Ben Thomas Jr. Mayor of Greencastle
Ben Thomas Jr.

I know! I stated last week that I would author a story about Greencastle’s athletes from 1867 into the 1980s as Tina and I are missing spring sports, however, I must delay that writing. Why? Well, I just finished another email to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s office regarding the continued, mandatory closure of Greencastle stores and businesses.  Respecting that health and safety is number one ... I just don’t get it. We are forced to leave town, go into packed big box stores and spend our money for things we could purchase here at home where folks are, right now, unemployed. Both the Pa. House and Senate tried to change the governor’s mind last week through common sense, health procedures legislation, however, by the time you’re reading this, that legislation has probably been vetoed by our governor. 

I’d rather wear my mask and walk into one of the ELM stores to purchase shoes or clothing where there may be a handful of customers versus a crowded big box store where our economic vitality is sucked out of our community. Our business owners are smart people who would certainly follow the guidelines for health and safety already available from the Centers for Disease Control and Homeland Security. You can’t even get a haircut by making an appointment and wearing mask or go into an automotive dealership to purchase a new or used car! I believe every Greencastle businesses will have to adapt to these temporary standards. Why not right now, governor? Greencastle is being economically punished because of Pennsylvania’s proximity to New Jersey and New York. Franklin County’s population is 155,000. I understand we don’t want COVID-19 to spread, but what’s the difference from buying here in Greencastle versus buying out of town where the big boxes remain open? We can maintain social distancing; stay home if we or a family member is sick; wear masks, and follow all of the other CDC guidelines. Our G-A Chamber of Commerce is aggressive in trying to get the word to Harrisburg as well. Thank you, chamber! I look forward to the day when our business owners can take their keys, unlock their doors, and turn their signs around or plug them in from Closed to Open!

If you agree, consider writing to Gov. Wolf. Goes to his website:

Don’t bother telephoning the governor. You’ll be re-directed to the Pa. Dept. of Health.

Thank you community for what you are doing. To our health care and first responders; our essential municipal employees; our farmers; our trash collectors; our employees who are staffing our grocery stores, pharmacies; G-ASD employees feeding our children; the truck and delivery logistics providers for our necessary products, and other essential businesses authorized to be open; for you calling your neighbors, friends and family members; providing meals to shut-ins; our church families for your remote ministries; to you ... for your patience. Thank you! We are blessed.

A reminder that National Arbor Day is this Friday, April 24.  I’ve authored a proclamation in honor of this day. I again thank our Shade Tree Commission for their efforts to increase and sustain our wonderful tree canopy. Though a formal ceremony cannot be held this month by our commission, please remember the spirit of the day.