Living in Hanover

Living in Hanover

'Apparently a blog about living in Hanover'

Parking’s Not That Complicated

A bunch of residents near Hanover Hospital came to borough council Wednesday to try and address the problems of parking in the facility’s neighborhoods. I have heard of this before – street parking taken up all day by employees, leaving residents searching for a place to park.

Normally, I am in the “it’s public parking – anyone can use it” side of the equation. I would feel bad for residents, but stick to that line of thinking. Then Barb Krebs had to open her big mouth.

“It’s a complex issue and it’s not an easy fix,” said Barbara Krebs, Hanover Borough manager. “The hospital has their policies and we can’t ticket people for public parking.”

That’s what she said at the meeting (or told the paper after the meeting – I was officiating last night and, quite frankly, probably would not have gone even if I was available because I am kind of sick of this group of yahoos). Once again, it’s time to call BS on the manager’s, well, BS. Council can easily create parking restrictions on certain streets that benefit the residents. Just Google “Pennsylvania borough residential parking” and look at all the boroughs around the state who have all kinds of programs.

Sure, it may involve a fee. Sure, it may require some work. Sure, the hospital might not immediately jump on board. But that’s why we pay you the big bucks, Barb (and you make sure your friends make big bucks too because what’s being in charge without stacking the deck in favor of people who kiss your behind).

It would only be complex if you decided to make it complex. And you will because you don’t want to talk to people or help residents or do anything that someone in your position should do.

Because if you did, the downtown parking plan that was given to you more than a year ago may have done more than serve as a coaster in your office. I bet if these folks wanted to rezone their properties to cram a bunch of efficiency apartments (and threatened to sue you if you didn’t do exactly what they wanted), you’d bend over backwards to help them.

 

m4s0n501

Brian January 29, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

Surviving Hanover

Something amazing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Something that some people thought could never happen. I enjoyed closing 2014 with a bang.

I walked through the streets of Hanover alone in the evening and no one hurt me.

Now before I go on having fun, let me be clear – I am not making fun of anyone who has actually been victimized by a crime locally or anywhere else. I feel terrible for folks who have to go through things like that.

I am, however, making fun of people who take small pieces of information and conflate them into a larger narrative that just is not true.

This happens all too often with the state of Hanover. Sometimes it’s in reaction to something horrible, like the assault and robbery of an older couple on Moul Avenue last week. An event like that certainly should remind us that bad things can and do happen sometimes, even in our backyard.

But that does not mean that everyone’s personal safety is constantly at risk, like you see some people intimate if you get involved in discussions on local issues on social media.

The recent talk of revitalization efforts on Hanover spurred some of these false fears. Some people reacted to the stories in the paper about what was, what is and what will be happening downtown with comments about how they felt unsafe downtown.

I just laughed. Just look at the news, especially the police log which is printed on a regular basis. People aren’t getting jumped at random intervals in alleys, much less on main roads like Routes 94, 194 and 116. The notion that people enjoying downtown businesses put themselves at risk is just silly.

That’s why I tested the theory one night between Christmas and New Year’s. I wanted to put myself in harm’s way just to show people that it’s possible to survive. I also may have been better off not driving and was just a mile or so from my house. But we’ll go with courageous crusader instead of “guy who knows when he isn’t OK to drive.”

I ventured out on Carlisle Street and then headed to (street redacted so as not to compromise future walks in public at night) and crossed to (I will not give away my location to the hoodlums who may be lurking) before heading straight for my house.

I arrived safe and sound. I also got a nice little workout, which is an added bonus of this mode of transportation. Far from dodging gangs of opportunistic bandits, I think I saw three people. On a Saturday night around 11 p.m.

Hopefully I see more bodies on the street in 2015 when I put my life in my hands again. The opening of two craft breweries will hopefully give others the courage to head into downtown after the sun has gone down.

Those people can rest assured that I stand before them as a survivor. I managed to take a leisurely walk through town without any major incidents. Stranger things have happened.

Brian January 13, 2015 2 Comments Permalink

Santa Is Here

For many years, we didn’t pay attention to the arrival of Santa downtown even though we live within a stones throw of the parade route. Our daughter would spend Thanksgiving weekend with my in-laws for a long time so we had no real need.

Then they added the bicycle decorating contest, and we’re regulars now. I walked with her for a couple of years and now take part with the Lions Club.

The growth of the parade has been fantastic to watch. It kind of mirrors the growth downtown. I saw a bunch of people I knew along the route and then walked around downtown a little bit before heading home (but not until I got a coffee at Reader’s Cafe).

I plan on spending more time downtown this weekend to check out the Christmas Tree Wars trees. What a great idea. Here are some parade photos.

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Brian November 28, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

Missed Opportunity

I have railed some on Facebook about some of the issues out of Wednesday’s borough council meeting, particularly related to the amusement tax debate and the duplicitousness of Councilman Sonny Eline (especially in the light of his 2011 proclamations about how he wanted to revitalize downtown), but that wasn’t the only thing that happened Wednesday showing the poor leadership on Frederick Street.

I may get some of the details wrong since I had to leave before this item came up so let me know if I need correcting. One of the Miscreation Brewing owners came to talk about the possibility of outside seating for the business on Center Square. The topic had been on a committee agenda earlier in the month, but was not on the council agenda. He spoke during the public comment period at the end.

From what I heard, he needed direction from the borough on what was allowed because it affected their application to the Liquor Control Board. They could go back and amend things in the future, but that cost more money for fees, something every small business wants to avoid, especially in the beginning. Like I said, I wasn’t there so am fuzzy on the details, but the result appeared to be “we need to research this and will get back to you even though you would like an answer now to avoid extra hearing fees in the future, but we can’t tell you now.”

(Again, let me know if I screwed that up, but I have heard this version from more than one person.)

Listen, I know governments can’t always move on a dime. Sometimes research does need to take place, but at the very least some concern about wanting to work in partnership with a business should show through. That’s not the borough way, of course, as Barb Krebs hides behind the huge monitor in front of her at the table so she can avoid actually engaging with the residents she serves.

But it’s not just their lack of customer service that bugs me. It’s that they already had this discussion three years ago and didn’t take any action even though Eline said he didn’t want to limit opportunities like the one Miscreation is aiming for!

The story clearly says there is no open container law in the borough. Unless that has changed (am I wrong?), the borough should have pointed that out to Miscreation and/or offered to work with them on the ins and outs of the existing laws so they don’t run afoul of the LCB.

So why didn’t Wednesday result in, “oh, we have talked about this in the past and here’s what you can do now and here’s what could happen with any possible ordinance and staff is happy to help you out”? If I remember this and can Google the facts in a few seconds, why the hell can’t the people who claim they have our best interests in mind do it?

Brian September 26, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

Threesome

Last year, Hanover Borough Council enacted a plan to change the upper floor of the Guthrie Memorial Library into a privately-run events space. They went about this without any public discussion. The public got involved, and the borough had to backtrack.

Last year, Hanover Borough Council moved forward with a plan to turn wetlands on the north end of town into a nature trail. They went about this without any public discussion. The public got involved, and the borough had to backtrack.

This year, Hanover Borough Council sent a bill to Timeline Arcade for an amusement tax which they had willingly chosen not to levy when the business was at the mall. The public got involved, and the borough is in the middle of backtracking.

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hope that Barb Krebs, John Gerken and the rest of their cabal see the pattern here.

You don’t have to put everything up to a public referendum, but if you hide what you do from the public eye, odds are you are completely out of touch with good judgement and the will of the people. Just because you get away with it once in a while (the Tanger building) doesn’t make it right.

Brian August 28, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

Meetings Tonight

Hanover Borough has a couple of meetings tonight. I have another obligation, so this is one of those times when I am really happy they were pressured into posting agendas online so I can see what’s happening and help spread the word. Let’s just hope they didn’t “forget” to add something like a quarter-million dollar un-budgeted property purchase like they did last month.

The Public Service committee meets at 6:15 p.m. with the council meeting to follow at 7. Remember, this is the only official council meeting for the month since they switched the schedule for 2014. That means they are approving a request for Delone’s tennis team to use the West Hanover Street tennis courts tonight even though the team has been playing there for almost three weeks.

Anyway, here are some highlights from the agendas as well as department reports (in no particular order)

  1. The amusement tax is on the public service agenda. Hopefully this is the discussion to repeal the tax as I have heard rumors about.
  2. The council agenda has an item to accept a $1,183,205.74 bid for a new ladder truck. This runaway train wasn’t going to be stopped, unfortunately.
  3. According to the library director’s report, there are significant leaks in the children’s library area. All that money to tear things out, put them back off and now there are buckets, plastic sheeting and “caution” tape all over the place.
  4. The auction of the Blue Quarry Farm land is set for next month and departments are being asked to put together “unusable or saleable equipment to be auctioned.” It’s bad enough that the administration and council leadership committed to buying the Tanger building before having the money in hand, but now they are basically yard-saling it on the fly to raise funds?
  5. The Public Service Committee will take up a waiver request for the Hanover Athletic Boosters 5K later this fall. A tiebreaking vote by Mayor Ben Adams last year waived the fee much to the consternation of some people at the table. Very interested to see how it plays out last year since some recent meetings haven’t even included a vote on waiver requests.
  6. Two items on the same agenda will focus on “positive aspects of skateparks” from a citizen letter and a proposal for bocce courts at Wirt Park.
  7. The borough bicentennial is also on that agenda. That would be next year. I know who shouldn’t be in charge of planning it.
  8. A small item from the library report, the Middle School Book Talks at the library is losing its funding source. Richard Michael has moved from the area. I really hope the library can get someone to step up for this program (and more).

If you can go, head to the meeting and make your voice heard or at least make sure they know people are keeping an eye on things.

Brian August 27, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

Weekend Happenings

Last night, we skipped our usual Family Movie Night and headed downtown for a little fun at the Arts Guild. I saw their posting about acoustic music in the courtyard earlier this week and made a note to head there if the weather cooperated.

2014-08-08 19.43.53What a great decision. First of all, the courtyard is a hidden gem. We talked with Guild president Kim Asper afterwards, and were happy to hear that more events in the future might take advantage of the homey little space out the back door. On a comfortable night like we had last night, the space felt perfect for the music of Amanda Wells and Durelle Leaman. Somehow, her cool acoustic guitar playing and his fiddling mixed perfectly with the occasional siren.

On the way home, I saw a cluster of people hanging outside of Reader’s Cafe, who had an Open Mic event. I hope the “Stories Through Music” event at St. Matthews had a good crowd as well. That’s three fun events for a Friday night.

We walked down to the Knights of Columbus, where we are members, for a drink after the music ended. We thought of heading to the Warehouse, but opted for our “home” club. I can only imagine what downtown could look like next summer when events like these can then filter folks to the Warehouse or Something Wicked or Miscreation. Or all three. Or Timeline or the Hub, if they have evening hours. The possibilities are pretty awesome.

The Arts Guild has a reception today from 2-4 for their New Members Show, which has some really fun pieces decorating the walls. Head on out today or make plans to see the work available sometime this month. Second Saturday Sales are taking place today and Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church on Carlisle Street has an Open Mic Café from 8-11 p.m. tonight with live music from local musicians. Take advantage of the opportunities.

 

Weekend Fun Planned

I had a feeling as I looked through Facebook this week that this post – which I hope becomes a regular thing – would be jam-packed. Here are events of note for this weekend. Don’t forget to stop by local businesses in between attending these things for gifts, a great meal or just to show some love. If I missed an event, let me know, and I will add it.

Friday, August 1

  • You have three more chances to see the Acts of Kindness Theatre’s production of Tarzan at the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 and are available online.
  • Snyder’s Pretzels is having a Customer Appreciation Sale from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outlet on Route 116. 
  • There are three choices for music tonight:
    • Randy Z is playing the Bay City deck at 7 p.m.
    • Chasing the Day will play the Taste of Bourbon patio from 6-9 p.m.
    • Bluegrass comes to The Winner’s Circle Lounge with Still Hand playing at 10 p.m.

Saturday, August 2

  • El Rancho, a new restaurant at the old Dutch’s location at ELm and High streets, had a soft opening yesterday, but will have its Grand Opening on Saturday.
  • Timeline Arcade will have music beginning at 8 p.m. A $10 admission gets you free game play and a chance to see  Taneytown’s Hunson Abadeer and two Raleigh, N.C. bands – The Water Between and Six Shots Later.
  • Deep Six will play the Bay City deck at 7 p.m.
  • Off the Record on Elm Avenue will have an Open Mic from 8 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, August 3

  • Codorus Park Summer concert series is First Capitol Brass will play the Codorus Park Summer Concert Series at 7 p.m. at the bandshell. Bring a lawn chair. The York ensemble includes James Hoffman & Lynus Strayer (Trumpets), Jack Mackley (Horn), Jon Moyer (Trombone) and Adrian Strayer (Tuba), who play a wide range of music.

Brian August 1, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

What’s Your Weekend Plan?

This isn’t the busiest weekend in Hanover, but there are a few special events going on. There are also lots of great local businesses to support – get on out and see what Hanover ha sto offer!

  • The Winner’s Circle will host Steph Stewart and The Boyfriends from Chapel Hill, NC, tonight at 9 p.m.
  • “Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings” has two more shows at Hanover Little Theatre, tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults and $13 for students and seniors for this musical comedy.
  • Catch pro and amateur boxing at the Hanover National Guard Armory tonight at 7 p.m. There will be about eight bouts, including Gettysburg High School grad Terrance Williams.
  • The Hanover Area Arts Guild still has their $99 and Under show going on.
  • Catch the return of the Lyric Band to the Codorus State Park Summer Concert series on Sunday. The 7 p.m. concert at the bandshell will feature soloist Dr. Galen Leitzel on the Alto Saxophone. Bring your own lawn chair.

Brian July 18, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

Game Over or Free Life?

I noticed something interesting when I looked at the agenda for tonight’s borough Finance and Personnel Committee meeting – a discussion on amendments to the Amusement Tax. So I Googled what that tax covered and saw that the owners of a “coin-operated amusement device” were to pay a $50 yearly tax. (Jukeboxes are a steal at $10 per year.) I immediately thought of Timeline Arcade and the newly-opened Bentzel Amusements. My worries were confirmed when Timeline owner Brandon Spencer chimed in on Facebook

The town wants to change the coin operated amusement device tax law. This would mean that any video or pinball game would be taxed even if it dosnt take money. This would also hurt gamestop and other video games stores. Any game would have to be taxed, even if you play on your cell phone

The wide-ranging ramifications never dawned on me, and I doubt the borough would ever even try to enforce it to that letter, but the reality is that the borough needs money, sees a successful business (or two) and wants to get that money from them.

Now, to be fair, the law was already on the books, and a place like Timeline (where you pay for how long you play and don’t actually put coins in the machine) is in kind of an unintentional grey area because their business model didn’t completely exist when the ordinance was created. I would hope that the amendment would be to create some wide-ranging look at how to assess some sort of tax without being onerous. I sincerely doubt it though.

We know the borough has fiscal issues, but this is not the way to go about trying to solve them. Changing a law and then going to someone who is trying to revitalize downtown and asking for money – if that is the case – really looks crappy. But then what doesn’t from council?

At the same time, they are looking at financing options for a ladder truck which will cost way more than the borough will ever get from Timeline. And let’s not even get into the boondoggle to buy the Tanger Building so that James Holmes Richard Lopez Fire Chief Jan Cromer can have a new office using funds the borough hopes to raise from the sale of other properties.

All this is piled on top of the absurd medical plan for staff that costs taxpayers untold sums and the addition of a Council Treasurer to take over work the old Council Treasurer apparently couldn’t handle (although the salary there hasn’t changed, has it?).

But, by all means, take the money from a local business instead of getting your own house in order. I can’t make it tonight most likely, but please go if you can and ask the borough to focus on bigger issues first. Of course, you won’t get much chance to speak because John Gerken and Brab Krebs really don’t care what we think.

Brian July 16, 2014 5 Comments Permalink