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Linglestown Gazette

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rummage sale Saturday in Linglestown

WHEN — Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 am to 5 pm

WHERE — St. Thomas United Church of Christ, 6490 Linglestown Rd., Harrisburg, PA 17112   (map)

ITEMS FOR SALE — holiday and seasonal decorations,doll collection, NEW stuffed animals, bedding, silk flowers, figurines, wreaths, placemats, napkins, throws, afghans, Christmas trees (5- 7 ft), artworks (paintings and framed prints, rugs, vases), microwaves, books (cook and novels), kitchen stuff, tea pot/cup collection and much more.

Be sure to stop by for an incredible selection of items and start your Christmas shopping.

All proceeds benefit Troop 10.

End your shopping with a visit to our BAKE TABLE!

Spaghetti Saturday in Colonial Park

Come join the
Central Pennsylvania Womyn's Chorus
for their annual spaghetti dinner

Saturday, Nov. 17, 4:30–8:30 pm

Colonial Park United Church of Christ, 5000 Devonshire Rd. (map)

Adults: $10
Seniors (age 62 and up) and Students with ID –$8; Kids under 10 – Free

Includes:  meat or vegetarian sauce, fresh salad, desserts, bread and beverages

Take out is available and includes great raffle items. Also, the chorus is supporting women artisans who will be displaying and selling their products ... good time to buy for the holidays!

Proceeds benefit Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus
For more info, visit CPWC's website
For more info, contact Cynthia at 717-564-0112

Thursday, November 15, 2012

B² feeling 'good' pain

B² ... no pain, no gain

I've been banging around the idea for quite some time to get my 50-something body into better physical condition. In short, I’m a 160-pound dude with the strength of a 99-pound weakling, and that's on my good days.

I know ... pretty pathetic! But, this is the kind of to-do item that is really easy to put off.

The stumbling block isn't that I lack athletic abilities. I played high school basketball and golf, competed as an amateur bicycle racer and ran in a few running races. Also, hiking the Appalachian Trail from start to finish could be in my future.

So, I have no problem sweating, huffing and puffing. What I've lacked for a few decades is a training partner.

My wife is a physical-fitness machine and she loves to call me "old man" due to my not-so-great fitness level. Pairing with her to get into shape would be a disaster – she'd leave me in the dust in nothing flat and love doing it. (For the record, I could outpace her running from time to time back in the mid-1980s.)

I've recently been experiencing a growing number of aches and pains – mainly a stiff right hip and shoulder – and knew it was time to take action to slow down the aging process.

Personal trainer Rene Seigrist

On a whim, I made a split-second decision to visit Core Results Personal Training on N. Mountain Road in the Linglestown Plaza. In no time flat co-owners Rene and Steve agreed to put me through the paces for a discounted price in exchange for me documenting my progress on Linglestown Gazette.

My first three weeks of training with Renee are nearly under my belt and predictably I'm a bit tired, stiff and sore.

But this is what I call "good" pain! I can already tell teaming up with Core Results is best decision I've made in decades.

Look out ... six-pack abs here I come!

Look for my first fitness update in a couple of months. In the meantime, I’m going to ask Rene for some fitness tips to encourage Gazette readers to get up and get active.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unarmed security officers to patrol at CD High winter events

Central Dauphin School Board voted to hire A.K.A. Security Services, a private security firm based in Lower Paxton, to work at sports games and dances held at Central Dauphin High School this winter.

The vote was 6-1, with Brian Faleshock casting the no vote. (Linda Dallago and Kristine Leber were absent.)

This was the first time since I resumed attending meetings last spring that I witnessed substantial discussion prior to a vote, and it was the first no vote cast in my presence during the same time period.

I applaud the board on these counts! (Now, let's see if the behind-the-doors executive sessions can become the exception rather than the rule.)

CLICK HERE for a news brief from The Patriot-News, HERE for story by WGAL TV-8 and HERE for story and video by WHTM abc 27.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

CD board approves two big-ticket items

Board members face decision Monday on security at winter events

Next board meeting Monday, Nov. 12
Central Dauphin East High School Lecture Hall
626 Rutherford Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
7:00 pm

On Nov. 5, Central Dauphin administrators were given the green light to purchase nearly $343,000 of reading books and hired a new director of special education at a salary of $100,000 per year plus benefits. Both items had not been discussed during recent school board meetings.

The purchase of reading books completed an upgrade of materials started a few years ago and will be used for students in kindergarten through second grade starting next fall.

Dr. Shirley Hunter said the new books are designed to improve the odds of students being on grade with their reading skills by third grade, are more rigorous than current reading books and will better prepare students to take standardized tests.

The readers are designed to allow teachers to work with a class that has students at different reading levels, said Rutherford Elementary School Principal Deron Doi.

Superintendent Carol Johnson said an immediate decision was needed to purchase the books because the offer from the book publisher would go away before the board’s next meeting on Nov. 12.

Prior to the board unanimously voting to approve the purchase, board members Brian Faleshock, Chris Judd, Janis Macut and Jay Wenger asked questions about the books and the process used to select them, the level of teacher support for the purchase and the time-sensitive nature of the publisher’s offer.

In the other major vote of the evening, the board unanimously approved hiring Ms. Lynda Lupp as the district’s director of special education to replace Dr. Francine Rassouli, who submitted a resignation on Oct. 1. For more info on this vote, CLICK HERE for a report by Mary Klaus of The Patriot-News.

Other notable items from the Nov. 5 board meeting:

At the request of Superintendent Johnson, AKA Security Services made a presentation on using unarmed, private security personnel instead of state troopers to work at winter athletic and special events. The district employed the firm at last school year's prom and its security guards were involved in the underage-drinking incident that occurred during the event.

Johnson said using AKA would cost less than troopers, may allow the district to stop using teachers to work security at winter school events and would provide a more well-rounded service than troopers.

ACTION ITEM — This proposal is on the agenda for a possible vote during the meeting this Monday, Nov. 12. The board faces a decision on whether to use unarmed security guards at winter events to save a few thousand dollars and possibly provide more well-rounded service than state troopers -or- continue to employ armed state troopers and teachers.

CLICK HERE for a news brief by Mary Klaus of The Patriot-News about the expected vote on hiring AKA Security Services. Be sure to check out what the AKA representative guaranteed that his company could do when it comes to guns and students.

Community activist Eric Epstein warned school officials that PPL electricity-distribution charges are going up over the next five years and urged them to build the higher cost into their financial plans.

Karen McConnell, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Administrative Operations, reported that this year’s financial audit has been completed and there were no findings.

She also went over five-year budget projections with the board that showed revenue shortages with various tax hikes for the 2013-2014 budget ranging from $3.7 million to $6.7 million.

Speaking of tax hikes, McConnell said the district's maximum property-tax hike allowed next by year by the state most likely would be 3.4 percent.

The board needs to commit by the end of January to not exceed the maximum state-allowed tax hike of 1.7 percent or seek an exception from the state for a total hike of 3.4 percent. (The state is considering exception requests to help districts deal with spiking contributions for teacher and support personnel pensions.)

Last year's tax hike was 3.3 percent, which added an estimated $54 to the school tax bill for owners of property assessed at $117,000, the district average.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO MEETINGS – Go to the rear of CD East High and park in the lot that is bordered by tennis courts and the gymnasium. Enter the building at the door located about 50 yards to the right of the gymnasium's main entrance. (You have to walk up a small flight of concrete steps to get to the door.) After entering the building, walk straight back the hallway to the Lecture Hall – the entrance is on the left side of the hallway.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Linglestown-area election results

Rep. Ron Marsico

Congrats go out to Rep. Marsico for winning another term of office, his 13th, and newcomer Rob Teplitz, who snagged the state Senate seat now held by retiring Sen. Jeffrey Piccola in a testy race with former Dauphin County GOP chief John McNally.

Lastly, thanks go out to Kelly McEntee for entering the race against Marsico and grabbing a good number of votes.

Sen.-elect Rob Teplitz


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Gazette publisher challenges CD officials to end 'Friday specials'

Below are comments that I made at Monday evening's Central Dauphin school board meeting prior to members voting to hire a new Director of Special Education at a salary of $100,000. (I'll post info on what took place at the meeting later this week.)

I’m not before you to object to hiring a Director of Special Education because I’m not knowledgeable enough about special education services offered by the district.

My comments are regarding the governmental process used to do the hiring.

I did a review of recent personnel reports and noted that the Oct. 15 report indicated that the current director had resigned effective Nov. 29, later changed to a Nov. 9 effective date.

No mention of the resignation and soon-to-come hiring was announced to the public during the Oct. 15 board meeting. The first notice of the hiring before the board tonight came on Nov. 2 when the Nov. 5 board meeting agenda was released to the public.

If things go per usual, the hiring will be done with a motion, a second and unanimous vote with no discussion or deliberation by board members.

This is what I call a “Friday special” — notice of a major vote under New Business shows up on Friday with a vote to take place on Monday evening.

This is a process that allows no room for citizen questions or involvement. As far as the board normally having no discussion prior to a vote, you as board members will have to explain that one.

Here are the questions I’d ask if there was time allotted for citizen involvement:

  • Why the rush?
  • Have parents of students who are in the special education program been given an opportunity to weigh in on the new hire?
  • Given the financial constraints facing the district, are that other options for providing oversight of the special education program other than hiring a big-ticket employee?

Here’s the bottom line: If the board wants citizen involvement in the school district’s affairs, the way you govern will need to be tweaked.

I have two suggestions:

I’d like to start a dialogue with board members to make sure everyone is on the same page about the provisions of the state’s Sunshine Law.

I recommend that the board not take a vote on agenda items that appear under New Business so the proposal or issue can be properly introduced and discussed in public by board member and administrators. The earliest a vote could take place is the second time an issue is on an agenda.

SAVE THE DATE — Citizens for CD Schools, a new group that aims to advance local public education, will be holding a kickoff meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Lower Paxton Township Municipal Center on Prince Street.


Crash, another media invasion in Linglestown

One of three vehicles that collided Tuesday afternoon at Fast Lane Auto Wash on N. Mountain Road.

TV satellite trucks started to gather during the 7 am hour to capture scenes of ex-Penn State president Spanier's arraignment on criminal charges stemming from the Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Penn State media circus does Linglestown

As predicted, the media's traveling circus landed in Linglestown Friday afternoon to report on the arraignment of ex-Penn State officials Curly and Schultz. I overheard WGAL TV-8 reporter Barbara Barr say ex-Penn State president Spanier was excused from showing up because he had a funeral to attend.

The court hearing ended around 2:20 pm, but satellite trucks remained in the parking lot through late afternoon to do live reports.

Friday, November 02, 2012

GIANT on Linglestown Road begins selling beer

Now you can pick up a six pack of your favorite beer at GIANT grocery store in Dauphin County. It may not sound like a new concept, but it's the first of its kind in the county.

- From WHTM abc 27

Thursday, November 01, 2012

PA’s top scandals go through Linglestown

Media mob at Penn State officials' arraignment last year in Linglestown

Few know that a nondescript office building along N. Mountain Road in front of Linglestown Middle School has become the starting point for Pennsylvania’s most infamous criminal cases over the last few years.

Former top state lawmakers and legislative assistants – several now behind bars – came before District Justice William C. Wenner recently to be arraigned and go through a preliminary hearing on political corruption charges.

Wenner became the go-to man for these cases when a Harrisburg district justice dismissed corruption charges against a state lawmaker who eventually was sent to the pokey.

Now Wenner is hearing cases linked to Penn State’s Sandusky scandal.

Look for a parade of satellite trucks to roll through the area early Friday afternoon when Wenner conducts an arraignment for two Penn State officials. CLICK HERE for the story.

By the way, tomorrow's court hearing is being held in Dauphin County because the alleged crimes were committed during Sandusky grand jury hearings held in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Linglestown area dodges Sandy's wrath

Workers clean up a downed tree near Turkey Hill Minit Mart on N. Mountain Rd. in Linglestown.

The area didn't go unscathed as superstorm Sandy unleashed wind gusts that probably topped 50 mph Monday evening, but it could have been a whole lot worse – think New York City and the Jersey Shore.

I toured the Linglestown area Tuesday morning and mainly spotted downed trees, and members of my coffee and church groups reported spotty power outages.

The Linglestown Gazette newsroom got nicked – a handful of shingles were sent sailing and a piece of aluminum fascia bit the dust. My contractor, Jim of Senior Home Repairs, estimated it would take about $300 to get things back into tiptop shape. Also, a hat tip goes out to Andy Enders of Enders Insurance Associates for checking to see if my gang and house survived Frankenstorm.

CLICK HERE for photos of storm damage.