Living in Hanover

Living in Hanover

'Apparently a blog about living in Hanover'

Downtown

All of the posts under the "Downtown" category.

As The Cabin Turns

I am happy to admit when I am wrong, and this week was one of those cases. When the topic of the Santa’s cabin came up, I had been told (and a lot of people I know understood) that the borough did not own the cabin, that we merely held it for the Exchange Club. So I encouraged people to direct their conversation at them, not council.

Well, now it seems as if the borough does own it, which changes the dynamic completely. If someone else owned it, I felt we really didn’t have a say on whetehr it was repaired, rebuilt or whatever. But if we do own it, we need to lead the project.

That’s why I asked the question at last night’s council meeting and talked afterward with our Public Works Director. They are going to take a look at it, and we will go from there.

I can’t promise what will happen except that our staff will hopefully take the lead on this. If it’s ours, we should be making the call in consultation with the folks who run the events.

Friday Fun

I like to laugh so heading out to support the first Standup Comedy night at The Sound Room on Broadway last Friday was a no brainer. I ended up turning the excursion into an exploration of some of my favorite downtown places.

The night started with a beer at Something Wicked. My friend Macy served me a great beer and fellow First Ward Councilman Gerry Funke also stopped in for a drink – don’t worry, that didn’t violate the Sunshine Law!

I headed to The Sound Room next and found the room mostly filled with 15 minutes before the starting time, a great sight to see. My friend Jenn, her son Ben and a friend of theirs also came by. I also saw Diana and her husband, Dan. By the time the first comic took the stage, the room was filled with around 40-some people. Shannon Lanier, the owner of the venue, even had to bring in some extra chairs.

I had a great time, especially considering the $3 cover charge. A guy named Kevin took on the challenge of the Open Mic and had some really good material for his first time doing standup. My friend Beau Bowden put on a nice set and Kayla Ruth had the room laughing for most of her set. Robbie Soto, the booker for the show, closed out with some of his material.

I really look forward to watching this event grow. I especially like their goal of having Improv Night, which I will hopefully be involved with through the improv project I am leading at Hanover Little Theatre. They had a young crowd there which can only benefit downtown Hanover in the long run.

The only real option after the show was to go to Miscreation, so we did that and had a drink., Naturally, I ran into several people I knew. I finished my second drink at the bar and talked with Mark Mathias, one of the owners. They still had a good crowd around 10 p.m., but I decided to head home.

Well, that is until I remembered that I had not been to Timeline Arcade in a while. I had no problem deciding to change that fact and played a bunch of games before heading home.

Don’t miss out on fun opportunities like this. There are Open Mics and other options around town more than you think. Come support Hanover’s talent and grab a bite to eat and a drink while you’re at it.

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Brian March 14, 2016 2 Comments Permalink

Thinking Isn’t Complaining

Recently, someone commented on another post that I complain a lot. I get that once in a while because anyone who has ever met me in person knows I come off crankier on the Internet than I am in real life.

While some may feel upset or bothered when someone totally mischaracterizes their personality, I actually love it. First of all, there’s the whole judging me without really knowing me thing. I try not to do it for others (not always successfully) and am amused when others do it to me. But more importantly, it’s the notion that complaining about things you have a problem with is inherently a bad thing. Lastly there is the notion that the comment can be seen as a complaint about someone complaining meaning that you are complaining so the three fingers are pointing back at you. Or some nonsense like that. I like complaining about complaining sometimes so I let that one go.

Just because I or anyone else complains does not make them bad, especially since a look at the sum total of the things I talk about would show lots of cheerleading (maybe too much), but most importantly, pragmatism. Sometimes I do complain, but sometimes it’s much deeper than that.

Sure, I criticize the borough manager for not being able to use Power Point correctly or for having a horrific website as the face of Hanover, but those are specific complaints with easy solutions in areas where I have professional experience. When you take the things you learn and try to apply them for positive effect to benefit others, how is that bad?

I thought about this a lot this morning as I read a Chronicle of Higher Education article called “What ‘Learning How to Think’ Really Means.” The article focuses on the positive effects of a liberal arts education. One clause in one sentence sentence does a perfect job of explaining my problems with the borough’s rush to push the Fire Museum into the old Eagle Fire Company, a move which curiously hit the fast track the day after the council president was slaughtered in the primary election.

People with intellectual virtues will be persistent, ask for help when they need it, provide help when others need it, and not settle for expedient but inaccurate solutions to tough problems.

I’m not going so far as to endow myself with the lofty gift of “intellectual virtues,” but I have been thinking a lot about college since I recently had my 25-year reunion at Allegheny College, a place where I really learned to think and judge and act (and party, to be honest).

During one conversation at the reunion, the topic of a minor came up. We were walking by the building that housed the Classics department. Since I took AP Latin in high school and received credit for my test score, the head of the department tried to recruit me as a Classics major. That wasn’t happening, so he also made a pitch for minoring in the field. I pretty much dismissed it out of hand, but ended up pretty close to actually pulling it off.

I had credit for two classes from the AP exam and could use my classes in Greek and Roman Art and Green and Roman Epics to get close to the six-class requirement for a minor. I may have had one other class, but the real stumbling block was the requirement of what Allegheny called a “seminar ” class for any minor. Seminars were fairly intensive classes that prepared people in a major for their senior thesis, nicknamed a “comp” at Allegheny. You took your seminar as a junior so you got a taste of what comping would feel like.

I ended up taking three seminars in my major, English. They each required a 25ish page page at the end of the trimester. By comparison, my comp was 60-some pages long. I took multiple English comps because that was my speciality, and they came up with some really, really awesome topics during my junior and senior year. But I was in no way, shape or form putting myself through the same thing in Classics. Or History or Communication Arts, two other departments I was close to minoring in.

This long explanation is my way of saying that my time at Allegheny taught me to seek out many different ways of approaching things. I took some classics, some comm arts, a bunch of history, a psych class, computer science, economics and even theatre appreciation (which I took mainly because it was one of the few things open when I did registration freshman year).

But I also wrestled for four years, worked on the campus newspaper, played and officiated intramural sports, was an officer in my fraternity and represented us on the Interfraternity Council. None of this counts the amount of time sitting around and talking with lots of other really smart people who were taking their own eclectic mix of courses because they, like me, just found it interesting to learn new stuff.

I guess that is why I shake my head when people try to pigeon hole my curiosity and outspokenness as complaining. I grew up with parents who expected their eight children to learn as much as they could and know how to think critically about the decisions they made. I had seven siblings who held me accountable for so many things. Then I had four years of reading and talking and questioning and taking action.

All of that has led to what some people want to characterize as “complaining.” I will never accept that as the truth. I don’t just throw out negativity. I take a look at what is happening, run it through the experiences I have had and the things I have learned and offer a perspective that others may not have considered. Sometimes that means the project you think is perfect may need new and varied voices and may need to take a little longer than you want it to be done (which you probably hate because if you do it now you won’t have to listen to anyone else because they don’t have your experience so they can’t be right).

A fire museum is a wonderful thing. Preserving history is a great virtue. Reusing classic buildings is an admirable goal. But to do it right, you need the intellectual virtues to know that it needs to take time, care and careful consideration with the voices of museum professionals, fundraising experts and unemotional onlookers to make sure that we aren’t trying to save history every seven or 10 years because we never took the time to plan and discuss things beyond seven to 10 years.

So if it’s complaining to expect a major project to have clearly defined goals and an articulated path to success, call me guilty. I just think I’m using the tools I learned in life.

 

Brian June 18, 2015 1 Comment Permalink

Next Stop: Borough Council

I am happy to announce that I am running for a seat on Hanover Borough Council in the First Ward in the May 19 Republican primary. I am excited to partner with several other like-minded individuals in this election effort.

I strongly believe that the success of Hanover depends on much more than the 10 people sitting behind the council table. My primary goal in running for this seat is to bring transparency, positivity and diversity of opinion to the way the Hanover Borough operates.

Encouraging developments in recent months have proven that Hanover residents and business owners share a common vision of a vibrant downtown that will fuel a dynamic community beyond Center Square and even the borough limits. I hope you will support my First Ward election effort so I can help the borough government play a proactive and constructive role in this exciting time.

Also, I encourage those in other areas of the borough to support Dan Noble (Second Ward), Henry McLin (Third Ward), Scott Angel (Fourth Ward) and James Baumgardner (Fifth Ward) as we work together to benefit the Hanover Borough.

Brian March 11, 2015 8 Comments Permalink

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.

 

Brian January 29, 2015 1 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 3 Comments 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

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