THE MAYOR'S REPORT: Friday's storm in Greencastle, public safety and Sept. 11

Ben Thomas Jr., Greencastle mayor

So, what did you think of that storm Friday afternoon? My weather app showed more than 2 inches of rain. The Rescue Hose Co. responded on 20 incidents Friday as Greencastle PD was equally busy with high water and street obstructions. 

Friday afternoon's storm brought high winds and more than 2 inches of rain to Greencastle, downing tree limbs and flooding streets.

I again author this report to you on a Sunday afternoon from the side porch. A lot of porch cleaning was in order before Tina and I sat down due to Friday’s storm, however, it sure is nice today with more welcome rain on the way from Tropical Storm Fred. 

Today I write about public safety as this is one of the mayor’s top responsibilities according to the Pa. Borough Code. My career of over 40 years now gives me some background regarding living in a safe community known as Greencastle, PA. Pro-active police patrols 24/7 are very important. You can never quantify what has been prevented other than very low serious crime statistics here. It’s been my experience since the 1970s that much criminal activity is caused by illegal drug use and alcohol abuse. That includes family violence, thefts, assaults, serious traffic violations, premature deaths and a host of other crimes code violations. This is why I strongly encourage citizens with addiction issues to seek help. In every jail and prison in the nation a majority of those incarcerated are dealing with addiction. This costs all of us, from the law enforcement activities, courts and social services to incarceration.  

So far this year, Greencastle Police have investigated over 60 motor vehicle crashes. We’re examining these crashes to see how they may be prevented in the future. I believe the extra signage at two high crash intersections (Leitersburg at South Washington; East Franklin at South Washington streets) are having a prevention impact. Drivers are distracted now more than ever. Please, put down the cell phone; drive with patience; obey the posted speed limits. I observe quite a few vehicles being operated with expired Pa. inspection stickers. Be sure to check your sticker expiration as this is an annual requirement. Remember when vehicle inspections were required every six months? There are those who simply forget and those who circumvent the law for inspection, registration and insurance. A simple police vehicle stop may realize multiple violations. One last week in Greencastle resulted in arrest warrants for a passenger.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Here are some simple hints that I’ve written about in the past to prevent crime. Remove valuables from your vehicles; lock them up; keep your home, garages and outbuildings locked. Please, if you see something suspicious, call the police. If the complaint is unfounded, so be it. I’d rather officers respond to an unfounded call than not respond to a founded one until after the fact. 

Would you like to learn more? Please join members of the Greencastle Police Department and me at Sunnyway Diner on Friday, Aug. 27, at 9:30 a.m. for “Coffee with a Cop.” A special thanks to Sunnyway Diner for providing space for this informal public information session. We’ll have some presentations and will be happy to listen to your concerns and answer any questions. What does “COP” stand for and where does this nickname come from? We’ll be glad to explain. 

The 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack is just a few weeks away. Nearly 3,000 Americans died that day with many more who have suffered and died since America was attacked. Please fly your flag the weekend of Sept. 11 and 12. I’m joining members of the Rescue Hose Co. hosting a 9/11 walk at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11 from Eastern Avenue to Center Square then to the veterans’ monument and memorial at 60 N. Washington St. You are welcome to walk with us or park somewhere on East Baltimore Street to support this ceremonial walk simulating the 110 floors and 2,071 steps of the World Trade Centers. 

THE MAYOR'S REPORT: Summertime in Greencastle

ON THE CORNER: Sheetz circling back to its Greencastle store site that was closed in 2014

 Two patriotic bluegrass concerts will be held at the Jerome R. King band shell Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. A presentation of the colors will occur at the beginning of both concerts by the Joint American Legion and VFW Honor Guard. A special thanks to D&S Bluegrass Band for offering your talents. There is no charge, however, we may “pass the boots” to support our volunteers. Bring your favorite lawn chair as we do some good ole-fashioned sittin’ and entertainin’ together and show our pride for the United States of America. I encourage a weekend of unity and good deeds in Greencastle. Consider helping  family members, a neighbor or stranger with an act of kindness. I also encourage ministers to incorporate this message in your weekend services.

Greencastle PD is again hosting “Fish with a Cop” on Sept. 11 at the Greencastle Sportsmen’s lake. Contact Officer Jim Bradley at GPD for more information. Thanks, Jim, for your efforts supporting our youth. 

I so enjoy writing these articles. I also enjoy actually holding a newspaper known as the Echo Pilot and the local stories of interest. Thanks, Sharon Baumbaugh, for your well-researched articles that certainly bring back memories. Thank you for sitting down, relaxing, and reading. Enjoy summer!