State Representative Torren Ecker, who was arrested in an alcohol-related crash in the county on April 20, visited the Adams County Council of Governments monthly meeting on Wednesday morning.
Addressing what he called “the elephant in the room,” Ecker told the gathered municipal and school district representatives that he apologized for his actions. “I am thankful for those of you who have reached out. I am not hurt. I will continue to work on my character and prove I am the person you thought I was,” he said.
The single-person collision caused no injuries. Ecker represents the 193rd House District which includes parts of Adams County.
Ecker said the state budget process is in the negotiating phase in Harrisburg, adding that he saw nothing “too egregious,” with no tax increase on the horizon and strong revenue expectations. He is optimistic that Governor Josh Shapiro wants to have conversations. “There will be compromise in the budget,” he added, referring to the Democratic-held house and Republican-held Senate.
In other ACCOG business, Adams County Commissioner Randy Phiel announced the anticipated opening of three new centers in the area.
Nicholas House, a sober living center, will be located in the former Mercy House, which closed in December due to financial issues. Phiel said the new facility would likely open by the end of May.
A new glass recycling facility is also planned for the county, with details to come later.
Now under construction, the new Adams County Election Office will move from its current home in the courthouse in August. The new office will be located at the Emergency Services Center. “The space will allow storage of all ballot boxes and voting machines,” said Phiel.
According to Karl Pietrzak, President and CEO of Destination Gettysburg, tourism is looking up. Pietrzak said hotel occupancy increased nine percent over the first quarter of last year and that he anticipates visitors will enjoy the new venues like the county museum, Beyond the Battle, and the opening of a new food hall, Savorhood, on Baltimore Pike. While hospitality employment continues to rise, Pietrzak said many business managers and owners struggle to find employees.
2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Civil War Battle, which will likely attract more visitors. Even though the economy is volatile, Pietrzak said he believes Gettysburg’s affordability and easy access will encourage people to visit.
Comments from municipal leaders concerned the 40-year battle for local police speed-radar use and what is seen as an overreach of the regulatory authority in many areas, such as water testing. Ecker said the controversial OSHA bill would likely get through the House but not the Senate in its current form.
Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.