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Linglestown Gazette: August 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

NO EXCUSES train bound for CD schools

Central Dauphin School District officials need you and me to help address tough economic times. To move in that direction, I'm encouraging you to do a simple thing on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

CLICK HERE to hear a very special message from me, , and then click on my photo just for fun.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CORRECTION: Band Fair/Pigskin Preview kicks off tonight at 5:30 pm

I screwed up the day the preview event will be held at Landis Field. Rest assured, today is the day, Wednesday, Aug. 29.

From 5:30-7:00 pm the marching band will work in "sectionals," and they will perform their 2012 field show at 7:00 pm.

CLICK HERE for more details if you're not in the know.

Thanks to all of you who pointed out my boo-boo. No excuses!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SAVE THE DATES — Linglestown-area events

NOTE: I'll try to post additional info about the happenings listed below prior to event dates.

Thursday, Sept. 6 ... Linglestown Garden Clubs Flower Show, Linglestown Fire Hall, noon – 7 pm

Saturday, Sept. 8 ... Car Show at St. Andrew's in the Valley Episcopal Church, noon – 5 pm, CLICK HERE for details. Rain date is Sunday, Sept. 9.

Sunday, Sept. 9 ... Basket Bingo at Linglestown Fire Hall, doors open at 11 am, free early-bird game at 12:30 pm

Tuesday, Sept. 11 ... Kickoff meeting of Central Dauphin citizens' group, St. Thomas Roasters coffee house, 7 – 8 pm

Tuesday, Sept. 25 ... Linglestown Women's Club celebrates their 60th anniversary, Linglestown Life United Methodist Church, 6:30 pm

Saturday, Sept. 29 ... Linglestown Fire Company Auxiliary's Pancake Breakfast, 7 –11 am

Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 20 – 21, Annual Fall Festival sponsored by Linglestown Merchants' Association

Monday, August 27, 2012

You ready for some CD High band and football action?

Band Fair/Pigskin Preview
this Wednesday, Aug. 29

Come out to Landis Field, play some games, dunk the staff in the dunk tank and of course check out all the great music the students have been working on for the football season.

From 5:30-7:00 pm the marching band members will work in "sectionals," showing off everything they have been working so hard at this summer.

And then, at 7:00 pm the Central Dauphin High School Ram Band will take the field "dressed to impress" in their brand new uniforms that were purchased after a $50,000 capital campaign fundraising effort! They will perform their 2012 Field Show ON FIRE!

Following the show, the 2012 CD High Ram football team will kickoff what we all hope will be a repeat championship year with team introductions.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

NO EXCUSES campaign launched

4-Minutes That Could Change
Your Community And Your Life

This is the start of a campaign that could be big, really big, for the Linglestown area and the Central Dauphin School District.

The audio message gives you the who, what and why behind the NO EXCUSES campaign that I'm kicking off today.

You'll hear how the idea popped into my head and two ways that you can join the campaign. The message is short, sweet and to the point.

Please give it a listen with NO EXCUSES. Just do it!

Related link: Everything is simple. Nothing is easy. (Author: Johnny B. Truant)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Linglestown weekend happenings

This weekend's offerings include rocking down with blues tunes and running for a good cause.

On Friday evening, my man
Sterling Koch will be filling St. Thomas Roasters coffee house with the sounds of his Steel Guitar Blues event, 8-10 pm, free admission.

And on Saturday, those of you who like to jog and run can head out to Central Dauphin High School to get a workout by participating in Colin's 5K Run that benefits the Colin M. Nosworthy Track and Field Teammate Scholarship Fund, race starts at 9 am.

CLICK HERE for more info and to register.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Linglestown resident on national TV tonight

UPDATE — Zac didn't make it to the semi final round of the show.

Linglestown-area resident and Central Dauphin High grad Zac Gordon, aka The Horse, is scheduled to appear on tonight's episode of America's Got Talent on NBC at 9 pm. (Comcast channel 3 or HD channel 808 on the Harrisburg system)

Below is Zac's description on Facebook of his style of entertainment:

"ex-gymnast with balls of steel ... provides/preforms flips, slams, aggressiveness, yelling, and majestic like horse dances"
You can help Zac tonight by voting for his act during the show. Hey, I'm game ... I plan to check it out.

If you're the daring type, CLICK HERE to see why shock jock Howard Stern declared Zac the "King of Nutshots." Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In case you missed the show, here's Horse's performance ...

WHTM TV-27 report on LP ban on fireworks shows

abc27 WHTM

Monday, August 20, 2012

CD schools succeeding despite failing test scores

At Monday’s board meeting, Central Dauphin Superintendent Carol Johnson got out in front of a story that likely will show up in the mainstream media sooner than later – the district failed to meet state and federal targets for students’ standardized test scores.

Johnson explained that the targets sharply increased this year, making it nearly impossible for many of the district’s school buildings to make the grade.

“The government changed the rules in the midst of the game,” Johnson said.

She pointed out the Linglestown Elementary, which had met standards with flying colors in the past, came up short because economic disadvantaged students as a group didn’t have high enough test scores.

“If you can call Linglestown Elementary a failing school, we will not meet your personal standards,” she said.

Johnson’s comments mirrored those made in an op-ed piece by another Harrisburg-area school superintendent that appeared in Sunday’s edition of The Patriot-News.

Board President Ford Thompson said the district is succeeding when 90 percent of CD grads and 78 percent of CD East grads are continuing their education.

Below are other noteworthy tidbits from Monday evening’s meeting:

* The district is in the third year of an energy-conservation program that has netted savings of $1.42 million dollars through July 2012 as compared to 2009 usage statistics. The program aims to reduce use of electricity, natural gas and water.

Eric Epstein, who is an energy consultant, commended district officials for dong a good job with the energy program.

* The board unanimously approved the employment agreement for Dr. Norman Miller, the district’s new assistant superintendent for academic operations. Miller’s salary was not disclosed.

* Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Administration Karen McConnell reported that the district had just under $23 million in the bank at the end of July.

* The board adopted an Internet safety and cyber bullying plan for students as required by a federal program that provides up to $200,000 of discounts and reimbursements each year for the district’s technology expenses.

* A series of public-workshop meetings will be held the second meeting of each month starting Sept. 24 to discuss enrollment trends at the district’s 19 school buildings and the possible need to close some buildings. Meetings will be held 6:30–7:30 pm. The regular school board meeting will start at 7:30 pm.

* Board members Stephen Smith, Brian Faleshock and Chris Judd were absent.

CLICK HERE for an article published by The Patriot-News about the district's standardized test scores failing to meet government targets.


Patriot-News reports LP fireworks ban

Today's edition of The Patriot-News includes an in-depth look at Lower Paxton supervisors' decision to ban fireworks shows in the township due to unexploded shells found at Koons Park in July.

CLICK HERE to read to story that includes quotes from a Linglestown Fire Company official who disagreed with the move.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Real-life story: Linglestown Truck-O-Rama

Oh the things you see while working away on the porch at St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown.

A mini-drama of sorts unfolded before my eyes Thursday morning that points to a leftover item that needs to be addressed in the new and improved village that now sports two roundabouts.

It all started with a trucker moseying his 18-wheeler past the coffee house. I got a look at the burly dude and he was obviously trying to sort something out as he crept closer and closer to the square's roundabout that, by the way, is not designed for monstrous trucks.

Thankfully, he navigated the roundabout without ripping out plants or running over curbs.

Then the fun began ...

The trucker got turned around somewhere and made a second voyage through the square. It turns out that he was trying to offload several huge bags of coffee beans at Roasters.

Roasters owner Java Geoff ran across the street to strategize with the trucker. They decided to park the rig along Linglestown Road directly across from the shop and try to get the deed done without causing traffic to backup.

As is the usual case, some muscular men – that's not me – sprung into action. They dodged traffic to get to the truck, took on bone-crushing heavy bags of beans and carted them into the shop at break-neck pace.

In the midst of this flurry of action to guarantee an ongoing flow of our favorite craft coffees, who shows up but one of Lower Paxton's finest. The officer put on this emergency lights, sounded his siren, pulled his car in front on oncoming traffic and began policing.

After a quick assessment of the situation, he threatened to give the trucker a big fine for being in a no-trucker zone and told him to immediately move his rig to allow a growing line of traffic to move through the square.

Our trucker friend – remember he's delivering our supply of caffeine – was frustrated because he was merely trying to make a local delivery. That's his job, right?

Geoff and the posse of customers quickly lugged the last bag across the street, the trucker handed Geoff a bill and went on his way with the cop on his tail.

Fortunately, the officer decided against issuing a ticket, but this tale points to the need for Lower Paxton Township and PennDOT to address the heavy truck traffic that continues to flow through Linglestown.

I'll have more on this later, but in the meantime please weigh in on this issue by leaving comments on this post.


CD board slated to approve big-ticket employment contract

The big-ticket item on Monday's Central Dauphin School Board meeting is a planned vote on a four-year employment contract for Dr. Norman Miller, who was hired earlier this month as the assistant superintendent for academic operations. The meeting will be held in CD East High's lecture hall starting at 7 pm.

Miller's proposed contract gives the board an opportunity to move toward more openness by opting to give a thumbnail sketch of Miller's compensation package prior to voting. At a minimum, it would be appropriate for his annual salary to be announced to taxpayers and others who are in the audience.

When employment contracts for Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson and Assistant Superintendent For Finance and Administration Karen McConnell were approved earlier this summer, salary information was only given to the media after the public meeting was adjourned.

I plan to attend the meeting and post a blow-by-blow account of what takes place.

To get detailed info about Monday's meeting agenda, follow the instructions below:

To view the agenda, CLICK HERE and then click on "Aug. 20, 2012 (Mon)" located in the box on the left side of the web page, and then click on "View the Agenda" in the box for the Regular Board Meeting for Aug. 20.

On the agenda page, you can click on agenda items to get details about specific issues that will be before the board Monday evening. Some items may have documents that you can download and view.

Finally, click on the CD logo on this post to go to the home page of the district's website.

If you liked this post, please subscribe to Linglestown Gazette to receive FREE email updates. CLICK HERE to pave the way to staying in touch with what's happening in your backyard.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's 'cool' to be involved in CD affairs

Hey, the fledgling Central Dauphin citizens' group got some press today in The Patriot-News thanks to reporter Mary Klaus who covers the district.

The article mentions my plan to hold an organizational meeting for the group after Labor Day. I hope to set the date next week.

In the meantime, please do me a favor by subscribing to the Gazette for email updates so you don't miss important stuff that shows up on the blog from time to time.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Linglestown wins baseball playoffs with walk-off homer

Sean Frailey
Linglestown Twilight's veteran first baseman Sean Frailey erased Palmyra's one-run  lead with a dramatic walk-off, three-run homer Saturday at Koons Park.

With the win, our hometown team added the East Shore Twilight League playoff title to the regular season crown they won in late July.

I missed celebration due to a family event, so CLICK HERE for a game report by Lloyd Reigle of The Patriot-News, and HERE for coverage by Lebanon Daily News.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Linglestown closes in on baseball title with epic win

Linglestown's Bryan Stovall (second from right) gets high fives after blasting a game-winning homer over the black wall

It sounds trite, but game four of the East Shore Twilight League championship playoff series was one of those games that no one deserved to lose.

The scoreboard showed a string of zeros Friday evening as Linglestown Twilight and Palmyra locked horns in a pitchers' duel for seven innings of regulation play and one extra inning at the In The Net sports complex in Palmyra.
Bryan Stovall

Finally, Linglestown catcher Bryan Stovall put our hometown team in the lead in the ninth inning with a towering home run off Palmyra's Ryan Dove that cleared the left-field wall with plenty to spare.

But, Palmyra wasn't about to give up the ship.

They stormed back against Pete Hayden, Linglestown's top pitcher, in the home half of the inning with singles by Corey Lamoureux and Dove. Hayden retired the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout.

Palmyra shortstop Dustin Stuck then slapped a single to right field and Lamoureux was off to the races trying to score and tie the game from second base. Linglestown outfielder Kyle Hollingsworth cleanly fielded the ball and threw a laser to Stovall who blocked the plate and tagged out Lamoureux to end the game.

Winning hurler Pete Hayden
The victory puts Linglestown up three games to one in the best-of-seven series and gives the team a chance to win the playoff crown Saturday at Koons Park. First pitch is set for 3:30 pm.

Twilight notes ... Hayden pitched all nine innings (regulation games are seven innings) to run his record this season to 11-1. ... Third baseman Scott Montgomery came up with a fielding gem in the seventh inning to snuff out a Palmyra scoring opportunity. With runners on second and third with one out, he snagged a sharply hit ball down the line, tagged out the runner at third and then completed the double play by throwing out the runner at first to end the inning. ... CLICK HERE for game report from Lebanon Daily News.


Germans like St. Thomas Roasters' java

The morning crew that meets on the porch at St. Thomas Roasters in Linglestown informed me that visiting engineers working for TE Connectivity, formerly Tyco, are gaga for Java Geoff's brew.

"German coffee is top-notch stuff," said honorary Linglestown Mayor George Kunkle, "so to get a ringing endorsement from Germans is saying something."

The engineers said they're packing some beans away to take home to their homeland.

Frank Cotolo
In other news about the coffee house, entertainer extraordinaire Frank Cotolo of Grantville will be the featured musical entertainer Friday night (Aug. 10) from 8-10 pm, free admission.

Those who know Frank are taking bets on how many songs he'll sing the whole way through. My money is on three.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Suggestions needed — Citizens' group name?

Help me, please!
I'm fishing around for a name for the grassroots group that would help Central School District deal with the tough times confronting districts throughout our state.

My aim is to use a name that is NOT confrontational, like CD Watch.

I like the sound of Alliance for CD Schools. A reader on the Gazette's Facebook page suggested a tweak on this idea — Citizens Alliance for CD Schools.

Feedback would be appreciated along with other names to consider. Please leave a comment or send email.


Playoff Baseball: Linglestown's last-inning rally falls short

Linglestown Twilight plated three runs in the seventh inning Wednesday evening and had the tying runner on second base, but Palmyra snuffed out the rally with a double play and an unassisted out at first base to win 4-3.

The turning point of the game was a controversial three-run homer in the second inning by Palmyra shortstop Dustin Stuck. He hit a deep shot into the right-field corner that appeared to bounce, hit the foul pole and come back into the field. The umpires awarded Stuck with a home run even though they didn't get a good look at the hit.

Our guys still lead the best-of-seven playoff championship series 2-1. Game four will be played Friday at In The Net in Palmyra.

CLICK HERE for a game report by Jeff Dewees of The Patriot-News.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Free skateboarding event this Saturday

A skateboarding event is scheduled this Saturday, Aug.11, at Lower Paxton Township's George Park from 10 am-1 pm.

It is free to skate. Helmets and pads are required, along with a signed waiver form.

There will be food for purchase (an ice cream truck will be there and the organizers will sell drinks and possibly hot dogs and pizza).

This event is sponsored by The Partnership For Hope and Colonial Park Baptist Church.

Linglestown two wins away from baseball crown

Marc Frailey hit key homer
Linglestown’s slugging offense showed no sign of slowing down Tuesday in the East Shore Twilight League championship series, downing defending champs Palmyra 6-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Game three will be played at Koons Park tonight with a 5:45 pm first pitch.

CLICK HERE for a report on Tuesday's game by Jeff Dewees of The Patriot-News.

And CLICK HERE for an account of the game from Lebanon Daily News. The story includes a photo of Linglestown catcher Bryan Stovall putting a tag on a Palmyra runner.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Scenes from Lower Paxton's Night Out event

A good crowd turned out for the 2012 Night Out for Public Safety at George Park that was coordinated by the Lower Paxton Township Police Department.

I hung out with the Linglestown Area Civic Association members Doug Kepler, Rebecca James, Bill Minsker and Andrew Enders. And while taking a tour of the event, I ran into Lower Paxton Township Supervisors Bill Seeds and Bill Hawk, township manager George Wolfe, Linglestown Fire Chief Bill Payne and Don Enders of Enders Insurance Agency.

(l. to r.) Andrew Enders, Rebecca James and Doug Kepler (yellow hat and shorts) man the Linglestown Area Civic Association table
Linglestown and Colonial Park fire trucks frame a hot air balloon
Lower Paxton Variety Band got the crowd jazzed up with some upbeat music
LP Public Works Dept. displayed their trucks that were shined up for the event

RELATED LINKSLower Paxton Variety Band, Enders Insurance Agency

Linglestown goes one up in sandlot baseball final

Linglestown Twilight, the village's entry in the East Shore Twilight League, looked sharp Monday in a 5-2 win over Palmyra at Koons Park in game one of a best-of-seven championship series.

I cut out early to attend the CD school board meeting, but Andrew Sorgi of The Patriot-News has you covered with a good game report. CLICK HERE to read it.

Game two is at Palmyra this evening and action returns to Koons Park on Wednesday with first pitch at 5:45 pm.


Monday, August 06, 2012

CD board drops pay hikes from agenda

Here's a blow-by-blow account of Monday night's Central Dauphin School Board meeting that was attended by about 30 members of the public, three TV news crews and Patriot-News reporter Mary Klaus. Ms. Erin Grady was the only absent board member.

Two minutes into the meeting the night's big issue - a proposed 2-percent pay hike for the district's 76 administrators - was taken off the agenda. The board did not offer insights into the issue that received significant media coverage prior to the meeting.

Later in the meeting, the board unanimously voted to hire Dr. Norman J. Miller as the district's Assistant Superintendent for Academic Operations. His hiring is conditioned on a written, four-year employment agreement being finalized. Miller has held a similar position in the Altoona school district.

During PUBLIC COMMENTS, Eric Epstein discussed the lack of comments by board members during board meetings. And Ryan Traynor commented on the proposed pay hikes, saying the proposal would have been a backdoor maneuver because the salary increases were not included in the 2012-13 budget process that concluded in June.

I updated the board on plans to start a citizens' group called CD Watch. The goals of the group would be (1) to have citizens attend all public meetings and file reports on the group's website, (2) to create a place for open discussion about district affairs and (3) to educate the citizens about all aspects of the district and issues before the school board.

I also called for the board to start holding non-voting, public workshop meetings to give the public opportunities to hear the board discuss issues.

Board President Ford Thomas then said workshop sessions would be held prior to regular meetings starting in September.

Under UNFINISHED BUSINESS, the board unanimously approved an employment agreement to expand the business manager post held by Karen McConnell. Her new title is Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Administration. The agreement runs through June 2017 and her salary was not disclosed.

Before voting, board members Chris Judd, Brian Faleshock and Jay Wenger expressed appreciation for the service McConnell has provided to the district.

"Recognition [for McConnell] is overdue but justified," said Wenger, who works with school districts and counties throughout the state.

Thompson said if there's a finer business manager in Pennsylvania he'd like to know about it.

Under NEW BUSINESS, McConnell corrected information published in today's Patriot-News about the financial status of the district. She said the district is coming out of the gate knowing that projected expenses exceed projected revenues by about $5.5 million for the 2013-14 budget, not the $10 million reported in the newspaper. She added that this is a typical situation for this time of year.

As part of the treasurer's report, McConnell said the district currently has over $23 million in the bank.

The board heard a presentation on a proposal to revamp and increase fees for groups to use school district facilities. This issue could be finalized at the Aug. 20 board meeting.

Regarding the fees, Todd Love, head of the CD Area Basketball Association, said the proposed policy would negatively impact his group by increasing expenses by $20,000-$25,000 per year. The association works with 500-550 kids.

Lastly, the board voted to hire a sports facility company at a cost of $44,100 to oversee planning and bidding for major improvements at Landis Field, the district's sports stadium.

The estimated costs of improvements are $515,350 for turf field and track repairs, $550,000 for bleacher repairs and $400,000 to upgrade the stadium lighting.

If the board approves all or some of the repairs, the costs would come from the district's capital-improvement fund, not the budget approved by the board every June.

Thompson said the stadium is an important resource for the district and delaying improvements could lead to the stadium being unusable sometime in the future. The light standards were erected in the 1970s and other repairs have come due, he said.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:24 pm.

CLICK HERE for a report from The Patriot-News that focuses on the proposed pay hikes and other salary issues.

CLICK HERE for story from WGAL that includes quotes by me and  Lower Paxton resident and community activist Eric Epstein.

Next school board meeting will be held Monday, August 20.


Sunday, August 05, 2012

CD administrators slated to get pay hike

On the heels of dozens of teacher furloughs, a two-percent pay hike for Central Dauphin school administrators is on the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting in the CD East High Lecture Hall at 7 pm.

The board also plans to approve an employment agreement for Karen McConnell, the district’s business manager who was promoted to a new position under the district’s revised setup called Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Administrative Operations.

Also on the administration side of things, Dr. Norman Miller has been recommended to fill a newly named position called Assistant Superintendent for Academic Operations. I did a Google search for Dr. Miller and it appears he has a similar position in the Altoona Area School District.

I’ll be live blogging at the meeting and plan to update the board on tentative plans to form a watchdog group called CD Watch.

Please subscribe to Linglestown Gazette to receive FREE email updates. CLICK HERE to join the growing number of Gazette subscribers.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Big jam at St. Thomas Roasters

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Linglestown weekend happenings

* Keystone Concert Band will perform its Patriotic Concert this Saturday, Aug. 4, from 5-6 pm at St. Andrews of the Valley Episcopal Church in Linglestown, 4620 Linglestown Road.

And, don't forget about this happening next week ...

* Lower Paxton's Night Out for Public Safety will be held August 7 at George Park. CLICK HERE for details.

Fireworks continue to be hot topic at Koons Park

Problems prompt decision to cancel Labor Day fireworks in LP

I saw Lower Paxton police and Linglestown firefighters searching the park for unexploded fireworks earlier this week. There were two firetrucks parked along Balthaser Street, which borders the park's eastern border, and about a dozen men were combing a large area in the center of the park.

A similar search was conducted last month.

According to a report from Stray Winds Area Neighbors (that's SWAN for those of you who have been following along for awhile), the Lower Paxton supervisors decided earlier this week to cancel the Paxtonia Fire Company's Labor Day fireworks as a result of the unresolved issues at Koons Park. Future fireworks displays in the township will be up for discussion in the future, the report said.

Call 911 if you find a firework shell or hear fireworks being set off at the park.

CLICK HERE for more on this situation from The Patriot-News.

Unexploded fireworks plague Koons Park

CLICK HERE for an updated post on this topic.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Linglestown headed for baseball championship series

Linglestown Twilight, the village's sandlot baseball team, whipped Middetown tonight 10-2 to qualify for the championship series. CLICK HERE to read a game report by Jeff Dewees, a sports writer with the The Patriot-News.

Twilight will play the winner of the series between Hummelstown and Palmyra for the playoff crown. The first game most likely will be contested at Koons Park this Saturday at 1 pm or Sunday at a time to be determined, according to Dewees' report.