Living in Hanover

Living in Hanover

'Apparently a blog about living in Hanover'

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

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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

Pick Your Poison This Saturday

The newspaper had a Facebook post yesterday that invited readers to finish the sentence “I wish Hanover and Adams County had (blank).”

I found some of the comments amusing – especially the ones calling for a daily newspaper again – but some fell into a category that just made me roll my eyes. Some people either wanted things that just aren’t going to happen, at least anytime soon, like Wegman’s or asked for things that already existed.

I briefly fell into my default mode of complaining about the complainers (and may do more on that later), but then realized that I could put my time to better use. If you are sitting around wondering what Hanover doesn’t have, you are missing all the great things that Hanover does have. This Saturday is an amazing example. (And if I forgot anything, please let me know – I looked around to try and find everything.)

Main Street Hanover will have its annual Chalk It Up event on Center Square beginning at 10 a.m. If you’re not familiar with this, Chalk It Up provides folks with the chance to spruce up a piece of sidewalk around Center Square. This is for adults and kids alike, a simple activity that brings people downtown. There are roaming mascots and other activities, but the main purpose is just to come downtown and have fun.

William Michael Kirby, a Baltimore-based street painter, will join in the fun and provide an educational program at Guthrie Memorial Library-Hanover’s Public Library later in the day TODAY (Thursday) from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

If you’re hungry at anytime, just slip down Frederick Street a little bit where the Hanover Lions Club will hold its annual Chicken BBQ. For $8, you get half a chicken, a baked potato, a roll and applesauce. The money goes to support local charities and vision programs. If you can’t make it downtown, there will be meals available at the south end of town by Auchey’s Greenhouse. We’ll be selling from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

After you check out the chalk art and grab a bite to eat, head on over to Hanover Middle School where the Hanover Rhinos football team will close out the regular season with a 2 p.m. game. It’s Kids Day for the Rhinos so there will be mascots and other fun surrounding the game. Admission is $5 for adults – kids 14 and under are free.

If you have already registered, the Hanover Athletic Boosters have their golf tournament at Hanover Country Club on Saturday as well.

Then you can rest up for the evening activities. You have two choices, just a stone’s throw from each other. Hanover Valley Presbyterian Church will have its first Open Mic night from 8-11pm at 133 Carlisle Street. They will have coffee and music for anyone interested in joining the fun. They plan on continuing Open Mic nights on the second Saturdays of the month.

Just an aside here, but there is a cool Open Mic culture seeming to grow downtown. Reader’s Café has one tomorrow night (Friday, May 9) and the Hanover Hub has had a bunch, but is on an events hiatus this summer. I haven’t been to any, but I know that they do well, especially with the younger crowd (who apparently has nothing to do if you read the people in the comments on the Facebook post which inspired this post, but I digress).

If an Open Mic is too quiet for your tastes, just head up the street to Timeline Arcade for their Back to the 80s event, which also begins at 8 p.m., but runs until 2 a.m. They will have a DJ and Taco Camino will have food for sale so you can eat, play games and dance all in one place. Tickets are $20, but get you unlimited gaming as well as all the entertainment. There is a discount if you were 80s clothes (oh, I wish I could still fit in my 80s clothes, but that’s another story for another day).

EDIT: There is also a Cabaret at Virgilio’s (on Elm Avenue) on Saturday starting at 8:30! A bunch of talented teens will perform. Tickets are  $5 and there is a $10 food cover. Call the restaurant at 630-9600 for reservations and ask for the cabaret.

And none of this even begins to discuss all the regular things available downtown – the Ron Schloyer Art Show at the Hanover Area Arts Guild, sales downtown for Second Saturday, including the Clark’s Shoe Warehouse Sale, and food at the Hub, the Famous, the Lucky Spot, Reader’s, Warehouse,  Texas Hot Lunch, etc., etc., etc. Plus South Western has its Prom on Saturday.

So my answer to the question the newspaper posed is the same here as it was there – for more people to take advantage of the things that already exist in Hanover and spend less time worrying about what we don’t have.

Sure, there is always room for more (except a bank – God forbid another bank open because that is apparently the worst thing ever, another story for another day again), but let’s not pretend that there is nothing to do. This Saturday is particularly packed, but if you look around hard enough, you will realize that you can easily complain about not being able to do everything instead of finding nothing to do.

Brian May 8, 2014 4 Comments Permalink

Woerner’s Folly

The race for the 169th District State House has started to heat up. We answered four phone surveys last week and a couple of mailers. One of the mailers made me chuckle.

I questioned Marc Woerner’s candidacy from the start. Then I read his flyer and just had to laugh. He claims he’ll make the hard choices. He claims he shows leadership by making unpopular decisions (a concept which just flummoxes me – leadership isn’t about pissing people off to stand for what you believe in). He promises not to take all kinds of perks available to lawmakers.

Considering he was only one of two West Manheim Township supervisors to have the township keep paying for his health insurance, I guess he doesn’t need any more freebies. I mean, it’s pretty comical to say you won’t take a taxpayer funded pension when you are taking a taxpayer funded healthcare plan. I am pretty sure he still takes it, but correct me if I am wrong. Of course, he loses it if he wins this election, but it’s still kind of bizarre to have such inconsistency. Supervisor isn’t a full time job. You shouldn’t get benefits for it.

It’s unconscionable to me to consider this guy for state House. Not only is he directly contradicting what he claims in all his campaign stuff, but he pretends that voting to take the health insurance that the other supervisors realized was a bad policy is some sort of courageous moral stand. I wasn’t thinking about voting for him in the first place, but wanted to look this stuff up when I saw the flyer because I was pretty sure he was one of the ones taking it. At one point, he was the only surpervisor who voted against getting rid of the benefit Despite drafting an ordinance to do so, the move ended up failing.

I can’t believe he would do all this stuff when all it takes is a memory of the insurance issue in West Manny and access to Google to find this stuff out. But if you call dibs on being the most conservative and say the right buzzwords, I guess actual votes and actions from the past don’t count, right?

Odds and Ends

Things I have noticed around town over the past few weeks that bear mentioning. What do you see happening in Hanover?

  • The work in front of the Giant on Baltimore Street is an Advance Auto Parts. A little sign went up the other day. So they will go head-to-head with Auto Zone just a couple of doors down
  • Baltimore Street Family Restaurant, right next door, seems to be closing. There is a For Lease sign up that says the owner is retiring. Since that location has been one diner/restaurant or another for a long time now, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new one sprouted up.
  • A friend told me that a local microbrewery had moved into the old Moose building on Frederick Street right by the Clark’s store. Anyone have more info on that?
  • Speaking of Clark’s, the spring warehouse sale starts Thursday.
  • I saw a sign for a new Mexican market along High Street, near the Merchandiser building.

 

Brian April 29, 2014 7 Comments Permalink