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Graduation, Tornado Warning, River Event Mishap Marked News of June

Photo by Conor Hollinger – LNP Correspondent

June began with an unusually brief meeting of the Elizabethtown Borough Council; the public meeting on June 1 adjourned after three minutes. In that period, two borough residents thanked the borough government for acting on requests to close Spruce Street during the Memorial Day parade and to post a new 25 mph speed limit on Masonic Drive in the Conoy Crossing development; police Lt. John Emrick also gave some police statistics from the previous month. The council then went into an executive session to interview candidates applying for an opening on the police force.

Elizabethtown Area High School held a graduation ceremony for 289 students in the class of 2017 on June 7. Valedictorian Conor Larison urged his classmates to look beyond differences and see shared humanity. “Although it may be difficult for us, we must strive to find the connections between each other, and cooperate if we are to succeed,” he said. “If we can build empathy within ourselves, we will not only improve our own virtue, but the virtue of society as a whole.”

On June 8, Conoy Township supervisors voted to approve an escrow agreement with the Elizabethtown Area School District that was necessary for renovations to begin on the building.

An Elizabethtown man died June 12 from a crash on Route 743 in Conewago Township, Dauphin County. David Pray Jr., 34, died from his injuries following a head-on crash with a car driven by a 16-year-old Lebanon boy with a learner’s permit. Police said the boy crossed the center line for an unknown reason and crashed head-on with Pray’s vehicle. The boy and his mother, a passenger, were taken to Hershey Medical Center for treatment; police did not release their names.

On June 13, the Elizabethtown Area School District’s board made no changes to a proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year that included a 4.75 percent property tax increase. The budget got final approval a week later on June 20.

On June 15, Elizabethtown Borough Council President Marc Hershey said councilors hoped to vote in September on an ordinance regulating the practice of renting out rooms in homes to travelers who book the rooms online. The borough had gotten complaints of travelers disturbing neighbors by going to the wrong house and of the potential of someone with bad intentions renting a room. The borough was unable to regulate the practice because it did not fall under the definition of a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast.

On June 19, Elizabethtown got a tornado warning. Emergency notifications were sent to cellphones telling people to take shelter immediately on the lowest floor of a sturdy building and avoid windows. The storm passed Elizabethtown with little damage, but a tornado did touch down in Berks County near Shartlesville, about 36 miles northeast of Elizabethtown.

Mount Joy Township supervisors agreed on June 19 to a plan for moving the township offices into the former Fairview Elementary School building in August. Township Manager Justin Evans said he would need to have the office closed for two days to complete the move and asked for a third day just in case things go wrong. Supervisor Debra Dupler said she was concerned about the office being closed that long. Evans said although phone calls would go to voice mail, he promised that they would be returned within an hour, which Dupler said would be acceptable.

A group of more than 500 people went floating down the Susquehanna River in inner tubes and other devices on June 24 in what was billed as the “Anything That Floats” adventure, but several dozen of them had to be rescued from the water. The first call for help was for someone with a broken ankle; another 55 people needed help to get to shore after they missed the planned stopping point at East Donegal Riverfront Park.

On June 26, a former pastor of Methodist churches in Marietta and Bainbridge had an appeal of his murder conviction rejected by a just in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Monroe County. Arthur “A.B.” Schirmer was trying to overturn his 2013 murder conviction for the 2008 death of his second wife, Betty. Prosecutors maintained that he killed her and staged a car accident. Schirmer is serving a life sentence for that killing plus 20 to 40 years for the 1999 death of his first wife, Jewel Schirmer, in their Lebanon County home. Schirmer maintained that his first wife fell down stairs in their home.

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