion rights, voting integrity, democracy, and freedom. The group meets on Friday afternoons to support their cause. The group has also planned a “My Body My Choice ” rally that will be held On Oct. 15 in Gettysburg.

Election 2022: Gubernatorial Race Offers Stark Contrasts in Vision of Future Form and Funding of Pennsylvania Schools

PSBA Legislative Report 20 September 2022: Christopher Fee is the Pennsylvania School Board Association (PSBA) Liaison for the Upper Adams School Board. He creates a monthly report on state-wide legislative issues of importance to the board. This is his report from Sep. 20, 2022 In some ways, this year’s race for the Governor’s Office in Pennsylvania reflects traditional differences in understanding what is best for students in Pennsylvania’s public schools: Republicans have tended to focus on tax-cuts, local control, and parental choice, while Democrats characteristically favor more robust funding, more equitable distribution of resources, and more centralized governmental structure. The current contest between Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and State Senator Doug Mastriano seems to have extended this trend, exacerbated considerably by lingering conflict over the handling of COVID in Commonwealth schools, as well as by hot-button culture wars topics such as race and gender. Nowhere is the contrast between the two candidates more stark, however, than in their stated plans for the future of funding public education in Pennsylvania. One the one hand, both candidates speak to issues and offer positions aligned with their bases, which is no great surprise: Each is telling his core voters things those voters would like to hear. That’s politics as usual. On the other hand, it is important to remember that, while if Mr. Shapiro were to win, he would face a legislature controlled by the other party, and thus would be unlikely to have the power to achieve his vision in full, Mr. Mastriano, if victorious, might well have a majority in the legislature amenable to his agenda. Mr. Shapiro, a member of the current Wolf administration, has indicated that he wants to continue and to extend that administration’s policies, stating that, as one outlet has reported, “he largely wants to maintain Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s education spending plan,” as well as making “funding more equitable across districts.”[1] By way of contrast, Mr. Mastriano’s suggestions concerning education finance reform have gotten by far the lion’s share of local, state, and national press coverage. This plays to Mr. Mastriano’s strategy of, in Forbes’s assessment, “not engaging with traditional media under any rules but his own,”[2] while simultaneously engaging his base through social media, as reported upon by the New York Times.[3]  Mr. Mastriano has a talent for exciting that base through extreme positions that at the same time garner significant attention from the mainstream media he otherwise keeps at arms’ length. The most relevant recent case-in-point of this media strategy involves public school funding. In a March interview, Mr. Mastriano “said that Pennsylvania should reduce per-student school funding by $10,000 annually,”[4] indicating that he thought that an average cost of $19,000 per student could be dropped to $9,000. According to Forbes, however, “[s]ince then Mastriano has walked back that figure; in a campaign video, he suggests that the vouchers would be an average of $15,000, to be spent on ‘public school, home school, private school, religious school.’” The backlash against this proposal was swift and has continued, with the Pennsylvania State Education Association, for example, positing that such a move would have a “devastating impact on public schools,” resulting in cuts exceeding “$12 billion — 33% of all funding,” as well as job losses of some 118,704 district employees state-wide, and doubled student-to-teacher ratios.[5] This news story got widespread traction, and versions of it have appeared in newspaper outlets including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,[6] the Philadelphia Inquirer,[7] the Centre Daily Times,[8] the York Daily Record,[9] the Pennsylvania Capital-Star,[10] and the Harrisburg Patriot-News;[11] have resulted in significant mention on radio stations including WESA in Pittsburgh[12] and WHYY in Philadelphia;[13] and have prompted spots on TV newscasts such as Pittsburgh’s Action News 4[14] and CBS News Philadelphia.[15] There is no arguing with the effectiveness of such a media strategy; Mr. Shapiro’s positions barely merit mention in many of these outlets. That said, the fact that Mr. Mastriano’s proposal may seem to the more jaundiced observer less of an actual educational plan and more of a rhetorical strategy that uses our children and their schools as pawns in a bid to broaden a candidate’s exposure is troubling, to say the very least. This is especially true when one analyzes the nuts-and-bolts of school funding in Pennsylvania. From the information I have been able to glean, Mr. Mastriano’s plan seems ill-advised. Indeed, insofar as I can follow his thinking, Mr. Mastriano’s position seems to be based in large measure on a doctrine of school choice grounded in the unfortunately all-too-common misconception that “the money should follow the child.” Broadly speaking, no money at all “comes” with any child: The annual tuition rate for a given public school district is simply the yearly operating budget for direct education divided by the number of students, giving us a rough estimate of how much of that budget is dedicated to a given child. None of these children actually show up in the Upper Adams schools with $13,027.15 (or $26,793.13 for Special Education) for tuition;[16] in fact, many of them come from families which may pay little or nothing toward the taxes which support the schools. Each of some 4,800 homesteads in the Upper Adams School District contributes towards the bulk of UASD’s operating revenue, paying on average $2465.09 per homeowner. Even those families which do pay such taxes thus would likely pay far less than their child(ren)’s share of the budget. Through the State’s existing Basic Education Formula (BEF), districts hardly receive any funds for students attending outside charter/cyber schools.  Local funds through tax revenue pay for students to attend such schools. That means it takes the revenue from three or four average local taxpayers to cover the cost of one regular education child seeking such an option. Every child who leaves the district schools for a charter or cyber option thus takes a large chunk out of the operating budget, although, generally speaking, the relative costs do not fall at anything like a commensurate rate. Indeed, because most of a district’s costs—including labor and infrastructure—are fixed, in any given year, a district would have to lose enough students of the same grade level to empty a full classroom in order to garner any measurable savings. Mr. Mastriano seems dedicated to expanding such expensive external educational options while concurrently slashing the funding available to pay for public education. According to his stated objectives, these opportunities would include traditional public schools, charter and cyber schools, as well as additional external options via “Education Opportunity Accounts,” which would provide something like a Health Savings Account for education, a sort of latter-day voucher system. This might make sense if money came with each child, but this is simply not the case, and thus this plan is a recipe that seems destined to have the potential to impoverish every district in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, Mr. Mastriano is in favor of ending property taxes. As Forbes noted recently, “Mastriano has argued that Pennsylvania’s property tax should be cut to zero.”[17] It is only fair to acknowledge that these taxes are wildly unpopular with most property owners, myself included. Property taxes are also a problematic way to fund schools in the first place, especially because they practically guarantee inequities among school districts, considering the fact that the communities funding the schools are of varying levels of affluence. That said, property taxes provide the bulk of school operating funds in Pennsylvania: Local taxes support 52.1% of the Upper Adams budget, the State contributes 44.2%, and the Federal government gives just 3.7%. That 52.1% is millions & millions of dollars, and it has to come from somewhere, or public schools will simply cease to exist as we know thm, and there won’t be enough money for vouchers for other options, either. Until the legislature comes up with a reasonable and generally palatable substitute, it would be “completely irresponsible,” in PSEA’s term concerning Mr. Mastriano’s plan, to dispense with them out of hand.[18] Unfortunately, as Forbes also has pointed out, Mr. Mastriano “has never suggested replacing that lost revenue with any other source; in fact, his website also promises to cut gas tax and corporate net income tax.”[19] So, in the phrase made infamous by Jerry Maguire, “show me the money.”[20] Show me, in detail and without political rhetoric, how we can pay for schools in this way without making things worse than they currently are. The most cynical amongst us might argue that that’s a pretty low bar, but Mr. Mastriano does not seem even close to clearing it. It is a good thing to want to improve educational opportunities and resources for students, but these are children in our care, and although money matters—and I don’t blame those who think it matters a lot—children matter infinitely more. We must always be more concerned with their well-being than with the bottom line, and plans to overhaul significantly our educational system should be rigorous, well-conceived, and fully articulated and vetted in a public forum, not merely the subject of popular political rhetoric. In the final analysis, Mr. Mastriano’s plan is poised to disadvantage disproportionately schools such as ours, which already struggle with more constrained resources than more affluent suburban districts. As recent studies have indicated, the results for the Upper Adams School District could well be catastrophic.[21] [1] https://www.wesa.fm/education/2022-08-25/slashed-funding-equity-parent-choice-pa-gov-candidates-have-hugely-different-education-plans [2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2022/08/27/doug-mastriano-wants-to-defund-public-education-in-pennsylvania/ [3] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/31/us/politics/doug-mastriano-social-media-rise.html [4] Listen to his portion of the interview here: https://www.psea.org/mastrianocuts [5] https://www.psea.org/mastrianocuts [6] https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/09/16/analysis-pa-teachers-mastriano-education-funding-plan-results/stories/202209160136 [7] https://www.inquirer.com/news/doug-mastriano-education-funding-school-board-members-letter-20220909.html [8] https://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/article265906616.html [9] https://www.ydr.com/story/news/politics/2022/09/15/mastriano-education-plan-would-cut-school-funding-by-12b-union-says/69495468007/ [10] https://www.penncapital-star.com/campaigns-elections/mastrianos-education-funding-plan-would-devastate-pennsylvania-public-schools-advocates-say/ [11] https://www.pennlive.com/news/2022/08/psea-calls-gop-gubernatorial-candidate-mastrianos-school-funding-plan-completely-irresponsible.html [12] https://www.wesa.fm/education/2022-08-25/slashed-funding-equity-parent-choice-pa-gov-candidates-have-hugely-different-education-plans [13] https://whyy.org/articles/pennsylvania-election-2022-governor-mastriano-shapiro-voter-guide/ [14] https://www.wtae.com/article/psea-doug-mastriano-school-funding/41253476 [15] https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/news/doug-mastriano-pennsylvania-governor-candidate-aston-delaware-county/ [16] For the state-wide Charter School Tuition Rates, see: https://www.education.pa.gov/K-12/Charter%20Schools/Pages/Charter-School-Funding.aspx [17] https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2022/08/27/doug-mastriano-wants-to-defund-public-education-in-pennsylvania/ [18] https://www.pennlive.com/news/2022/08/psea-calls-gop-gubernatorial-candidate-mastrianos-school-funding-plan-completely-irresponsible.html [19] https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2022/08/27/doug-mastriano-wants-to-defund-public-education-in-pennsylvania/ [20] https://www.sonypictures.com/movies/jerrymaguire [21] According to recent research by PSEA, Mr. Mastriano’s plan as currently conceived is poised to lower UASD’s revenue by approximately $9,930,268, or roughly 33%. This would likely result in significant staffing reductions (perhaps as many as over a hundred individuals), while raising the student-to-teacher ratio drastically (likely by double-digits). To consult an interactive map breaking down this general research on the level of each individual school district in Pennsylvania, see :https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a4981f6cc02c4f50875e0b8c1245bbcf

Adams Invites Applications for $5 Million in Covid Grants

Adams County has been given a Covid relief shot in the arm with a $5 million dollar grant that Commissioner Marty Qually called the “most significant grant program in the county’s history.” The Board of Commissioners approved guidelines for applications for the funds at its monthly yesterday. Before submitting projects for consideration, potential applicants can review the guidelines Oct. 1 to Oct. 23. Applications may be submitted beginning Oct. 24 until the deadline at midnight, Nov. 21. As part of the State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Program from the US Department of the Treasury, the focus of the Adams Response and Recovery Fund (ARRF) will be utility infrastructure improvements and large-scale ($250,000 or more) community development projects. Eligible applicants include municipalities, municipal authorities, economic development organizations, and nonprofit organizations. Partnership projects are encouraged. The Board of Commissioners has established certain project types as ARRF funding priorities, namely those that: Address Covid 19 and its impact on public health and economic harms to households, small businesses, nonprofits, impacted industries, and the public sector. Invest in water and sewer infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water and support vital wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. The county has created an online portal that can be accessed through the County website or at htpps://arcg.is/1m880v. A separate recommendation was approved to accept a nearly $9,000 grant through the PA Department of State to be used for enhancement of security, technology, and administration of elections and to increase poll worker stipends and polling place rental. Commissioner Marty Qually encouraged people to be respectful to those working to administer county elections to create a safe and secure election. Commissioner Randy Phiel commented that the rental increase was necessary to help with the cleaning and maintenance of those places provided for polling. The rental increased from $45 to $100. The judge of Elections stipend doubled to $240. The Majority Inspector stipend increased from $120 to $190; Minority Inspector, from $140 to $210; clerks and constable, from $120 to $190. The board meeting opened with the reading of a proclamation to celebrate National 4-H week, Oct. 2 to 8. Local high school junior, Mikayla Keller, addressed the board, saying 4-H programs foster independence, a sense of belonging, and a spirit of generosity that enables young people to master life’s challenges. Learning by doing, she added, encourages youth to think independently, develop leadership goals and grow to become role models for younger members. More than 1,200 youth aged five to eighteen are enrolled in 4-H Clubs around the county. Members learn about science and rocketry, the natural environment, life, and leadership skills. Prior to reading the proclamation, Commissioner James Martin said that the 4-H is the most extensive youth development program in the nation and something of which to be proud. He added that it depends a great deal on volunteers willing to make a special effort and on the support of parents. Martin reminded those in attendance that the annual auction to benefit Adams County 4-H Clubs would take place Nov. 4 beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Redding Auction Services, 1085 Table Rock Rd., Gettysburg. He encouraged people to donate to the auction, which features new, antique, and handmade items, as well as theme baskets and gift certificates. Addressing the 4-H Club representatives, Commissioner Randy Phiel said 4-H members show the desire and discipline to engage in activities that will help them contribute to their families and the community in the future. “No doubt this will pay dividends not only for your community but for you as well,” he said. Other Board Business The Commission has appointed Isaac Bucher to head a two-year Broadband Community Advisory Task Force to focus on the currently underserved populations in the county. George Mauser will serve as vice-chair. Other members include Gavin Foster, Yeimi Gagliardi, Danijel Lolic, Karl Petrzak, and Megan Shreve, with Commissioner Marty Qually acting  ex-officio. The task force is charged with working in conjunction with staff and any consultants hired to assist in the development of a strategy to address the development and implementation of an affordable countywide broadband network that will ensure equitable and reliable broadband service throughout the county. The board approved a recommendation from Human Resources Director Michele Miller to approve agreements with Capital BlueCross for the support of health insurance benefits for county employees was approved. The board approved a continuation agreement with SBM Electgronics, Inc., of Pittsburg for its Software Assure program to create digital transcripts and a digital record of the Court’s proceedings. Approval was also granted for an agreement with Multi-Health Systems Inc. for the delivery of their service/case management inventory and risk/needs assessments. A recommendation from Children and Youth Services was approved to purchase service agreements with Franklin Family Service, Family Care Services, and CHOR Youth and Family Services. Featured Image: National 4H Week proclamation participants [Judith Cameron Seniura].

Adams County Dems welcome Shapiro

Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro visited Gettysburg Saturday afternoon to rally county Democrats for his campaign to win governorship of Pennsylvania in November. More than 150 supporters filled the new county committee headquarters at 52 Chambersburg Street. Outside the venue, a handful of so-called MAGA supporters mounted a mini demonstration touting State Senator Doug Mastriano, the conservative candidate for the commonwealth’s top administrative post. County Democrat Committee Chair Marcia Wilson said the event had been kept as quiet as possible at the request of the Shapiro campaign to limit possible violence or other interference by Mastriano supporters. “We do not want to call attention to ourselves … not at this moment,” Wilson said while waiting for Shapiro to arrive. “This is our reception for Josh Shapiro.” After brief introductory remarks from Wilson and state representative candidate Marty Qually, Shapiro offered a fiery commentary beginning with, “Our rights and our freedoms are being taken away from us.” Among the changes he hoped to make as governor, he listed better education funding, ending reliance on standardized testing, and increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Shapiro also promised to make the state’s communities safer with “2,000 more police officers on the streets all across Pennsylvania.” He pointed an accusing finger at drug companies which he said had caused the opioid crisis that “kills 15 Pennsylvanians every single day. Drug addiction is a disease and not a crime, and we’re going to treat it that way,” he said. Shapiro said the state’s “next big fight … comes in 52 days and it comes when we defeat Doug Mastriano,” who he characterized as “the most dangerous and extreme person to ever run for governor in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro acknowledge the current conservative composition of the state legislature, noting it likely would “put a bill on the desk of the next governor to take away a woman’s right to choose.” Mastriano would sign the bill into law, Shapiro said. “Let me tell you what I will do,” he said. “I’ll invite you all to Harrisburg (for) a veto signing ceremony.” He encouraged his supporters, describing U.S. history as a series of chapters marked by threats to the nation’s continuance. But, he said, “Every chapter ends with us making forward progress … more freedom.” Qually, of Gettysburg, is making a run to oust Representative Dan Moul, who for the past 15 years has held the District 91 post in the state House of Representatives. “I only run to win,” Qually said. He has run previously in this heavily conservative district, where voter registration in his home county of Adams is weighted about 2-to-1 in favor of Republicans. Moul “still has no record to stand on” after a decade and-a-half in office, Qually said. Of Moul’s recent support of Mastriano, Qually said the Conewago Township native “has always been an extremist. Qually said Moul lacked the courage to act until Mastriano appeared on the political scene to replace then Sen. Rich Alloway, who, in 2019, had announced his resignation from the District 33 seat. “The tide has turned for me,” Qually told the assembly Saturday. “For me the tide was 10 days before the Primary (election in May).” Wilson said the voter numbers appear to be changing as Republicans unhappy with recent party directions become libertarians and independents, and as more liberal voters move to the area from other states. During her opening remarks, Wilson said efforts are underway toward “expanding our committee in the county.” She called for party members’ assistance in encouraging participation among the county’s voters. After the event, she explained most of the committee’s 32 members are from the county’s southern region, centered on Gettysburg and Littlestown, but that the county’s 50 voter precincts are entitled to two committee members each. “That leaves a lot of people who are not represented,” she said. “It’s not going to happen with just one person,” she said of Democrat efforts to win the upcoming gubernatorial and legislative contests. All the contests are scheduled to be decided in the Nov. 8 election. Featured image caption: Gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Shapiro, center, greets some of more than 150 Adams County Democrats who welcomed him to the party’s county headquarters Saturday afternoon. [John Messeder]

Gettysburg deals with speeding, car crashes

Responding to a noticeable increase in the number of car accidents in the borough as well as repeated complaints about speeding vehicles, the Gettysburg Police Department has set up speed check points at several places. “I’m getting a lot of emails about speeding,” said Mayor Rita Frealing. Police Chief Robert Glenny said officers had been assigned to monitor traffic on 4th St. and on W. Middle St. near Hay Ave.  Glenny said there were no citations given during 4 hours of observation on 4th St. but that 9 citations and 2 verbal warnings were given along W. Middle St. in the same time period.   Glenny said speed monitoring would be continuing in the borough. Saying many drivers did not stop at the well-marked crosswalk, councilmember Matt Moon suggested the pedestrian crossing at the corner of Lefever and Baltimore Streets was another area where enforcement would be useful. Glenny said the dept. would continue with targeted enforcement. “We’re limited with our pools,” he said. Glenny said speed enforcement was made using VASCAR or ENRADD techniques, both approved speed timing devices for municipal police. The department is prohibited by state law from using RADAR. “Were’ trying to do things with the tools we have,” said Council President Wes Heyser. In other business, Borough Manager Charles Gable said collected pillow tax revenue in the borough was leveling off, but that parking revenues remained strong. Main St. Gettysburg Executive Directors Jill Sellers said 103 new commemorative bricks will be installed on the square in November.

Wolf announces $21.5 million plan to provide universal free school breakfasts

“It is completely unacceptable for a child to start the day hungry,” said PA Gov. Tom Wolf in a press release on Monday. “I’m taking hunger off the table for Pennsylvania kids by creating the Universal Free Breakfast Program. Regardless of whether or not they qualify for free or reduced meals normally, every student enrolled in public or private schools will have the opportunity to feed their belly before they feed their mind this school year.” The Universal Free Breakfast Program will go into effect on October 1, 2022 and run through the end of the 2022-23 school year. More than 1.7 million Pennsylvania children enrolled in public schools, intermediate units, charter schools, career and technology schools, and child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs will benefit from this state-funded program. The $21.5 million program is funded with prior year funding from the School Food Services General Fund appropriation. Interested schools that do not currently participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs can find information for applying on the Department of Education’s website. “We commend Gov. Wolf and the Administration for their dedication to a hunger-free Pennsylvania. Universal free school breakfast across Pennsylvania helps to ensure every student will start their day with a healthy, nutritious meal,” said School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania Communications Chair Melissa Froehlich. “Research supports that a well-nourished child who starts the day with breakfast is more likely to be at school, has improved concentration and is more willing to participate in the classroom. Universal free breakfast for all students in Pennsylvania will strengthen child nutrition programs and address equity and stigma around school breakfast so that more children will have access to nutritious meals and set our students up for success in the classroom.” From March 2020 through the 2021-22 school year, students were afforded free meals from school as a result of waivers approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For two years, nearly 1 million students have eaten for free each year. Comparing the 2018-19 school year, when free breakfast was not universal, to 2021-22, when school was fully in-person and breakfast was universally free, breakfast consumption increased by nearly 16%. That is 16% of Pennsylvania children that would start their day hungry this year—and that is a number that Gov. Wolf would not accept. “As a parent and grandparent myself, I know that there is nothing more important than our kids,” added Gov. Wolf. “This investment in free school breakfast for all is an investment in a better, healthier, happier life for our kids now and in the years to come.” Senator Lindsey Williams, Senate Educate Committee Chair and advocate for childhood nutrition, commended Gov. Wolf’s Universal School Breakfast Program. “It takes a village to tackle an issue as important and impactful as food security for our children. Keeping students fed, nourished, and ready to learn is vital to their health and education,” said Sen. Williams. “These investments in school meals relieve the pressure on our families as grocery prices rise and ensure that all students can access nutritious food without shame or stigma. I’m grateful for all of the work being done to keep students from going hungry.”

Cumberland Planning Commission recommends rejecting new apartment complex

Over 40 concerned citizens attended last night’s Cumberland Township Planning Commission Meeting. The evening’s topic was a consideration of “The Residence at Willoughby Run”, a proposed 112 apartment unit on 14.5 acres at the corner of Chambersburg Road and Country Club Lane. The site is controversial because it is within the Gettysburg National Military Park’s boundaries and the site of action on the 1st day’s Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Many speakers spoke against the plan. The Planning Commission said it had received 2,900 letters of opposition from a campaign organized by the American Battlefield Trust including 223 from local residents. During an emotional dialogue with the commission, several speakers asked if the complex is “a done deal” and if there is anything they could do to change the outcome. Township solicitor Sam Wiser explained that the panel was reviewing a plan that had been submitted in accordance with zoning ordinances and that there is no freedom for the commission to “call a halt” to the project. Wiser said the Planning Commission’ only authority was to determine whether the plan meets technical criteria. Wiser said a chance for the public to impact the process had been during prior meetings where the zoning and the comprehensive plan had been developed but that those meetings had been poorly attended. After the challenging public comment and questions and answers from the builder, the commission unanimously rejected to deny the request for a waiver to the Board of Supervisors. The commission said the project’s preliminary plan “technically” met the zoning requirements, but that it “doesn’t meet the spirit of the comprehensive plan.” The commission’s recommendation is scheduled to be discussed at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. Planning Commission Chairman Steve Tallman said he is a member of The Cumberland Township Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) which, although it has not met in several years, will consider the issue of the apartment complex in a meeting on Tuesday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. Both the HARB meeting and the Supervisors meeting are open to the public.

Adams County Commissioners Proclaim Suicide Prevention Month, Hispanic Month, and the Heritage Festival

The Adams County Commissioners addressed a serious problem for county residents today as they proclaimed September 2022 as Suicide Prevention Month.   Healthy Adams County Executive Director Kathy Gaskin said that in the past the focus had been on youth, but that there now was a greater need for focus on middle-aged males, who are more likely to be victims of suicide by gunshot. Gaskin said the best way to help someone who may be suicidal is to act. Gaskin said various resources, including emergency chat lines and counselors, are available. Gaskin presented the board with posters offering more information to Adam’s County residents. Commissioner Randy Phiel said suicide was an important topic that many people have experienced firsthand or through others they have known. He pointed out that suicide is traumatic for first responders, family, and friends. The Commissioners also proclaimed September 15 through October 15, 2022 as Hispanic Month and recognized the 31st annual Adams County Heritage Festival which will take place September 18 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Gettysburg Rec Park, 545 Long Lane. Amelia Contreras, Executive Director of Manos Unidas, thanked the board for recognizing the Hispanic community, which represents nearly seven percent of the County’s population. Manos Unidas, created in 2006, is a partnership between the county’s Latino Services Task Force and St. Francis Xavier Church. The center is an all-volunteer community organization that promotes the integration of the growing diverse population in Adams County through programs that facilitate cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. The festival is a celebration of ethnic music, food, and crafts that reflects the multicultural atmosphere of Adams County. It is a way of sharing various traditions that demonstrates a commitment to community and the goal of living together in harmony. Bob Collinge, Secretary of Interfaith Center for Faith and Justice, addressed the board and briefly outlined some of the events that will take the stage at this year’s celebration. Heritage Day is co-sponsored by the YWCA Gettysburg and Adams County. In other board business, recommendations approved by the board included one that will increase the tablet computer ratio to 1 tablet for each prisoner at the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex. Each tablet will have a core education suite installed, provided by Edovo Core Education. The software will provide opportunities for inmates to pursue a general education degree, college-level classes, and technical classes. The County also approved a renewal of the Correctional Complex’s LexisNexis Prison Solution, which gives inmates access to legal resources as required by state statute. Featured image caption: 31st Annual Heritage Day Proclamation. From left, Janet Powers, Irene Powell, Commissioner James Martin, Commissioner Randy Phiel, Bill Collinge, Heritage Day Chair and Nancy Lilley [Judith Cameron Seniura]

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin discusses worldwide move from democracy

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin’s appearance at Gettysburg College drew approximately 100 people, roughly divided between seniors and college students. The event was sponsored by Gettysburg College Jewish Studies. Her topic was “Defending American Democracy: The Midterm Test.”  Rubin started by saying she had enjoyed her battlefield tour earlier in the day, and had just written a column that addressed the battle and its present-day echoes (“The GOP’s Threat to the American idea is nothing new,” Washington Post, September 7, 2022.)  “President Biden spoke of the threat to democracy,” said Rubin, and pointed out that the only thing that makes us Americans is the idea, “not a religion, race, or common nationality.” Rubin said present day MAGA supporters shared with their Confederate predecessors “that they want to redefine America in a way that excludes many Americans. Whether you call them Know nothings, Confederates, believers in the lost cause, or MAGA, there is a feeling that certain people aren’t as American”” She noted part of the movement is a “feeling of dominance, losing out to undeserving others.” And this has effects on who gets to vote, what we teach, and many other issues. “In order to say that some Americans are not as American as you are, you have to assert that your group is without sin. You have to say that the Civil War was about something other than slavery. You have to ignore Jim Crow.’ “To be willing to throw away democracy, you have to believe our way of life is at stake. You have to see it as a ‘Flight 93 moment,’ which is an expression I’ve heard some people use. Because if this is a Flight 93 moment, then extreme tactics are justified. It’s ok to lie, to suppress the vote” Rubin stated that this is increasingly a worldwide movement, setting older, more rural, more religious white, non-college educated people against more urban, more educated, more diverse parts of society. “The solution,” she said, is “practice more democracy.” She cited examples of people who were apathetic about politics and then got involved, most prominently the organization that recently won elections in Kansas. “The notion that politicians are a class apart, that they have some special knowledge” is wrong. Rubin concluded by expressing optimism that the country can come back. She said that the younger generation is more diverse, more tolerant, and less subject to religious prejudices. “It make take 20 years,” she said, “but the millennials are going to save democracy.” In answer to a question about how much she had changed her views, Rubin said, “I’m still a conservative. I still believe in limited government, low taxes, immigration, free trade, and limited regulations. And I’d love to get back to a time we can argue about these issues. But whatever differences I have with the Democratic party, and I think they are still too far to the left, there is only one issue that matters, and that’s survival of democracy. And, right now, there’s only one party that believes in democracy.” The speech was followed by a spirited Q&A session. The two groups of audience members were a study in contrasts, with the seniors asking earnest questions about the political process and the college students asking about careers in journalism and challenging Rubin from the left, right, and various other directions. Rubin particularly seemed to relish the questions that started with, “I think I disagree with everything you said,” invariably answering, “Great!” In answer to a question about press bias, she said the press is extremely fragmented. “The largest network is Fox, and there are many outlets. I don’t think it’s right to describe the media as liberal.” Two problems she perceived, she said, were that there are so many choices that people can choose the news they like and are never exposed to contrary views. The other problem is that reporters are conditioned to treat both parties as “normal,” equally opposing views from the center. After the event, the students lined up for a short conversation with Rubin. The event sponsor, the Jewish Center, had arranged to have an autographed copy of Rubin’s newest book, Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump“ for each student in attendance.

Gettysburg Police Dept. faces staffing, diversity challenges

Editor’s note: The is the third of a four-part series about the Gettysburg Police Department.  I thank Chief Robert Glenny and Mayor Rita Frealing for generously spending time talking with me. We value your comments — please leave them below. The Gettysburg Police Department, currently staffed with 11 full-time employees, is facing potential staff shortages in the near future in its quest to keep positions filled and create gender and ethnic diversity in the department. “The current recruitment environment is difficult,” said Chief Robert Glenny. “There are fewer and fewer applications and more and more openings. The number of qualified candidates for law enforcement positions has steadily declined, the pass rate for police academies is down, and the vetting required for hiring new officers is more stringent.” Glenny said in the last round of recruiting there was only one applicant for the posted vacancy, whereas in the past the department used to get dozens. “Officer Eric Wenrick was our most recent hire. It’s hard to get people to apply.  We are so lucky to have him.” Glenny said identifying candidates to fill vacancies is a time-consuming process. “We only get the applications we get. For the last civil service opening we advertised on the PA Police Chiefs website and also nationally at https://www.discoverpolicing.org/. We looked locally, and we also paid to have the ad sent out to sites that specialize in jobs for minorities.” Glenny said the current hiring policies only allow the department to hire people who are already certified as police officers. “These are predominately those folks who put themselves through the police academy,” said Glenny. “They are predominately white males in their 20s.” Glenny said there were several police training academies in the state, with staff appointed by the governor. “You have to go through one of these or else be certified from out of state.” Glenny said the state would reimburse people 50 percent or more to send people to one of the state’s police academies if the borough paid the rest. “It’s not inexpensive,” he said. “You have to pay the salary of the person you’re sending as well as their benefits. We would increase our applicant pool if we paid for it. That would be an opportunity to get some local folks onto the police department.” Hiring for full-time positions in the police department is coordinated by the borough’s Civil Service Commission.  “We have very little involvement; the borough determines who can take the test,” said Glenny. When a hire is needed, the borough posts an announcement and those who apply come to take the certification test as well as a physical and psychological interview. Glenny said after the interviews the civil commission presents the chief with a list of acceptable candidates. The chief can select any one of the top three on the list, but is required to hire a veteran if one is available. “Part-time, we can hire pretty much whomever we want,” said Glenny.  “Everyone since I’ve been here has had a significant background investigation. We did this even before the state required it.”  Glenny said part-time hires completed the same tests as full-time hires. Police Force Diversity Glenny said that at present all the department’s full-time officers are white males, but that there had been female and minority officers in the past, with the last leaving about 18 months ago. Heyser said he knew of three past female officers: Cytha Grissom, Katherine Sass, and Brandi Courtesis. Grissom recently retired as Chief of the Shippensburg University Police Department. Mayor Rita Frealing said there had also been one or more African American officers on the force, including Roosevelt Sistrunk who retired in the late 1990s. Frealing said there was a photo of Sistrunk in the new African American Museum at the Gettysburg Lutheran seminary. Borough Secretary Sara Stull said records showed the borough had hired about 15 female officers over the past 30 years, as well as 4 males who were not of white ethnicity. “We don’t have anyone who speaks fluent Spanish. Officers can take a course on Spanish for officers; we use the [translation] app on the phone. It would be beneficial for us to have a Spanish speaker on board,” said Glenny. Echoing Glenny’s expressed desire for the borough to help pay for certification, Borough Council President Wes Heyser said “A change that the borough and civil service commission need to start to prioritize is hiring personnel who are not trained and sending them to the academy. While this is coming up due to the recurring unavailability of trained personnel, a benefit of this method is that it should offer more opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds to join our police department.” Stull said the department follows civil service regulations and that anyone can apply. “We send our announcements to diversity agencies; unfortunately those sectors don’t apply.” “It’s a dangerous position.  Especially for people with small families and children – it’s a risk.  I’m grateful to them,” she said.

County Commissioners declare September as Hunger Action Month

Saying hunger and poverty are issues of vital concern in Adams County where 8.2% of people are food insecure and one in every nine children do not know where their next meal will come from, the Adams County Commissioners declared Sept. 2022 as Hunger Action Month. The Commissioners thanked the work of the Adams County Food Policy Council for their work combating hunger and providing additional resources for those in the community. The commissioners also thanked the work of South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP) and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank for the roles they play in educating people about the importance of food banks to address hunger, raising awareness of the need to devote more resources and attention to hunger issues, and creating food opportunities for citizens in need.

Gettysburg revisits signage, outdoor toilet, and other ordinances

The Gettysburg Borough Council is revisiting and potentially revising several local ordinances and will get public comment during the decision-making process. The borough will consider one or more ordinances that explicitly require each street address and apartment unit to have its own utility hookups. The goal is to prevent people from sharing water, electric, sewer, cable, trash, and other utilities. The ordinance will be drafted with input from Police Chief Robert Glenny and Solicitor Harry Eastman and considered at a future meeting. The proposed ordinances will also regulate inappropriate placing of trash in other people’s trash receptacles and using public trash cans for private waste. The borough is also updating its sign ordinance, considering questions about signage and painting on and around buildings. The borough debated the frequent use of sandwich board signs that are placed on the sidewalks in front of businesses, and which frequently block passage of pedestrians. Current ADA requirements call of for a minimum of 48” of pedestrian space on the sidewalk.  The council considered potential policies ranging from banning all such signs to requiring signs to be within 3 feet of buildings, to revising the ordinance to make rules clearer to business owners. The council also considered rules about off-premises signs and the use of tree wells to display flags, banners, and advertisements. The borough will also review its fire codes and their enforcement. Also discussed was the use of portable toilets in the borough. The borough said there are many portable restrooms in the borough, especially in the back of buildings along Steinwehr Ave. Although the Gettysburg Municipal Authority has encouraged the borough to disallow portable toilets for safety reasons, existing toilets are being heavily used. “I see a great need for porta-potties along Steinwehr Ave.,” said council member Judie Butterfield, “Right now they are a necessity. People routinely thank businesses for them.” The police department has created a new rank of Master Sergeant and will recruit from its current sergeants to fill one slot. Police Department Sergeants receive a 6.5% salary increase over the base salary, and the Master Sergeant will receive 7.5% over base. The Master Sergeant will be authorized to fill in if the chief of police is absent or incapacitated. The borough will also consider how they handle personnel complaints.  Currently, complaints about the operation of the borough are sent to either the borough manager, the mayor, or the chief of police and are not necessarily shared with council. A proposed solution would be to require monthly reporting to the councilmembers about complaints. Main Street Gettyburg President Jill Sellers said her organization was applying for a Dept. of Community and Economic Development grant for another round of funding to support exteriors of local businesses.  If obtained, the $50,000 award would allow up to $100,000 spending for façade-related upgrades. Businesses can apply now for up to $5,000 in support to maintain and improve windows, siding, and other parts of building facades.  The program will not incur any costs to the borough.

Gettysburg council members urge public to support local radar law

Responding to complaints of speeding from a resident who lives on N. 4th St., the members of the Gettysburg Borough Council urged residents to contact their local state representatives to pass a bill that would authorize local police to use radar for speed enforcement. Pennsylvania is the only state that does not allow local radar although it is routinely used by State Police on State highways. Police forces from around the state have expressed support for the bill arguing they are constrained in their ability to monitor speeding in local residential zones and roads where accidents are likely. If passed, the bill would limit the amount of funds a municipality can receive from traffic tickets and require officers to receive training in using radar technology. The bill was passed by the state senate in June on a 49 to 1 vote, and is now under consideration by the state house transportation committee. The borough encouraged residents to contact representative Dan Moul and senator Doug Mastriano and ask them to support the bill. Police Chief Robert Glenny said the bill is “much closer now” to passing than it ever has been but that the final outcome was uncertain. If the bill does not pass this session it will have to start over again after the first of the year.

GARA will raise fees for most rec park rentals

Citing the need to increase salaries for staff members, the Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) Board of Directors approved fee increases for most of its rentals, starting in 2023. Executive Director Erin Peddigree said rental fees for the assembly room will increase from $50 to $60 per hour with a minimum of 2 hours and that using the kitchen would now be a flat fee of $100. Fees for the meeting room in the Sterner Building will increase by $5 per hour, and there will also be increases for use of the baseball and softball fields. Pavilion rental fees will not change. The board said it was considering different options to bring salaries for current and incoming employees to meet current standards. The board also approved a nondiscrimination policy which they had not had previously. Peddigree said she expected monthly equipment expenses to decrease as a result of the recent purchase of new equipment. GARA considered an informal proposal from the Adams County Farmers Market to jointly apply for grant funding to rebuild the park’s Youth Activity Building or potentially create a replacement structure.  If funds became available the building could be used by the farmers market as well as GARA, potentially as a senior center or for other uses. Peddigree said plans were moving forward for the installation of a bicycle repair station in the rec park. Peddigree said about 120 children were now playing football, and that Soccer Shots and Flag Football teams were also active. The board said it was moving forward on fall activities including a potential Halloween “Trick or Treat Trail” and showing movies in the park.

Adams County Commissioners honor Children and Youth Services employees

David James, Esq. Was honored for 45 years of service to the children of Adams County as Guardian Ad Litem at the meeting of the Adams County Board of Commissioners yesterday. Commenting briefly to thank the Board, James said he missed working with kids, but would gladly exchange his formal suit for golf shirts and slacks for the rest of his natural life. He spoke passionately about helping children and praised those present for their work with the Adams County Children and Youth Services taking care of children “who have nothing, or less than nothing.”  Also honored for her service with Children and Youth Services was Teresa Polvinale, who has dedicated 20 years of service as a program specialist. The ACCYS director, Sarah Finkey, thanked both for their years of dedication and service. In other commission business, Casey Darling-Horan, MSW, County Administrator for the York/Adams Mental Health–Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Program, presented information regarding the 2022-2023 Human Services Development Fund Block Grant Program. The program provides services to about 15,000 clients throughout the two counties who need support and assistance with services for developmental delays. Commissioner Jim Martin said he was expecting the funding to increase, reflecting the growing mental health needs in PA. Darling-Horan said the program has been flat-funded, indicating no increase, for the past 11 years. She added that it might mean “looking at how we prioritize need” in the future. Other Business *The Multi-County Broadband Feasibility Study will be going ahead without Cumberland County. The Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement with Franklin County to provide more equitable internet availability in underserved areas of both counties. Design Nine, Inc was recently awarded the contract for the Multi-County Broadband Feasibility Study for about $100,000. Franklin County will bear half the cost of the study.  Design Nine, Inc., a Virginia based company, has worked with several PA counties, seeking to improve broadband service, rural areas. *A recommendation to approve an agreement for housing Adams County juvenile detainees and emergency placements at the York County Youth Development Center was heard from Sara Finkey, Administrator of Adams County Children and Youth Services. The rate of housing is $375 per diem. *The Board of Commissioners approved a recommendation from Angie Crouse, director of the elections and voter registration to apply for funds from the Election Integrity Grant Program, which would provide more than $365,000 to Adams County for eligible election costs. Senate Bill 982 was signed into law July to allow counties to adopt to security and personnel requirements. *The Department of Emergency Services will receive improved network infrastructure for its 911 Computer-aided Dispatch from Appalachia Technologies, LLC, of Mechanicsburg, PA. The company will provide technical support outside of regular business hours at a cost to the county of $32,857.80 Featured Image Caption: Lifelong Gettysburg resident, David James was recognized for 45 years of service to the Adams County Children and Youth Services. Front row, from left, Commissioner Jim Martin. Commissioner Randy Phiel, David James, Esq and Commissioner Marty Qually. [Judith Cameron Seniura]

Proposed Cumberland apartment complex delayed again

For the second time this summer, the proposed apartment complex, “Residence at Willoughby Run”, must wait another month for a recommendation from the Cumberland Township Planning Commission. At the commission’s Thursday meeting, Bob Sharrah of KPI, representing the owner, presented updated plans for the 112 rental units slated for the site of the former Gettysburg Country Club at Rt. 30 and Country Club Lane. The site plans for 8 buildings had been revised after questions and comments were made at the Planning Commission meeting in June. For example, the previously required solid wood fence is now replaced with a vegetative buffer.   Eleven neighbors expressed objections to the project, most citing the increased traffic. One suggested that neighbors could buy back the property that cost owners Trone Rental Company $800,000 in 2020. The complex borders the Gettysburg National Military Park, and several speakers cited the historic significance of the 14.5 acre property, which lies within the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District. Vice-Chairman Steve Tallman explained that the Planning Commission is a recommending body only and that the Board of Supervisors makes the final decision after a public hearing to be scheduled. The Commissioners listened closely to strongly felt testimony and pleaded for understanding of the constraints on the Planning Commission. As Commissioner Barb Underwood said, “We’re your neighbors too but we must follow regulations.” Mr. Tallman concluded “We’re missing important documentation,” and members agreed to take no action and make no recommendations at this time. The Planning Commission cannot postpone recommendations past their next meeting on Sept. 8, 2022. The Board of Supervisors must take some action by their meeting on Sept 27. Supervisors are legally able to extend that deadline if they think it is necessary.

Notes from Gettysburg Borough

In addition to meeting with the borough’s trash removal contractor, WM, the following issues were considered at Monday’s Gettysburg Borough Council Meeting: The next electronic device recycling event will be held on Sep. 17. Please register here or call 717.337.0424 before Sep. 16 to preregister. The Robert C. Hoffman Foundation has awarded a $12,000 grant toward the new $1.5 million welcome center on Baltimore St. According to Main St. Gettysburg Executive Director Jill Sellers, initial design drawing have already been made. “They look fantastic; it’s going to be a wonderful place for the community,” said Sellers. Paving on Wolf Alley is completed.  Shealer Alley will be paved later in the year. Routine maintenance on Stevens Run near Gettysburg College has been completed. Traffic and parking lane lines and symbols will be painted in borough streets in the next weeks. Many signs are being replaced in the borough. Police Chief Robert Glenny said there were 17 vehicle crashes in the borough in July, when a normal month would expect about 10. “They seem to be creeping up,” said Glenny. ““There’s no one common denominator. They seem to be across the board at all different times and locations. I’m watching it.” The PA State Association of Boroughs will meet Oct. 14 through 16 at the Wyndam Hotel in Gettysburg. Borough Manager Charles Gable said borough revenues had exceeded expenditures so far this year.  “We’re in a good financial position,” he said.

Gettysburg Borough expresses trash frustrations to WM

Members of the Gettysburg Borough Council told representatives of its trash removal contractor WM on Monday evening that the company was not fulfilling its contract with the borough and that they were considering moving on with a new bid for services. The borough said WM had failed to provide receptacles in a timely manner, had failed on many occasions to pick up trash in public spaces and at residential addresses, and had not communicated with the borough and residents in a timely and accurate manner. “We’re told things and then they don’t occur,” said Council President Wes Heyser. Although the WM contract requires they be emptied on a daily basis (excluding Sundays), Heyser showed photos indicating that the receptacles around Lincoln Square had not been emptied on many dates and board member Chad-Alan Carr said receptacles in the square sometimes sat for five days without being emptied. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been lied to,” said Heyser. “We sell a tourism product. If we as a government fail to hold you accountable to this contract what we are really doing is shortchanging our residents and all of our business owners.” Heyser said the borough was frustrated due to the amount of time staff had spent dealing with the issues and that the problems did not seem to be going away. Carr and council member Judie Butterfield both said many residents had given up calling WM because of extended hold times and disconnections. Moon said the problems have been consistent.  “This has been a difficult relationship since before the jumping off point ” he said. WM said they had been hampered because the initial list of households they received from the borough was incomplete, but acknowledged some difficulties, saying they had had some customer service failures and were attempting to rectify them. WM said they were having supply chain issues and staffing issues due to Covid and that some drivers might not be familiar with the area.  “We acknowledge there have been some missed pickups, especially in the beginning due to residents not having their accounts set up,” said a WM representative. Board member Matt Moon said the staff had spent an “absurd” number of hours trying to get the situation resolved and that they borough was still not seeing the contract met. WM Asked for an opportunity to correct the issues and said they were “in a position to do better.” “If you folks can wrap this up in a way that it is restored to what it should be, that is the best possible outcome,” said Heyser. “If you’re unable to do so we’re going to move on.”

Cumberland water tower project denied

The Cumberland Township Supervisors unanimously denied tonight a request from the Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA) for a zoning change that would have allowed them to build a 170-foot tall water tower at the corner of Herr’s Ridge Road and Red Oak Lane. The hearing room was full of interested parties and after GMA presented their plan to create a “safe, adequate and reliable” system, about 30 speakers opposed the proposal. Gettysburg National Military Park Director Stephen Sims referenced an 18-page letter from the park and pointed out that the height amendment violated the township’s Comprehensive Plan. Representatives of the Gettysburg Foundation, the Civil War Round Table, and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) all spoke up supporting a no vote. The NPCA representative introduced 4,000 signatures opposing the project that had been gathered online by American Battlefield Trust and NPCA. An informal advocacy group of neighbors presented 87 signatures from residents who did not want the tower and said another 158 had been gathered on Change.org. GMA had requested an amendment to the zoning ordinance to change the current 35- foot maximum height to 175 feet for essential services. The meeting was the last step in the township’s decision-making on the proposal. The supervisors had previously received a document from the Adams County Office of Planning which called the height “arbitrary” and from the Cumberland Township Planning Commission, which had unanimously recommended denial.

Farmers Market will host Civic Engagement Day on July 30

The Adams County Farmers Market will hold its first ever Civic Engagement Day on Saturday, July 30, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Farmers Market Site at 108 N. Stratton St., Gettysburg. Civic Engagement Day is a chance to meet some of your local elected officials, learn about important municipal services, and find out more about how your local government works at the same time you are shopping for delicious and healthy foods. Gettysburg Borough representatives will be available for conversation and questions. Scheduled to appear are representatives from Main Street Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Police Department, as well as Mayor Rita Frealing, and Council President Wes Heyser. There will also be interactive kid’s games, information about the Baltimore Street project, and signups for the September e-cycling event. Please come out and get to know your community even better than you do now. Participants hope this event serves as a reminder that there is far more that unites us than divides us. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” – Abraham Lincoln

Apple tree mural at Gettysburg rec park damaged; July 4 fireworks a big success

The ceramic tile mural on the back wall of the amphitheater at the Gettysburg rec park, which has been in place for about 25 years, has been damaged.  Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) staff said tiles on the mural had been loosened by a moisture leak in the structure. A few have fallen off, but the park staff has recovered them. GARA Board President Steve Niebler said the mural, of an apple tree with sprawling branches, was created in 1993 as a project in which senior citizens worked together to create the tiles and affix them to the wall. Niebler said local ceramicist Lyn King led the project. GARA is checking with the Optimist Club, which sponsors the amphitheater, hoping for a quick fix. “It’s held up really well for probably 25 years,” said Niebler. “But there’s no point repairing the mural until the wall behind it is fixed.” Peddigree said the July 4 fireworks event had been a success, drawing an estimated 5,000 attendees. Peddigree said the fields were filled and there were also many people watching from the nearby Colt Park subdivision and on W. Confederate Ave. in the Gettysburg National Military Park. Peddigree said among the raffle, parking fees, and food truck rentals, the event had brought in about $20,000, and that half of that would go to GARA. Responding to comments from the public, GARA is planning next year to have more kid’s activities and potentially more food trucks. “We didn’t have any major issues,” said Peddigree. GARA is looking for maintenance staff to replace several workers who are retiring.  Niebler said having a full time 10-12 months annual position would be best, and that the compensation should include benefits. GARA said it would likely raise the compensation of existing employees as well as the new hires. Peddigree said GARA is coming to an agreement with the Adams County Farmers Market to move into the area around the Sterner building, probably in 2023. The park is receiving a lot of use this summer, including sports, special events, an upcoming show at the skate park, and regular visits of the bloodmobile.

Cumberland Township Planning Commission votes against water tower project

The Cumberland Township Planning Commission voted unanimously last evening against a request from the Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA) for a zoning change that would have allowed a 170-foot-tall water tower off Fairfield Rd. The planning commission’s vote is advisory to the township supervisors who will make the final decision. A standing-room only crowd of about sixty citizens appeared at the hearing with dozens speaking against the project and only one in favor.  The crowd broke out in applause when the decision was announced. The commission said they had received letters of opposition from national history-oriented groups including the American Battlefield Trust, The National Parks Conservation Association, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Preservation Pennsylvania. Deputy Superintendent Kristina Heister said the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower Park had also weighed in against the proposal. Gettysburg Foundation President Wayne Motts echoed the same sentiments. The proposed zoning change would have allowed “essential” structures of up to 175 feet high in the township’s residential zones. The current maximum height is 35 feet. A letter from the Adams County Office of Planning had previously called the 175- foot height “arbitrary” and cautioned that the township should “prevent any type of essential service from standing out to a large degree from the existing landscape or disturbing the visual integrity of the battlefield landscape.” Bret Shaffer, an attorney for the Red Oak Lane advocacy group which opposed the tower, introduced an engineer’s report offering an alternative to the proposed elevated tower using a ground storage tank and pumps, and other speakers also explored alternate possibilities. The advocacy group has collected 87 signatures from Cumberland Township residents who opposed the tower. A second petition at Change.org had 105 signatures. The township supervisors will consider the proposal at a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday July 26 at the Cumberland Township Municipal Building at 1370 Fairfield Road. Written comments can be sent to the Board of Supervisors at that address.

Cumberland Township Police Department report finds many deficiencies and encourages changes

A Police Department Operations Assessment Report, commissioned by Cumberland Township and prepared by Ron Camacho from Camacho Consulting and published in May underscores the many difficulties the Cumberland Township Police Department has faced during the past years. The tide has hopefully turned with the recent appointment of Matthew Trostel as the new police chief, but the report says there are substantial steps that should be taken going forward. The report noted that the recent departure of Don Boehs who had served as Chief of Police for 16 years as well as other senior officers created “a path toward strengthening the organization.” The report described the current officers as “dedicated public servants who desire that the department overcome past deficiencies. The supervisors support the department and want to see it return to its previous levels of proactivity.” The report said the township supervisors had expressed concern about what they saw as “significant lapses in leadership in the department including the use of township resources, time, and authority of office to engage in political activity, a failure to consistently administer policies, and a minimization of complaints from the public.” Going forward, the report recommended the commissioners hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings with the chief, the township manager, and at least one of the members of the department supervisory staff to ensure they are thoroughly briefed on police department operations. “This committee’s complexion will promote an atmosphere of cooperation and accountability, as directives and information are conveyed to more than one supervisory employee.” said the report. The report also recommended the supervisors review the performance of the chief of police through a regular and formal performance evaluation. The report said each of the officers interviewed described former police chief Boehs as a “nice guy” but also blamed him for the department’s morale and leadership issues. According to the report, officers said Boehs would often “blame the board for decisions that did not go his way.” The report suggests the supervisors develop a way by which concerns regarding the chief of police can be brought to their attention, for instance by having union shop stewards can bring concerns to them. In terms of staffing, the report recommended the board, in conjunction with the chief of police, decide on the number of officers the department needs to operate effectively. The report recommended the use of scheduling software to reduce the administrative burden as well as reporting software that would streamline reporting police events to the public. In terms of training, the report recommended the department develop a mandatory list of classes that all new officers should attend and should continuously require leaders to improve their management and supervisory skills through conferences and additional training. The report said the officers were uniformly behind Trostel as the new chief of police. In terms of potentially combining with the Gettysburg Police Department, the report said the officers were against the idea and suggested it should not happen at this time. The report also recommended adding a civilian administrative position to free up time for the chief police to plan, direct, and lead the operations of the department. In terms of infrastructure, the report said the police section of the township building was “cramped, outdated, and problematic in sustaining the eventual growth of the department and township.” The report encouraged the board to develop a long-term plan to improve the infrastructure of the police department through grants and other government funds. Saying existing procedures for storing physical evidence are “grossly inadequate,” including being unsecured and not climate-controlled, the report said an officer should be trained to serve as a backup evidence custodian when the acting detective sergeant is unavailable. The report concluded by saying “the focus must shift from prior leadership failures within the department to improving the personnel and physical infrastructure of the department. With elected officials and employees willing to tackle the challenges, the momentum of department improvements realized over the last few months will serve as a springboard for a reinvigorated organization.”

Gettysburg may break its trash contract with WM

Only 3 months into its new trash collection contract with Waste Management (WM), so many problems have developed that the borough is considering canceling its contract. “I feel very comfortable we can prove they have not been responsive and responsible to our residents’ needs,” said Borough Council President Wesley Heyser. Heyser said in addition to big problems such as the failure to deliver large-scale trash compactors to deal with street trash created on Steinwehr Ave. and Lincoln Square, there was also a “laundry list of residential problems” where WM had not fulfilled its contract. Council member Chad-Alan-Carr said WM had been given many opportunities to fix the problems but had not. “We’ve given them very specific instructions:  ‘This is what you are not doing. This is the evidence you’re not doing it. Please do it.’  And they still failed. I have heard too many of our residents complain.” Heyser said WM had failed to collect street trash. “By contract the street cans are to be emptied on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” he said. Heyser said he had seen on Saturday mornings that the waste cans around the square were still full. “There has been a massive amount of private citizen failures,” said Heyser. “We still have people where they aren’t taking their recycling. Everyone who has residential service is doing their part.  They’re paying their bill; they’re putting their waste out; but WM isn’t doing their job.” Heyser said that unless things changed quickly the borough would terminate the contract.  He was unsure if the borough would have to rebid the contract or if it could take the second-ranked bid. “The easiest resolution would be for WM to do what they are supposed to do. But they’re not taking adequate steps to fix things,” he said. Heyser said there was a probability the borough would be sued if they broke the contract, but that he was willing to take the risk. “This is so critical to the basic operation of the community.  It’s something worth going to the mat for – that people get the services they pay for.”

Gettysburg Borough finishes up on South and High St. construction projects

The Gettysburg Borough Council heard a report from members of the Gettysburg branch of the American Exchange Project (AEP) on Monday evening.  The project sends high school seniors from around the country on visits to other cities that are different from their own for one or two weeks over the summer. Gettysburg High School chemistry teacher Kristen Bechtel introduced the visiting student from Sioux Falls South Dakota and two Gettysburg students in the program also spoke.  Each expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities to learn about different places. Public Works Director Robert Harbaugh said two big improvement projects – on South St. and on and around High St. are wrapping up. Harbaugh said there were only a few more things to finish up on the two projects. Borough Engineer Chad Clabaugh said the South St. project “was one of our more difficult designs.” The borough reported that repairs on Culp’s Run were underway and that major work on Steven’s Run in the borough was in store. The borough said 68 percent of the walls of Stevens Run need to be replaced. Police Chief Robert Glenny said the department had been busy in May with another shooting and a lockdown at Gettysburg Hospital. Glenny praised his staff and other responders for quickly apprehending a suspect in the shooting. Glenny said that in response to a right to know request a .pdf file containing a (somewhat redacted) version of police policies was available to the public on the borough website. Borough Manager Charles Gable said almost 100 percent of real estate taxes had already been collected and that the borough “stands to be in a fairly healthy financial situation.” Darren Glass has been appointed to the Zoning Hearing Board to serve the remainder of Larry Weikert’s term through Jan. 2025. Paul Witt was appointed to the Historical Architecture Review Board to replace James McCabe through August 2024. Main Street Gettysburg Executive Officer Jill Sellers thanked Keller Williams for helping the borough with a cleanup day. “They got down and dirty on behalf of the historic district,” she said. Sellers said volunteers were needed at the David Wills House.

Gettysburg rec park draws many spring visitors

“The park looks great, everything is just packed – there are people everywhere,” said Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) board member Jimmy Phelps responding to the recent heavy use of the Gettysburg rec park. Board members said they could not recall a time in the last few years where all 5 baseball fields have been used this consistently. “Baseball is all year now,” said GARA Executive Director Erin Peddigree. Peddigree said scheduling all 15 baseball teams had been difficult. In the coming months the board will consider ways to problem solve the growth in the programs by considering options like portable pitchers’ mounds and multiple length field conversions. “We have a lot of shimmying and shaking,” said Peddigree. To keep up with caring for the park’s 53 acres which currently need to be mowed three times per week, GARA recently purchased a zero-turn mower and a bush trimmer. The board is also hoping to purchase a tractor for snow plowing, a work “gator” truck, and a golf cart. The purchases have been made with Covid-related funds from Gettysburg Borough. Peddigree said many local schools from the area have been renting the pavilions and tour buses have also been using the park. Weekend baseball and softball tournaments and events area also popular. GARA continues to look for grant money to update the baseball fields. Peddigree said Little League has a 10 year contract with the rec park that expires in 2025. “It’s great to see kids playing baseball again, it’s fun to come out here and see the parks so busy. It’s important to make sure that all the kids can get out there and play, having time for all of the kids to practice,” said board member Robin Fitzpatrick. Peddigree said the Adams County Library Fun Fest was returning to the park on June 10, a Juneteenth celebration will be held on June 19, and July 4 preparations were continuing. Peddigree said there was over $168,000 in savings. “Budget-wise we’re doing OK,” she said.

Adams moves forward on plans to increase internet speeds

man operating laptop on top of table

Adams county has partnered with Franklin and Cumberland counties to commission a large-scale high-speed internet access (“broadband”) feasibility study.   The need is critical as a recent state report said 28 percent of households in Adams County had unacceptably slow internet connection speeds, and that rural counties were particularly hard hit. Adams County Board of Commissioners President Randy Phiel said the inter-county cooperation would save money. “I’m happy we were able to get 3 counties to come together. It’s a good thing,” he said. Commissioner Jim Martin said Adams got into the broadband game early. “I hope it continues to do well. We’re going this way because no private corporation has stepped in,” he said. Commissioner Marty Qually said millions of dollars were being directed into broadband across the country and that there were plenty of opportunities coming forward for state funding. “This is a good step forward. We don’t want to be behind.” Qually said they county had received 5 bids for executing the study, which would define the nature of internet problems and propose solutions” Qually said the bids are in the $100,000—$200,000 range and will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.  Adams will only pay 1/3 of the cost. Phiel said the proposals would be carefully reviewed and the county did not have to go with the lowest bid. Qually said the study, which might take up to six months to complete, would consider the cost/benefit ratios of using different technologies to increase internet access speeds. “This will differ on where someone is in the county,” he said. County Solicitor Molly Mudd said the slow internet speeds affected the county’s productivity and that a goal was to deliver to businesses and individuals what they need to get work done. Commissioners from the three counties will meet to review the proposals and pick one of the five proposed bids.  “Without the study we can’t apply for the actual cost of doing any work. We have to show a need,” said Qually.

Pa. primary 2022: Doug Mastriano wins GOP nomination for governor, will face Democrat Josh Shapiro

Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — Doug Mastriano is the projected winner of Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for governor, defeating a crowded field in a high-stakes race that will shape the state’s future. Unofficial election results show Mastriano, a state senator from Franklin County, with 43% of the vote as of Tuesday at 10 p.m. The Associated Press called the race with an estimated 50% of the votes counted. In November, Mastriano will face Democrat Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s current attorney general who faced no opposition from members of his party. Mastriano emerged from a crowded GOP field of nine candidates who have spent the past several months crisscrossing the state to rally support among party elites and the rank-and-file alike. In the leadup to May 17, establishment Republicans attempted to stop Mastriano from winning, fearful that his rhetoric would drive away moderates in the general election. Two candidates dropped out and endorsed former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R., Pa.), who often placed second in the polls. Other top contenders, such as former U.S. prosecutor Bill McSwain and Delaware County business owner Dave White, resisted calls to back down. At stake in November is the governor’s mansion, open because incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is term-limited from running again. As the state’s chief executive, the next governor will have the power to sign into law — or block — changes regarding marijuana, voting rights, property taxes, and abortion. The governor also presents a spending plan each year that proposes how billions in tax dollars are used, directs state agencies to take far-reaching regulatory actions on the environment and public health, and oversees tens of thousands of state employees, from public benefits caseworkers to correctional officers. A bombastic speaker who sprinkles his stump speeches with historical and Biblical references, Mastriano, a retired Army colonel and Gulf War veteran, is a favorite among grassroots conservatives and evangelicals. He appeared at or near the top of polls before the primary, despite raising just $1.6 million since the start of 2021 — near the bottom of the nine-person GOP field. Much of that total came from small individual donations, while potato roll magnate Jim Martin gave more than $100,000. First elected to the state Senate in a 2019 special election, Mastriano started his time in Harrisburg as a conservative backbencher, best known for sharing Islamophobic memes on his campaign Facebook account and sponsoring a six-week abortion ban. His profile began its meteoric rise in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world. At first, he appeared somewhat supportive of mitigation efforts — even proposing legislation that would let public health officials release the names of people who tested positive for the coronavirus. But after a few weeks of lockdowns — ordered by the Wolf administration to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed — Mastriano began railing against Wolf in daily Facebook videos and later at Capitol rallies opposing the pandemic response. Those videos and events earned him a dedicated fandom that, by the summer of 2020, was calling for him to run for governor. At first, Mastriano downplayed his ambitions, telling two evangelical podcasters with ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory that he’d only run if he received “God’s calling, the people … compel us to go forth, and we have the resources.” In since-deleted tweets, Mastriano used QAnon phrases, and was twice scheduled to appear at a conference with the podcasters. He backed out in 2021 after news reports highlighted the event’s ties to the conspiracy theory, which claims that global elites and Democrats engage in Satanic behavior, but he appeared at an event organized by the podcasters last month. Mastriano has also played a leading role in echoing former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. After the November 2020 presidential contest, Mastriano conflated mail ballot totals from the primary and general elections to falsely claim more had been returned than requested. He also claimed it was “mathematically impossible that three out of four ballots would go for one person” when mail ballots, disproportionately requested by Democrats, began to be tallied. Mastriano has won his own legislative elections by similar margins. To amplify these claims as well as Trump’s false allegations of widespread voter fraud, Mastriano hosted a taxpayer-funded meeting at a Gettysburg hotel marked by “mostly false, misleading, and mistaken testimony,” according to an analysis of the testimony by The Caucus. Mastriano’s fight to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win culminated on Jan. 6, 2021, when he booked buses to bring supporters to Washington, D.C. for the Trump rally that preceded the insurrection. At the time, Mastriano claimed he didn’t cross police lines or enter the U.S. Capitol, but video later emerged that showed him moving with the mob past those barriers. He has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6, which said in February that Mastriano “was part of a plan to arrange for an ‘alternate’ slate of electors from Pennsylvania for former President Trump and reportedly spoke with President Trump about post-election activities.” Overall, Mastriano has pushed back on any questions about his past actions or who he associates with, part of his broader antipathy to the mainstream press. “I resent the fact that you want to castigate anyone who went down to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 as some kind of enemy of the public,” Mastriano said in an interview with the conservative-leaning Delaware Valley Journal this month. “That is dangerous. You’re talking like an East German there.” Since Jan. 6, Mastriano has continued to focus on unproven election fraud. He was originally tapped to lead the state Senate’s investigation into the 2020 election but feuded with Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) over the scope, direction, and speed of the effort. In response, Corman removed Mastriano from his leadership role and gave it to a colleague. Along with his Trumpian election rhetoric, Mastriano has proposed bills that would repeal no-excuse mail voting — which he voted for in 2019 — ban vaccine mandates, and regulate social media companies. He also supports banning on abortion with no exceptions, as well as expanding natural gas drilling and access to private schools and charter schools using taxpayer funds. He has promised that as governor he would issue executive orders on his first day in office to ban “critical race theory” — a concept often taught in law schools that has become a catchall term for curriculum on racism — and to bar trans women from playing women’s sports. He has also suggested he would deploy the Pennsylvania National Guard to Philadelphia to fight crime “as a last recourse.” Shapiro, who has held elected office at the local or state level for the past two decades, ran unopposed in this year’s primary. Long considered a rising star in Pennsylvania’s Democratic circles, Shapiro has campaigned on his record of tackling corporate corruption, advancing LGBTQ-friendly policies, and championing abortion rights and voter and worker protections. As attorney general, he made international headlines in 2018 when his office released a scathing grand jury report that exposed how nearly every Catholic diocese in the state engaged in a decades-long cover-up of child sexual abuse by clergy. The investigation was repeatedly described as the nation’s most sweeping inquiry into sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. It involved more than 1,000 victims, 301 “preedator” priests, and dozens in the church hierarchy who knew about the abuse but buried it to shield the institution. Shapiro’s time as attorney general has also been marked by his legal fights against some of the Trump administration’s high-profile policy changes, including efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate. Along with other attorneys general around the country, Shapiro negotiated a multibillion dollar settlement with a major pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributors over their role in fueling the nationwide opioid crisis. Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement stands at $1 billion, money that’s to be used for opioid remediation programs and initiatives. Shapiro began his career in government in the 1990s, working for a member of Congress and two senators in Washington, D.C. He was elected to Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives in 2004, where he served four terms representing parts of Montgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs. In 2011, he won a seat on Montgomery County’s Board of Commissioners in a year when Democrats took control over the three-member panel for the first time in the county’s history. He was elected attorney general in 2016 and again in 2020 for a second, four-year term. In announcing his candidacy for governor last year, Shapiro, who has built a reputation as a tireless campaigner and prolific fundraiser, quickly cleared the field — despite some talk early on that he would be challenged by a more progressive Democrat. Running unopposed gave him an instant advantage over the crowded, nine-way primary field of GOP contenders. He has amassed more than $20 million in campaign contributions since the start of 2021, eclipsing fundraising on the Republican side. He is entering the post-primary landscape with nearly $16 million on hand, largely because he was not forced to spend his war chest edging out competitors. Other results Contentious races for an open U.S. Senate seat were also on the ballot Tuesday. John Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, defeated three other Democrats for his party’s nod. The Associated Press called the race less than two hours after polls closed Tuesday. Fetterman had a pacemaker implanted on Election Day after he suffered a stroke last week. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, the Associated Press had yet to declare a Republican winner. The crowded field is being led by former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick and celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

New borough code officer keeps “ghost tour” groups in compliance 

Gettysburg Code Enforcement Officer Peter Griffioen, who has been in his position since December, said he has recently made patrols on Friday and Saturday evenings to study the many guided walking tours that have started up with the spring weather. Griffioen said he found many of the tour leaders to be in violation of borough codes, but that the operators were working with him to better comply. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement these last few weeks,” he said. “They needed some reminders.” “Their business is an important one – it’s incredibly popular.  People are really excited about taking a ghost tour,” he said. “It’s been great to meet the operators. A lot of them know me now.  As long as they know my expectations, we have the opportunity to talk about them.” “I’m not a police officer but I am out there making sure people are doing the right things. I’m obligated to be sure things are done safely.” Gettysburg Walking Tours/Gettysburg Ghost Tours and Gifts manager Johlene “Spooky” Riley  said she was glad Griffioen was enforcing the codes. “Most of the tour companies are in compliance and want to the job safely and in an entertaining manner,” she said.  “We’ve been here for almost 20 years, and we’re looking forward to another prosperous year.  We’ve always policed it ourselves.  It makes it better for us.” Griffioen said there were currently 18 licensed companies providing walking tours.  “Some of them have one guide; some of them have a dozen; some of them do 2 or 3 tours an evening,” he said. “Some don’t’ have a brick and mortar building, but that’s not required.” Guided walking tours are regulated by a borough code and companies must pay a $125 annual permit. Businesses must also pay the 5 percent  amusement/admissions tax collected by the borough and shared between the borough and the Gettysburg Area School District. The code limits each tour to 26 people including the guide and requires that groups remain either one block or a minimum of 50 feet apart. The ordinance says groups should not “interfere with the peace and tranquility of occupants” and that they should not interfere with vehicle or pedestrian traffic. “They are already relatively close together,” said Griffioen. “With one guide and 25 participants, how can you not block the sidewalk? It’s up to the guides to let their participants know they have to make a lane.” Another problem is that some tours use annunciators to amplify the voice of the guide while others do not.  Griffioen said most of the tours are the in Steinwehr Ave. tourist district.  “There are a lot of similarities in the tours including stopping at the Farnsworth House with its bullet holes,” he said.  Most of the evening tours are “ghost tours” that emphasize a combination of history and paranormal activities, but others focus on local churches or buildings on the Gettysburg College campus. Griffioen said he had had many conversations with operators and written some initial warnings.  “I told them if I come into contact with them again they might receive a citation.”  Gettysburg Borough plans to create a committee to investigate and potentially modify the ordinance. “I can see some room for improvement, but the ordinance is in good shape,” said Griffioen. “We’ll be getting input and advice from the tour operators.”

Gettysburg  Nixes Open Alcohol Idea

After a meeting in which several council members said they had made up their minds after hearing from constituents who opposed the idea, the Gettysburg Borough Council voted on Monday against the idea of allowing the outdoor consumption of alcohol. The vote was 4 to 3, with councilmembers Matt Moon, Patti Lawson, and Chad-Alan Carr voting in favor. The plan had been to have an 8 month pilot test around Lincoln Square, but some councilmembers said the idea was unworkable and could cause problems. Moon and Carr said most people they had heard from were positive about the idea and that they had received a petition from over 60 local residents who favored the plan. Councilmember Patti Lawson said she thought the proposal would help tourism and that she had talked to a police officer in Carlisle who said the similar ordinance enacted there had caused no problems that he was aware of. “I don’t see a reason to not give it a shot,” she said. Carr noted the plan was only for a short pilot program that could be ended immediately if problems ensued. Before voting against the proposal, councilmembers Judie Butterfield and John Lawver said people they had heard from were opposed.  Council President Wes Heyser said there were likely to be problems with enforcement. “I’m against this.  I’ll be voting ‘no’,” said Councilmember Chris Berger. “I don’t see open containers in the square as being a part of a vision of what Gettysburg is about.” Police Chief Robert Glenny and Major Rita Frealing also spoke against the idea before the vote. “I’m against anything that eases the availability of alcohol,” said Glenny. “I foresee issues of additional public drunkenness, underage (drinking), and calls for people going outside the designated area. I foresee litter. I am generally opposed to the open containers,” he said.

County jail warden Katy Hileman notes the difficulty of corrections officers’ work and praises their skills

The Adams County Commissioners have proclaimed May 1 – 7, 2022 as Corrections Employee Week. Warden Katy Hileman used the occasion to talk about the role of corrections officers at the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex (ACACC), thanking the employees for their professionalism, integrity, and perseverance in the face of a difficult and at times challenging work environment.” Hileman said the officers served as role models and rule enforcers in less-than-ideal settings, where they worked to gain respect and trust to provide a safe and secure environment Hileman said not every negative event at the jail could be prevented and that there had been some negative incidents, but that the public should not forget the difficulty of the work or the overall success of the staff in presenting problems. “Staff are not able to prevent all negative occurrences at the jail, regardless of years of experience, well-written policy and procedure, and unwavering dedication to the job,” said Hileman. “The stress, uncertainty, and continuation of a global pandemic has caused an increase in many of the tracked incident areas that corrections professionals focus on. There has been an increase in mental health issues, including suicide attempts.” Hileman said that in 2021, there were a total of 10,073 “extraordinary occurrence” reports submitted to the PA Dept. of Corrections and a total of 72 of these, or 0.71% were submitted due to incidents at the ACACC. She said that statewide there were a total of 331 in-custody suicide attempts in county jails across the Commonwealth, with two of those occurring in Adams County. Out of a total of 58 in-custody deaths in the PA County jail system in 2021, zero deaths occurred in Adams County. Hileman said that although she is a proponent of data, she realizes they don’t tell the whole story. “Data does not capture the correctional officer who got a bad feeling in their gut and went back to double check on an inmate on suicide watch. The data doesn’t tell you that a correctional officer who was assaulted by an inmate had hundreds of positive, nonthreatening interactions with that inmate previously,” she said “I ask that everyone take a minute to remember the days when things go right. Not the few times that things do not go as planned,” she said. Hileman said the officers’ jobs were much different than what is typically seen in the media. “Correctional officers are some of the most profession, conscientious, and effective that I’ve had the pleasure of leading,” she said. “I am proud of these fine men and women.”  We are thrilled to have you hear today,” said Commissioner Randy Phiel to Hileman. “We don’t get around as much as we should to visit you personally. Operating in the environment we’ve had for the past couple years makes it even more difficult.” Phiel recognized the need for more staff at the jail. “We’re trying like crazy,” he said. “We’re trying different things. We’re trying billboards. We’re trying to get there.” “It’s a special moment. It’s a challenging job that takes a special individual. We appreciate the hard work you do to allow the correctional facility to function properly,” said Commissioner Jim Martin. “I could not imagine working with the people you work with. They are not in the best position in their lives,” said Commissioner Mary Qually.  Qually noted that unlike police and fire officers, the public does not get a chance to interact with correctional officers. “It’s a tough job,” he said. The commissioners also proclaimed May 2022 as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month A spokeswoman from a local motorcycle group reminded drivers to “Watch for us; Look twice; save a life.” Phiel pointed out that the group also does charity work in Adams County, and would present a check to local charities on Saturday. Other decisions made by the commissioners include the following, from the meeting agenda. Courts: Recommendation from Laura Rowland, Deputy Court Administrator, and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners designate Chairman Randy L. Phiel to sign the Billing Authorization Sheet with ASL Services of York, PA for sign language interpreting services. It is further recommended that the Board sign the Addendum to ASL’s Policy and Rate Summary, which incorporates the County’s standard terms and conditions into the Agreement. The Billing Authorization Sheet is effective April 1, 2022. The County will be charged at an hourly rate of $85.00. Information Technology: Recommendation from Phil Walter, CIO, in coordination with Court Administrator Don Fennimore and Security Director Mark Masemer, and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners designate Chairman Randy L. Phiel to sign the following Quotes from Link Computer Corporation, of Bellwood, PA. All three Quotes are made pursuant to Co-stars Contract #003-040 and are for one-year terms, commencing on July 31, 2022 and terminating on July 30, 2023. Total cost to the County is $16,108.00: Quote #1016338 for nine (9) Meraki MR Enterprise Cloud Controller Licenses, which enables the County to operate its Internal Wireless Access Points, and 600 Meraki Systems Manager Enterprise Device Licenses; Quote #1016335 for one (1) Meraki MR Enterprise Cloud Controller License, which will enable the Court to operate its Internal Wireless Access Point in the Jury Assembly Room; and Quote #1016365 for two (2) Meraki Enterprise Licenses and Support, which enables monitoring of Sach’s Covered Bridge with security cameras. Quote # 1016021 with Link Computer Corporation, an authorized reseller of Cisco, Inc. products. The Quote renews three (3) licenses for the Webex video conferencing software including the Commissioners’ Office, Adult Correctional Complex, and the Register & Recorder’s Office.                                                                           Total cost of the 3 licenses is $924.00 ($308 per license). Pricing is made pursuant to Costars Contract #003- 040. The licenses shall be effective June 23, 2022 for a one (1) year term. It is additionally recommended that the Board approve Cisco’s End User License Agreement, effective concurrently with the licenses. Tax Services Recommendation from Daryl Crum, Director, to approve the 2022 Tax Claim Bureau Repository for Unsold Properties purchaser and price recommendations as provided to the Board of Commissioners on March 24, 2022. Upon approval of these seven properties, the Tax Claim Bureau will seek approvals from the other associated taxing bodies prior to their actual transfers. The agreed upon purchase prices will then be multiplied by the current Common Level Ratio to arrive at a new assessed value for each. Planning Department: Recommendation from Sherri Clayton-Williams, Director, and after review by Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Letter Amendment to the Open-End Agreement #521155 (eff. July 1, 2016) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the PA Department of Transportation. This Amendment extends the termination date of the Agreement from June 30, 2022 to December 31, 2022. All other terms and conditions remain the same. The Amendment is effective on the date last signed by the parties. It is additionally recommended that the Board approve Resolution No. 5 of 2022 verifying that the Board has authority to execute the Amendment and any Work Orders submitted under the Open-End Agreement. Electronic Access Agreement For Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the PA Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”). The Agreement provides the County access to PennDOT’s data on accident frequency histories and site/route-specific accident information in its PA Crash Information Tool (“PCIT”) database, allowing the County to analyze historical safety trends on roadways within the County. This Agreement is effective on the date authorized by PennDOT and shall terminate upon notice by either party. No additional cost to the County. 2020 Emergency Solutions Grant – CV – Recommendation from Harlan Lawson, Economic Development Specialist, and after review by Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, to approve the requested budget modification for the 2020 ESG-CV Grant, Contract #C000074136 to re-allocate a total of $64,202.00 – $31,000.00 from Rapid Rehousing Financial Assistance Services and $33,202.00 from Homelessness Prevention Services to Emergency Shelter Operations & Essential Services. The total ESC-CV grant budget of $340,732.00 will remain unchanged. And for the Board of Commissioners to further adopt Resolution No. 6 of 2022, authorizing the filing of an amended proposal for Emergency Solutions Grant Funds with the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Department of Emergency Services: Recommendation from Warren Bladen, Director and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Radiation Emergency Response Fund Grant Agreement C950003096 between the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Adams County. This Agreement provides for a grant award of $16,948.00, to be used for equipment and supplies, planning, and miscellaneous items necessary for the development of improved emergency response capabilities in the event of radiological accidents or incidents at Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants. The term of this Agreement is July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023. No County match is required. Adams County Adult Correctional Complex: Recommendation from Warden Katy Hileman, and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Ratify 2022 Billable Labor Rates and Confirmation of Acceptance with Cornerstone Detention Products of Garner, North Carolina for emergency repair of security doors at the Prison. Hourly rates range from $195.00/hour for a Service Technician to $560.00/hour for an Applications Engineer. Cost to the County to be determined by the amount of repair hours needed to bring the doors back online. Designate Chairman Randy L. Phiel to sign the Terms of Agreement with Professional Systems Engineering, LLC, of Lansdale, PA, for performance of an assessment of the Prison’s internal and external security systems and preparation of a Recommendations Report. The Terms of Agreement go into effect on May 4, 2022. Total cost to the County is $17,300.00. Recommendation from Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Ordinance No. 2 of 2022 – An Ordinance providing for Tax Exemption for certain improvements to designated deteriorated areas pursuant to Pennsylvania Acts No. 42 of 1977 and 76 of 1977, defining certain exempt property, providing for an exemption period and establishing a schedule of percentage exemption for that time period. This Ordinance, which applies to the Berlin Junction project, was fully advertised in The Gettysburg Times on Friday, April 22, 2022 and is consistent with Oxford Township and Conewago Valley School District approvals. Personnel Report: Court: Magistrate Harvey’s Office – Employment of Daphne Reid, General Clerk, effective May 2, 2022 Magistrate Beauchat’s Office – Separation of employment of Tamara Gail Boyd, General Clerk, effective May 5, 2022 Clerk of Courts: Employment of Skyler Stremmel, Deputy Clerk 3-Collections Clerk, effective May 2, 2022, pending successful completion of all pre-employment screenings Department of Emergency Services: Employment of Noah Green, Telecommunicator, effective April 25, 2022 Unpaid Internship: Children & Youth Services – Madison Kohler, effective May 10, 2022 through May 2023 Public Defender – Charlie Mirsky, effective May 30, 2022 through August 1, 2022 Separation of Employment with permission to post: Clerk of Courts – Sadrac Ramirez Esquivel, Court Information Specialist, is transferring to the Victim Witness Department, effective May 9, 2022; and Heather Wetzel is being promoted from Deputy Clerk 3-Juvenile/New Case Clerk to Court Information Specialist, effective May 9, 2022 Tekoa Capps, Casework 2, Children & Youth Services, effective May 31, 2022 Alex Staub, Corrections Officer Trainee, effective May 6, 2022 Kenya Hardy, Corrections Officer Trainee, effective May 13, 2022 Expenditures: Approve the following expenditures for the period April 18, 2022 through April 29, 2022: General Fund Total                              $ 1,682,511.63 General Fund $     595,590.59 Pcard Payment $       13,185.25 Payroll – Week #17 $ 1,073,735.79   Children & Youth Services   $     225,423.98 HazMat Fund $            108.89 Commissary Fund $            329.56 Records Management $         3,155.00 Hotel Tax Fund $       72,329.75 Human Services $         1,632.00 Capital Project-Reserve $       15,740.00 Capital Projects $     371,503.80 911 Fund $     113,571.16 Internal Service Fund $     300,920.25

Pa. Election Day 2022: A complete guide to the May 17 primary, including how to vote, find your polling place, understand mail-in ballots, and more

By Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — More than a few things have changed since Pennsylvanians last went to the polls. Your congressional and legislative districts might be different, some counties are supervising or reducing drop boxes, and the mail-in voting law has been ruled unconstitutional — but, for now, it remains in effect and a valid form of voting. Here’s what you need to know to be prepared for Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary election: When is the 2022 primary election day in Pennsylvania? Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Mark your calendar! When do polls open for Pa.’s 2022 primary election? Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Can I still register to vote? The last day to register to vote is May 2. You can register here. You can check if you’ve already registered here using either your name and address or a form of state-issued identification. What if I want to change parties? To change your party affiliation, fill out the same voter registration form that you used to register the first time. When filling out the form, simply select the box that says “change of party.” If you register less than 15 days before the election, then the change will not take place until the next election cycle. If you are an unaffiliated/independent voter, you will not be allowed to vote for major party candidates in key races like governor or U.S. Senate. In order to do so, you must change your registration to one of the parties on or before May 2. Where do I vote? If you’re voting in person, you can look up your polling place here. Can I vote by mail? Yes! Although Commonwealth Court has found the way the state’s mail-in voting law was passed to be unconstitutional, the case was appealed to the state Supreme Court (the highest court in Pennsylvania). The Supreme Court allowed the law to remain in effect while the case is heard, so if you want to vote by mail, you can. How do I vote by mail? You can request a mail-in ballot here using either a state-issued form of identification or your Social Security number. What is the deadline to request a mail-in ballot? The deadline for the primary is May 10, 2022. How do I properly prepare my mail-in ballot so it’s not thrown out? After receiving your mail-in ballot, be sure to read the instructions and complete the front and back of each page. After filling it out, place the ballot in the inner secrecy envelope that came with it. The secrecy envelope will be labeled, “official election ballot.” Be sure not to make any marks on it. Finally, put the secrecy envelope in the return envelope that has been pre-addressed. Remember to sign and date the return envelope, otherwise your vote will not be counted! For more details you can check here. How do I drop off a mail-in ballot? Mail-in ballots must be received by your county’s board of elections by 8 p.m. on the day of the primary, Tuesday, May 17. You can return your mail-in ballot at a drop box, your county election board, or another designated location, or through the mail. You can locate a dropoff location here. Voters must return their own ballots unless otherwise permitted. Only voters with a disability may designate someone to deliver their ballot for them. To officially designate someone, fill out this form and send it with your mail-in ballot. If you’ve already sent in your mail-in ballot, you can contact your local county election office for information on where to turn in the form. How do I vote absentee? The process to request an absentee ballot is similar to that of requesting a mail-in ballot. You can apply online or download the form and send it to your county election office. However, the application requires you to list a reason for your absence, unlike a mail-in ballot. You can find the application here. What is the deadline to request an absentee ballot? The deadline for the primary is 5 p.m. May 10, 2022. Has my legislative or congressional district changed? Possibly. You can use our map comparison tool to see how new legislative and congressional district maps might affect you. What’s on the ballot? All Pennsylvanians will be voting for a new governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, and U.S representative. Many will also be electing new state representatives based on their new legislative district lines. While the new Senate lines leave the balance of power relatively unchanged in that chamber, the new House districts have the potential to level the playing field for Democrats come the general election. Ballots will also differ depending on which municipality you reside in. Some voters might be selecting new city council members or ward representatives. Most counties provide a preview of what their ballot will look like. You can find your county election site here. The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan national voter advocacy group, also offers a ballot preview tool. Are there any constitutional amendments or statewide referendums on the ballot? No. You can track the status of all current proposals using our Amendment Tracker. Why does the primary matter? Primaries often decide which candidate will win the general election. Legislative districts tend to be small and politically cohesive. In the new legislative maps, only 15% of the seats are considered competitive, according to nonpartisan analysis. That means most districts have one party with a strong majority. So whichever candidate wins the primary of the dominant party is all but guaranteed to win the general election in November. Full coverage of the Pennsylvania primary election 2022: Your guide to the Democratic and GOP candidates for governor A guide to the often-overlooked race for Pa. lieutenant governor Big donations to GOP guv candidates: Who gave and how much? Josh Shapiro is amassing a big war chest. Who gave and how much? WATCH: Spotlight PA GOP governor candidates debate 5 takeaways from Spotlight PA’s Republican gubernatorial debate WATCH: Spotlight PA GOP U.S. Senate candidates debate WATCH: Spotlight PA DEM U.S. Senate candidates debate What they’re saying about Spotlight PA’s Democratic and Republican U.S. Senate debates Pennsylvania’s 2022 U.S. Senate race: What we know so far Tell Spotlight PA what election coverage matters the most to you WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Main Street Gettysburg questions borough’s vision

After the Gettysburg Borough Council spent several hours on Monday evening making progress on a number of important decisions, Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers used the public comment period to express disapproval of each of them, accusing the councilmembers of showing a “lack of vision.” Sellers said Main Street Gettysburg was “the economic development arm of the borough.” The borough announced at the meeting they planned to try a pilot program that allows people to drink alcohol outside on the Lincoln Square and within one block of it.  Sellers said the borough had existing laws which related to this issue and that the pilot project could have been borough-wide. “You’ve left out a lot of businesses that could benefit economic development by limiting that that to the square plus one block,” she said.  You have a whole list of businesses who are going to say ’what about me?” The borough also decided to reduce the number of parklets in the borough, saying they were not used regularly and took away parking spaces. Sellers said the borough was being short-sighted. “We’re trying to create a walkable downtown. That includes public gathering spaces and you’re basically taking part of that program away. Cars are not going to be the answer forever and they shouldn’t be,” she said. Sellers said saving parking spaces was not contributing to a vision of a cleaner city. The council spent over an hour developing appropriate guidelines for potential event venues in the borough, a change that could negatively affect residential areas. The councilmembers considered noise, lot requirements, accessory structures such as tents, dumpsters, frequency of events, outside lighting, fire codes, waste containers, parking, idling buses, setbacks, and enforcement, among others. The borough noted the new ordinance could potentially apply to many properties in the borough and that the decisions could have wide effects.  One approach being considered is to write the ordinance so there are different regulations for neighborhoods that are more residential. Referring to the proposed High St. project that led to the event venue discussions, Sellers said the council’s considerations about the “private property which is being micromanaged down to the foot is unnecessary when there are existing laws to answer almost every issue that has been brought up over the past 7 to 8 months.” Sellers thanked the council for their “diligence” but wondered “in what condition we’re going to pass this borough on to the next generation.” In other news, the borough encouraged residents to document any difficulties they may have had with the conversion from Waste Connections to Waste Management using a form available on the borough’s website. The borough also announced that spring brush pickup will be from Monday May 23 through Thursday May 26. The public works crew will go around the town twice to pick up brush. Residents are asked to place brush along the curb or alley but not in the street. No leaves or grass clippings are allowed.

Gettysburg wants comments on Waste Management service

Gettysburg Borough contracts with a waste hauler to provide both trash removal and recycling services to the residents of the Borough. The previous waste hauling contract expired on March 31, 2022 – with the new contract beginning on April 1, 2022. In anticipation of the contract expiration date, Gettysburg Borough issued a request for proposals (RFP) in late 2021, asking waste haulers to submit pricing for myriad waste management services to Gettysburg Borough. The Borough is required by law to award a new contract to the ‘lowest, responsive, and responsible’ bidder. Of the two waste hauling companies that placed bids on the contract (Waste Connections and Waste Management(WM)), it was WM that provided the ‘lowest, responsive, and responsible’ proposal. As such, borough council, consistent with the laws governing the letting of contracts, awarded the waste hauler contract to WM on February 14, 2022.  In January 2022, in anticipation of the the contract being awarded to WM, senior borough staff and a representative of borough council met with senior management officials of WM to specifically discuss and plan for the transition from Waste Connections to WM. Each point noted in the linked agenda below was discussed at length, with each borough staff member being satisfied that WM had a complete understanding of the borough’s expectations. WM staff provided assurances that the transition would be smooth and seamless. Many residents in Gettysburg have reported that the transition has been anything but smooth and seamless. The borough asks you to take a few moments to describe your experience with WM so the borough has documentation of the multiple service shortfalls attributed to WM during this transitional period. Please follow this link (click here) to be directed to the form.

Election 2022: Policy summary of top GOP candidates for Pennsylvania governor

By Anthony Hennen Pennsylvania voters are less than a month away from the primaries on May 17, and some of the top Republican candidates for governor among a crowded field will appear in a televised debate on Wednesday. As it stands from polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, the Republican field is led by five candidates: state Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, President Pro Tempore of the state Senate Jake Corman, and former Delaware County Councilman Dave White. All but Corman will appear in this week’s debate. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, is term-limited and cannot run for reelection. Other Pennsylvania Republicans campaigning for governor are Joe Gale, who serves on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners; Charlie Gerow, vice chairman of the American Conservative Union; Melissa Hart, a former U.S. representative; and Nche Zama, a cardiothoracic surgeon. The presumptive Democratic nominee will be Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has no primary challengers. For a policy overview of the candidates, The Center Square took a look at the candidates’ websites. The candidates are generally aligned ideologically, though emphases differ. Lou Barletta Barletta wants to rebuild the economy by keeping taxes low and reducing regulations. He claims to be “a champion of the production of coal, oil, and natural gas” to boost the economy and protect well-paying union jobs. He pledges to combat illegal immigration, fully fund law enforcement’s needs, strengthen election security, and rebuild the state’s infrastructure. He is also pro-school choice, pro-life, and pro-2nd Amendment, and wants to eliminate waste in state government. Jake Corman Corman announced five priority areas for his campaign. He’s running to defend freedom and reform emergency laws to prevent their abuse, securing elections by reviewing the 2020 election through an audit and pass electoral reforms, create new job opportunities across the state, improve education by supporting public supports and offer parents school choice, and protect communities by putting more cops on the street and defend the 1st Amendment. Doug Mastriano Mastriano announced four priorities for his campaign: protecting life, protecting the 2nd Amendment, protecting families, and protecting taxpayers. On protecting families, he emphasized religious liberties, parental rights, and educational choice. For protecting taxpayers, Mastriano said he “will be a constant reminder that Harrisburg has a duty to be fiscally responsible with other peoples’ hard earned money.” Mastriano also released his goals for his first 100 days that includes leaving the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, protecting freedoms by ending mandates related to COVID-19, and stimulating the state’s economy.  Bill McSwain McSwain focuses on criminal justice and economics. He wants to “bring back law and order” and put criminals in jail and combat the opioid crisis. He also wants to create jobs, lower taxes, improve the state’s business climate and unleash Pennsylvania’s energy, and lower gas prices. McSwain also talked about “putting a stop to out-of-control spending in Harrisburg.” He is also pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment.  Dave White White’s campaign platform centers on being pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment. He wants to keep school athletics programs divided by sex, not gender identity. White is a strong promoter of vocational training and wants to increase the percentage of high school students from 3% to 30% over the next decade. He’d like to expand school choice and ban Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools. White also wants to prioritize speeding up approval times for permits and reduce regulations, leave the RGGI and fund energy infrastructure projects like natural gas pipelines, fix road infrastructure, and reduce the gas tax.

Gettysburg freezes its parklet program, with the exception of the one by the clock

The Gettysburg Borough Council said on Monday the temporary parklet program that was created during the pandemic to allow businesses greater access to outdoor areas had served its purpose but was no longer effective or needed. The council will no longer take applications for parklets. “I don’t think they do what we originally thought they would do,” said board member Chad-Alan Carr. “We were at a certainly at a place [where they were effective] in the pandemic when we started this, but we’re not at that place anymore,” he said.  Carr said his opinions were based on his interactions with community members. Council member Matt Moon concurred, saying “I don’t think they are accomplishing their goals. We have not seen businesses adopting them in the way we had envisioned.” Council member Chris Berger said he didn’t they the parklets were being used. “It could work during Covid, but I don’t think it’s appropriate now,” he said. The council agreed the parklet near the clock on the southwest corner of the square which is used by the Adams County Arts Council for musical and other programs was meeting its purpose and should remain.  “It’s for the public, and it’s not so much in the way,” said Carr. Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers said that parklet had already been used by over 50 musical groups, as well as Gettysburg Pride weekend, the Gettysburg Christmas Festival, and for other events.

Gettysburg proposes allowing public alcohol consumption around Gettysburg Square

Responding to a request from a local business to allow outdoor public consumption of alcohol, the Gettysburg Borough Council will draft an ordinance allowing people to drink alcohol outside in the area on and within one block of Lincoln Square. The policy would run for a trial period through New Year’s 2023. Borough Manager Charles Gable said he had been in contact with officials in Carlisle who said there had only been one violation in the four years they had allowed public consumption of alcohol downtown. Council member Chris Berger expressed some opposition to the idea, as did Police Chief Robert Glenny. Glenny said he did not like the idea of making alcohol more available. “I see it as a public safety issue; I see it as problematic,” he said. The ordinance will specify hours in which alcohol cannot be consumed in public and those hours would likely follow the current noise ordinance. The council said it would be important for local businesses to inform people about the regulations.

PA protects three large farms in Adams from future development

Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program announced this month that it has protected 3,528 acres on 40 farms in 19 counties from future development, investing more than $9.7 million in state and county dollars in preserving prime farmland for tomorrow. The investment also leverages $735,170 that will go toward preserving farms on waitlists in six counties. The approvals bring Pennsylvania’s total to 6,044 farms and 611,620 acres of farmland that will be forever protected from commercial, industrial or residential development. The 40 newly preserved farms are in Adams, Berks, Bradford, Butler, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Franklin, Greene, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Monroe, Northampton, Snyder, Tioga and York counties. About $600,000 in state funds and $220,000 in county funds were used to protect three farms in Adams: The Wayne H. Mummert Farm, a 111-acre crop farm The Doyle O. and Jennifer S. Waybright Farm, a 124-acre crop farm Hanover Shoe Farm #28, a 213.6-acre horse farm, which included $322,880 in federal reimbursement  “Protecting prime farmland is public policy that works, and a priority we all agree on,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “It’s a long-lasting, highly effective partnership among state, federal, county and local governments and the farm families who are committed to feeding future generations. Together, we are protecting Pennsylvania’s priceless resources and sustaining our economy.”    By selling their land’s development rights, landowners preserve their farms, protecting the land from future residential, commercial or industrial development. Farm families often sell their land at below market value to ensure that it will remain farmland. Pennsylvania partners with county and sometimes local governments and non-profits to purchase the development rights, ensuring a strong future for farming and food security. Pennsylvania has a long-standing partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, the first of its kind, which has invested more than $16 million to date to implement measures on farms that will improve water and soil quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. To date, federal programs have leveraged more than $37 million to assist Pennsylvania in preserving more than 41,000 additional acres of farmland. Six federally funded farms approved at today’s meeting support the preservation of 505.87 acres. These farms, noted in the list below, will leverage $735,170 in federal reimbursements that will go toward preserving farms on waitlists in their counties. Gov. Tom Wolf’s $1.7 billion plan to help Pennsylvania recover from the COVID-19 pandemic would further extend these investments. The plan devotes $450 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to support conservation, recreation, and preservation efforts including farmland preservation. To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Farmland Preservation Program and investments in a secure future for Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov. Click here for a complete list of the PA farms being protected.

County Declares “National Crime Victims Week”

Please note this important announcement from the County:Franklin Township #1 and #2 Polling Places are permanently changed beginning with the May 2022 Primary Election, moving from the Jesus is Lord Ministries to the Cashtown Fire Department, 1111 Old Route 30, Cashtown, pending approval by the Cashtown Fire Department at their public meeting on April 19, 2022. The Adams County Commissioners have declared April 24-30, 2022 as “National Crime Victims Week” and commended those who work in the county’s Victim Witness Program. The county said long-time Victim Witness Director Cindy Keeney would be retiring on May 2 and that Samantha Hoffman would be replacing her. Thanking the commissioners for their support, Children and Youth Services Director Sarah Finkey said the program provides “accessible, appropriate and adequate services for all victims.” Finkey said the program works for rights, access, and equity for all victims, provides advocates, and helps with out-of-pocket expenses. The county said Victim Witness was adding video conferencing and text messaging services and interviewing for a bilingual advocate. “Sometimes a victim gets lost in a process. We frequently hear stories that people from the Hispanic community don’t feel comfortable coming forward,” said Commissioner Jim Martin “You educated the county and myself on trauma.  You get people when they’re having rough times,” said Commissioner Marty Qually. “Your contribution to this community is outstanding. And you can walk away feeling very proud of that,” said Commissioner Randy Phiel. The county also declared April as “National County Government Month.” “We have a lot of great staff.  We make a lot of things happen. We’re dedicated to that.  We do need to take a moment to recognize staff.  I don’t think people realize all the services that are provided by the staff,” said County Manager Steve Nevada. “This is part of the process of educating the public about what the county government does. I have found the people to work here being amazing.  People who work here care about county government.  There are so many partnerships you have to form to do this job right,” said Qually.  “Largely it’s about providing essential human services to our community,” said Phiel.  “This is a shoutout to everybody in county government for what we do.” Other business from the meeting agenda: Authorize the advertisement of Ordinance No. 2 of 2022 establishing a real estate tax exemption program pursuant to the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (“LERTA”) for eligible deteriorated property in the area of Berlin Junction, Oxford Township. This Ordinance is consistent with Oxford Township Resolution No. 2022-16 passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on or about March 2, 2022 and Conewago Valley School District Resolution No. 122 passed unanimously by the Board of School Directors on or about April 11, 2022 and will be adopted at the Adams County Commissioners’ public meeting to be held on May 4, 2022. Personnel Report: Probation Services: Recommendation from Chief Gale Kendall, and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the 2022-2023 Intermediate Punishment Treatment Program Grant (#37282) application made through the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) for $88,573.00 in state funds. This money will be used to purchase supplies, including Risk/Need Assessments, online DUI classes, drug testing supplies, and a tablet for use by the Work Release Program, as well as funding an Adams County Probation DUI Assessor. The application is effective April 20, 2022. No County match is required. Tax Services: Recommendation from Chief Assessor Susan Miller to approve the following Disabled Veterans Real Property Exemption Certifications: Althea D. Wood, 15 Deer Trail, Fairfield, PA, Parcel #43023-0126, located in Hamiltonban Township for an additional .39 acre of land to be combined with the existing exempt parcel, effective with the 2022-2023 School Taxes Mark Hopkins, 89 Tiffany Lane, Gettysburg, PA, Parcel #09E13-0151, located in Cumberland Township, for his home on .55 acres, effective with the 2022-2023 School Taxes Helen Merz, 90 Knight Road, Lot 60, Gettysburg, PA, surviving spouse of Donald Merz, for the existing exemption to remain on Parcel #09F15-0065—060. Removal of Tax Exemption: Marianne L. Knight-Schiavoni, 68 Mountain Road, Orrtanna, PA, for Parcel #12B08-0013E—005, located in Franklin Township, to have the exemption removed and the property placed back on the tax rolls, effective with the 2022- 2023 School Taxes Personal Tax Exemption Requests: Approve exoneration of personal taxes for the following who have met the guidelines of County policy: Robert Doyle, Berwick Township; Maybelle Altland, Ruth Bradley, Robert Bradley, Theresa McCarty and Mildred Hull, all of Oxford Township and Mary Kessler, Straban Township Children & Youth Services: Recommendation from Sarah Finkey, Administrator and after review by Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Agreements with Avanco International, Inc., of Clifton, Virginia, related to the Child Accounting and Profile System (CAPS): CAPS Application Service Provider Agreement – Provides for ongoing maintenance and service of the CAPS application. Effective July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 at a quarterly fee of $8,785.51 ($35,142.04 in total). HIPAA Business Associate Agreement – Provides for the protection of certain confidential health data in accordance with HIPAA. Effective April 20, 2022, for so long as Avanco retains any protected health information. Consulting Services Addendum to Service Provider Agreement – Provides for optional consulting services beyond those covered under the Service Provider Agreement, at a total cost not to exceed $30,000.00. Child Welfare Information Solution (CWIS) Maintenance Agreement – Provides for continued maintenance, development, and implementation of the CWIS system and upgrades in coordination with the PA Department of Human Services. Effective July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 at a total cost of $3,948.01. Professional Services Agreement with Kelly L. McNaney, Esq., a licensed Pennsylvania attorney. Ms. McNaney will be providing legal services to CYS at a rate of $100/hour as needed. This Agreement is effective March 1, 2022 and expires July 1, 2022. Subsidy Agreement with S.J. on behalf of K.W. in the subsidy amount of $912.50/month. Recommendation from Sherri Clayton-Williams, Director, and after review by Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the extension request for the Carroll Valley Parks Recreation & Green Space Grant Trail Project, with an initial extension to June 30, 2022 and a subsequent extension to run through December 31, 2022, with the extensions to run sequentially and not concurrently. Building and Maintenance: Recommendation from Larry Steinour, Director and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners designate Chairman Randy L. Phiel to sign the Quote with Clark Equipment Company, d/b/a Bobcat Company, a North Dakota company, for a new Bobcat Skid Steer Loader. This Quote is made pursuant to PA State Contract #4400019949. The Quote becomes effective April 20, 2022. Total cost to the County is $48,470.36. Adams County Adult Correctional Complex: Recommendation from Warden Katy Hileman, and after review by Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Designate Chairman Randy L. Phiel to sign the Quote with Motorola Solutions Inc., an Illinois company, for repair work to the prison’s handheld radios and base units. This service agreement will cover 53 handheld radios and 2 base stations. It is further recommended that the Board sign the Addendum to the Service Terms and Conditions, which incorporates the County’s standard terms and conditions into the Agreement. The term of the Agreement is one (1) year, commencing on May 1, 2022 and terminating on April 30, 2023. Total cost to the County is $5,540.64. Adams County Board of Elections: Recommendation from Angela Crouse, Elections Director and after review by Solicitor Molly Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners, sitting as the Board of Elections, shall select and fix Polling Places within the respective election district as follows, as authorized by 25 P.S. Section 2726 of the Election Code: Franklin #1 and #2 Polling Places permanent change beginning with the May 2022 Primary Election, moving from the Jesus is Lord Ministries to the Cashtown Fire Department, 1111 Old Route 30, Cashtown, pending approval by the Cashtown Fire Department at their public meeting on April 19, 2022. Recommendation from Solicitor Molly R. Mudd, that the Board of Commissioners approve the following: Authorize the advertisement of Ordinance No. 2 of 2022 establishing a real estate tax exemption program pursuant to the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (“LERTA”) for eligible deteriorated property in the area of Berlin Junction, Oxford Township. This Ordinance is consistent with Oxford Township Resolution No. 2022-16 passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on or about March 2, 2022 and Conewago Valley School District Resolution No. 122 passed unanimously by the Board of School Directors on or about April 11, 2022 and will be adopted at the Adams County Commissioners’ public meeting to be held on May 4, 2022. Personnel Report: Court: Domestic Relations – 1) Separation of employment of Brett Hayes, Conference Officer, effective April 29, 2022 with the intent to post; 2) Employment of Mahadeb Pai, General Clerk, effective April 18, 2022 Controller: Recommendation from Controller John Phillips, to approve the employment of Tammy Noel, Staff Accountant-GL, effective April 18, 2022. Security: Recommendation from Mark Masemer, Director, to approve the employment of Patrick Hazel, Security Officer, effective April 18, 2022. Adams County Adult Correctional Complex: Recommendation from Warden Katy Hileman, pending successful completion of background screenings, approve the employment of the following Corrections Officers: Brandon Kelley, effective April 11, 2022; Madisen Kling, effective May 31, 2022 Separation of Employment with permission to post: Benjamin Parr, Telecommunicator Supervisor, effective April 26, 2022 Betty Dabler, Program Specialist-Mentoring, Children & Youth, effective May 6, 2022 Michael Simms, Corrections Officer Trainee, effective April 13, 2022 Rescind offer of employment for Scott Stanga, Corrections Officer, effective April 11, 2022 Expenditures: Approve the following expenditures for the period April 4, 2022 through April 15, 2022: General Fund Total                              $ 1,360,202.66 General Fund $     294,103.90 Pcard Payment $       12,614.47 Payroll – Week #15 $ 1,053,484.29   Children & Youth Services   $     156,275.61 HazMat Fund $            106.64 CDBG $       89,156.79 Commissary Fund $         2,245.96 Hotel Tax Fund $     110,063.19 Act 13 Bridge Improvements $       87,526.54 911 Fund $         4,569.02 Internal Service Fund $     295,944.23 Other Business: Solicitor Mudd Commissioner Qually Commissioner Martin Commissioner Phiel Salary Board Meeting: The Salary Board Meeting will be held following the Commissioners Meeting. Adjournment:

GARA receives $52,500 from Gettysburg Borough for new equipment

The Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) will purchase a new zero-turn mower, a tractor for dragging baseball fields and snow removal, and a utility vehicle for moving dirt and mulch using $52,000 given to them by the Gettysburg Borough Council. The GARA board of directors authorized Executive Director Erin Peddigree to purchase the equipment on a case to case basis when she could find a good price. “Strike while the iron is hot to get a good deal,” said Board President Steve Niebler Peddigree said new fencing had been installed around the storage area and that new soft drink machines had been installed at the Sterner Building and at the south end of the park. The rec park is also receiving 10 picnic tables donated by Straban Township. Peddigree said GARA will apply for funds to purchase and install a swing set and workout station from the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2023 and will also apply for a grant to rebuild the south end restrooms, making them handicap accessible. The board agreed after some discussion that the hours of operation of the rec park should remain between sunrise and sunset. New signs will be installed with this information. Peddigree said she would meet with Gettysburg Police Chief Robert Glenny to discuss electric skateboards in the park. Peddigree said about 600 children and 4 food trucks had attended the Easter Egg Hunt held earlier in the month.

Pa. primary election 2022: Your guide to the Democratic and GOP candidates for governor

By Kate Huangpu of Spotlight PA and Ethan Edward Coston of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — When Democrats head to the polls on May 17 for Pennsylvania’s 2022 primary election for governor, there will be just one choice on the ballot. Republicans will face a much different situation, with nine candidates and still no clear frontrunner. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat first elected in 2014, is unable to run for re-election due to term limit restrictions. In this vacuum, Republicans have an opportunity to win the executive branch, which would leave them in control of the governor’s office as well as the legislature. Wolf has often served as a foil to the GOP-majority General Assembly during his tenure, vetoing efforts to rewrite the state’s Election Code, roll back environmental policies, and further restrict abortion access. Many GOP candidates have vowed to sign such legislation. Democrats have a voter registration edge over Republicans in the state, though that 500,000-plus advantage has been shrinking. While Wolf easily won reelection in 2018, close gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia last year have political watchers expecting a tight race here. Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 primary governor election before going to the polls: >> READ MORE: See how much money the GOP candidates for governor have raised Democrat Josh Shapiro |Website Elected attorney general in 2016, Shapiro has been involved in Pennsylvania politics since 2004 — first as a state representative, then as a county commissioner in Montgomery County. As Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor, Shapiro investigated sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church and pursued cases relating to the opioid epidemic. Shapiro has listed defending voting access, maintaining abortion rights, and rebuilding infrastructure as major tenets of his campaign. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? No. Shapiro has said he would reject any effort to repeal the law known as Act 77. Endorsements: Pennsylvania Democratic Party, AFL-CIO Read more: Bloomberg: There’s Exactly One Democrat Running for Governor of Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Josh Shapiro on the death penalty, climate, and Harrisburg New York Times: In Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Josh Shapiro Focuses on Voting Rights >> WATCH LIVE: Spotlight PA hosts GOP gubernatorial debate April 19 Republicans Lou Barletta | Website Barletta started his political career in Hazleton on the city council in 1998 and then as mayor in 2000. In 2010, Barletta was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for eight years. He unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2018. Without providing specifics, Barletta is running on a myriad of issues including strengthening the economy, school choice, and oil and natural gas production; limiting access to abortion; and addressing “illegal immigration.” Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. Barletta has called Act 77 “unconstitutional” and believes the state needs signature verification and stricter voter ID requirements. During Republican attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Barletta was included on a list of alternate Republican electors for Trump. “The language of the Pennsylvania document clearly states that this was done in case it was later determined that different electors were needed,” a Barletta campaign spokesperson told The Citizens’ Voice. Endorsements: Oil & Gas Workers Association, state Rep. Barb Gleim, state Rep Aaron Kaufer Read more: Capital-Star: Capital-Star Q+A: Lou Barletta thinks second time’s the charm in GOP governor’s run City & State PA: Lou Barletta’s seeking a political comeback as Pennsylvania governor Jake Corman | Website Corman replaced his father as a state senator in 1999. He served as the state Senate majority leader from 2015 to 2020, and he’s been the Senate president pro tempore since 2020. His vague platform includes “improving education,” election security, jobs, policing, and “defending freedoms.” Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. Corman voted for Act 77, but following the 2020 election, he’s supported its repeal and called for stricter voter ID requirements and third-party audits. Corman directed his chamber to conduct a “full forensic investigation” of the 2020 election, an idea fueled by baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. Endorsements: Spotlight PA could not identify any endorsements. Read more: Inquirer: Jake Corman on his run for Pa. governor, Trump’s influence on the primary, and the 2020 election WGAL: One-on-one with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman WHYY: A Pa. state lawmaker hasn’t become governor in 70 years. Jake Corman hopes to be the exception Joe Gale | Website Gale became a Montgomery County commissioner after being elected in an upset in 2015 with virtually no political experience. Gale labels himself an outsider and considers the Pennsylvania Republican party insufficiently conservative. In particular, he has criticized the Republican establishment, including his opponents Lou Barletta and Doug Mastriano. Gale calls himself “staunchly pro-life,” and said one of his top priorities is ousting Republicans he considers insufficiently conservative. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. He also wrote in the Times Herald, a Montgomery County paper, that any elected official who voted in favor of Act 77 “should be disqualified from holding office.” Endorsements: Spotlight PA could not identify any endorsements. Read more: Capital-Star: Capital-Star Q+A: RINO hunter Joe Gale wants to make sure conservatives are energized for 2022 Philly Voice: Suburban politician, who called BLM a hate group and COVID-19 lockdowns ‘un-American,’ will run for governor WHYY: Montco’s Joe Gale announces bid for governor, denounces Pa. Republicans as ‘lousy’ Charlie Gerow | Website Gerow, a prominent Republican political strategist, began his career working for Ronald Reagan. Since then, Gerow has worked as a lobbyist and consultant, opening his own public communications firm. He currently serves as the vice-chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Gerow has called himself a “Ronald Reagan Republican,” saying that he is best positioned to bridge the gap between the traditional Republican party and the increasingly radical wing of his party. His election platform has focused on promoting economic growth through traditional conservative fiscal policies of reducing taxes and regulation and wants to promote the state’s energy industry. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. When Commonwealth Court struck down Act 77 as unconstitutional (a ruling being appealed in the state Supreme Court), Gerow called it “great news for election integrity and the prevention of voter fraud and ballot harvesting.” Gerow’s name was also listed on a certificate to assign Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes to Trump, should a court challenge have succeeded. Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson; Michael Regan, son of President Ronald Regan; former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich; Matt Schlapp, executive director of CPAC; former U.S. Rep. Bob Walker; state Rep. Jerry Knowles; former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich Read more: Capital-Star: Capital-Star Q+A: Longtime GOP activist Charlie Gerow thinks he’s the man to beat in 2022 Inquirer: A GOP strategist who worked for Reagan will run for Pa. governor as a ‘conservative happy warrior’ Melissa Hart | Website Hart has served as both a member of Congress and as a state senator representing Allegheny County. She has said that her success in areas that had majority Democratic registration speaks to her electability. Hart has been working as a lawyer for the past 14 years and is currently an attorney at Hergenroeder Rega Ewing & Kennedy, a law firm based in Pittsburgh. Hart’s campaign has focused on deregulating corporations and lowering taxes, expanding the natural gas industries, and implementing more restrictive abortion laws. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Maybe. Hart told the Capital-Star she personally doesn’t like no-excuse mail voting, but would need to do more study before committing to a repeal. Endorsements: Spotlight PA could not identify any endorsements. Read more: Capital-Star: Capital-Star Q+A: Reentering public life for governor run, Melissa Hart talks regulations, abortion WGAL: One-on-one with Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Melissa Hart Doug Mastriano | Website A retired Army colonel, Mastriano began serving as a state senator in 2019 and has been called a Christian nationalist, a label he rejects. However, he has often shared Islamophobic posts on social media, the New Yorker reported. Mastriano has highlighted anti-abortion policy, fiscal conservatism, and Second Amendment rights as central tenets of his campaign. He led many anti-shutdown rallies during the early months of the pandemic. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. Mastriano has propagated false claims of widespread election fraud. He has been subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee over his communication with the Trump White House during attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He was also seen near the Capitol on the day of the insurrection. Endorsements: Michael Flynn, former national security advisor to Trump; state Rep. Rob Kauffman; state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz; conservative commentator and U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette; Gun Owners of America Read more: City & State PA: 5 takeaways from Doug Mastriano’s gubernatorial campaign launch Inquirer: What to know about Doug Mastriano and why he got subpoenaed in the Jan. 6 Capitol probe Bill McSwain | Website McSwain is a former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, where he had a contentious relationship with its elected officials. If elected governor, he has promised to focus on stimulating the economy and energy production, improving access to education, limiting access to abortion, dealing with the opioid epidemic, and “bringing back law and order.” Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. McSwain says no-excuse mail voting caused confusion and delayed the election results (something that can be blamed, in part, on the state’s lack of robust pre-canvassing time). Endorsements: Sean Parnell, a former candidate for U.S. Senate who dropped out after he lost custody of his children in a case that also revealed allegations of domestic abuse; state Rep. Kathy Rapp; Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs; Republican State Committee of Chester County Read more: Erie News Now: Meet the Candidates: Bill McSwain for Governor Inquirer: Bill McSwain was ‘angling to run for something’ as U.S. attorney. Now his run for governor is all about his time as a prosecutor. Dave White | Website White is the owner of an HVAC company and a former Delaware County Council member. He’s campaigning as a political outsider and someone with “real world” experience. In a press release announcing his candidacy, he called for allocating more funding to police, lowering taxes, and railed against “critical race theory” — an academic framework to study race in society and law that has been co-opted by right-wing activists as indoctrination by progressives — and “kids failing in schools.” On his website, White listed protecting Second Amendment rights, limiting access to abortion, and preventing transgender women from competing in women’s sports as priorities. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. White has said that no-excuse mail voting is a “disaster.” Endorsements: State Sen. Dan Laughlin, former Trump Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, Butler County GOP Read more: PoliticsPA: Who is Dave White and Why Is He Doing So Well? Zama is a cardiothoracic surgeon who lives in the Poconos and immigrated to the United States from Cameroon as a teenager on a student visa. With virtually no political experience, Zama believes his independence from the political establishment will distinguish him from the other candidates. Zama’s campaign has centered on education and health care, two things he says he has personally benefited from after immigrating to the United States. Supports repealing Pa.’s no-excuse mail voting law? Yes. Zama has said he supports its repeal and would want to set up a commission to look more deeply into the topic. Endorsements: Spotlight PA could not identify any endorsements. Read more: Capital-Star: Capital-Star Q+A: Pa. is sick and needs a doctor, says GOP Gov. candidate Nche Zama City & State PA: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Dr. Nche Zama promises to unite Pennsylvania Pocono Record: Renowned surgeon from the Poconos throws hat into ring for governor WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.

Gettysburg applies for major renovation grant; will reevaluate borough signage

Gettysburg Borough has re-applied for a large grant that if successful would give the town a major facelift. At their meeting on Monday the council added Lincoln Square and portions of Chambersburg St., Carlisle St., and York St. to their Baltimore Street Historic Pathway Revitalization Master Plan. The borough will commit about $451,000 of local funds for the work as part of a request for $9 million to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation through the 2022 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants program. Gable noted that $451,000 is a large number but only 4 percent of the overall construction budget. “This is about return on investment,” he said. Council President Wes Heyser said one of his goals is to bring as many federal tax dollars back to Gettysburg as possible. “You cannot do that without committing some of your local tax dollars,” he said. “It would be great if we can get those funds while federal dollars are flowing.” “It’s an exciting time for something so enormous to come back to Gettysburg,” said Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers. After hearing several council members say they had heard frequent complaints about the difficulty of finding the parking garage, the borough will consider improving signage across the town. The borough said there were over 5,000 signs in the borough and that some might need to be removed. Police Chief Robert Glenny said there were a lot of regulations and following signage guidelines was important for enforcement. In other news: The South St. project continues with sidewalk and curbing installations. Gas reinstallations on High St. are complete and curbs and sidewalks are being repaired. Paving is expected to begin in late April or May. Designs for the B.1 phase of the HAPBI bicycle trail are moving forward. Jennie Dillon was reappointed to the Human Relations Commission. Dillon has served one year on the board and was appointed for another 5 years. The next medicine takeback is on April 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at many locations around the county. Unused medications may also be dropped off at the borough office during office hours. The next shredding event will be held on May 20.  Adams County is offering a tire recycling event on Saturday May 21. For more information, call 717-334-0636 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email canders@adamscounty.us.

Gettysburg apologizes for trash hauler confusion; asks for input

“We apologize for the rough rollout of the transition,” said Gettysburg Borough Manager Charles Gable, referring to the change in trash haulers from Waste Connections to Waste Management that took place on April 1. “Waste Management did an extremely poor job in communicating with customers. They did not provide clear and consistent direction when customers called WM’s customer service line,” he said. “The public should know the borough staff did meet for an extensive period of time with WM in January,” said Gable.  “We left that feeling confident the transition would be smooth.” “The staff has spent an inordinate amount of time working on this issue,” said council member Matt Moon. “Almost every municipality in the county is having trouble with transitions on this cycle. Nobody is having an easy time with this transition.” Gable said the borough has been communicating with WM in an attempt to solve issues and that some have yet to be solved. The borough encouraged people to contact them with issues they are still facing. “We want to make sure we are documenting things correctly in case we get to a circumstance where we’re attempting to change our hauler,” said Borough President Wesley Heyser. “This is not a time to hesitate. If possible put [your concerns] into writing,” he said. “Be descriptive, because it’s been very bad.” Email addresses for borough council members can be found here.

Pa. election 2022: A guide to the primary race few voters are paying attention to

By Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletters. HARRISBURG — By now, most voters have likely heard about the congested, double-digit field of contenders jockeying in this year’s primary race for the chance to snag the state’s top job of governor. But there is another crowded primary contest unfolding with far less fanfare: that of lieutenant governor. In all, there are 12 people running to become Pennsylvania’s second-in-command — two more than in the governor’s race. That uneven math is the result of Pennsylvania’s quirky rules for electing top executives. The state is among a minority that elects its governors and lieutenant governors separately in the primary, but then as a single ticket in the general election. That election method has produced some odd pairings over the years, most recently in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first term, during which his icy relationship with then-Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, driven in part by how different they were in both style and personality, became one of the worst-kept secrets in the Capitol. On paper, as it stands now, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately during the primary election. Off the books, however, candidates often align early on and campaign together even in the months before the primary. That has been the case for this year’s May 17 primary race with Attorney General Josh Shapiro and state Rep. Austin Davis of Allegheny County on the Democratic end; and Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County and Teddy Daniels on the Republican side of the election ballot. But it’s all unofficial. One lawmaker has tried for years to change that. State Sen. Dave Argall (R., Schuylkill) introduced legislation back in 2017 to change the way voters select the lieutenant governor. His proposal would allow Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial nominees to choose a running mate, similar to how the president of the United States selects one. His measure, Argall said at the time, was inspired by the strained relationship between Wolf and Stack. Such a change would require a change to the state constitution, which takes time and effort. A proposed amendment must be approved by the legislature in two consecutive two-year sessions and the language must be identical both times. Then, voters have the final say, deciding via a ballot question. Argall’s bill passed for the first time in the 2019-2020 session. It appeared to be on track to be approved in the current two-year session — setting the stage for it to appear on the ballot this year — but the proposal has been laden with additional proposed election-related changes, clouding its future path. What remains constant for the moment are the duties of the office. The lieutenant governor’s job is often described as one of the best in the Capitol because it carries with it the clout of the executive — and pays $178,940 annually — without the work or pressures of being governor. The lieutenant governorship has some prescribed duties, including presiding over the 50-member state Senate and chairing the state Board of Pardons. But beyond that, lieutenant governors are only as powerful as governors choose to make them. A governor could delegate important research or advocacy work to their lieutenant. Wolf, for instance, tasked Lt. Gov. John Fetterman at the start of his second term with completing a report on attitudes toward legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana. Or they could ignore them completely. Here is who is running for the office: Democrats Austin Davis: A state representative from the Mon Valley near Pittsburgh, Davis worked for the Allegheny County government before becoming a lawmaker in 2018. Brian Sims: An attorney and advocate for the LGBTQ community and women’s rights, Sims, of Philadelphia, was elected in 2012 to the House of Representatives, becoming one of the legislature’s first openly gay members. Ray Sosa: A career banker and insurance agent from Montgomery County, Sosa also ran in 2018 for the job. He has been appointed by three governors to multiple state task forces, including ones on criminal justice and emergency management. Republicans John Brown: A former elected executive of Northampton County, Brown was the Republican party’s nominee for auditor general in 2016, but lost to Democrat Eugene DePasquale. Spotlight PA could not locate a campaign website for Brown. Jeff Coleman: A former legislator, the Central Pennsylvania resident is a longtime political consultant who has worked to elect conservatives and advance conservative causes. Teddy Daniels: A supporter of former President Donald Trump, Daniels is a retired police officer and Army combat veteran who founded a security/transport consulting firm. The Wayne County resident posted on social media that he was outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Carrie DelRosso: The Allegheny County resident and first-term lawmaker made headlines in 2020 when she defeated the minority leader in the state House. Russ Diamond: A Lebanon County businessman who also became a well-known government reform advocate in the mid-2000s, Diamond was later elected to the state House, where he is serving his fourth term. Chris Frye: The mayor of New Castle in Lawrence County, Frye has worked in federal reentry and workforce development programs and was an adjunct professor at Slippery Rock University. James Jones: The Montgomery County resident founded and runs an oil and petroleum products trading business, and has twice run for Congress in the past two decades, both times unsuccessfully. Rick Saccone: A Western Pennsylvania resident, Saccone is a former state lawmaker who made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2018. He was outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Clarice Schillinger: A Bucks County resident, Schillinger founded and ran political action committees to help elect school board candidates supportive of pushing back on pandemic-era restrictions on in-person learning. WHILE YOU’RE HERE… If you learned something from this story, pay it forward and become a member of Spotlight PA so someone else can in the future at spotlightpa.org/donate. Spotlight PA is funded by foundationsand readers like you who are committed to accountability journalism that gets results.