Due to increasing enrollment, the Cumberland Valley School District is negotiating to acquire through eminent domain a land parcel currently zoned as agricultural preserve in Silver Spring Township.
On Jan. 23, the school board approved a resolution authorizing the district to negotiate the purchase of a 116-acre lot at 31 Old Willow Mill Road bordering Carlisle Pike in Silver Spring Township around Hogestown. The property is for sale by a real estate firm with an asking price of $1.5 million.
“Cumberland Valley School District continues to experience unprecedented growth in enrollment and, as a result, continues to discuss current and future facilities needs. To that end, the district made the decision to pursue obtaining (this land),” district communications specialist Tracy Panzer said this week.
Former Silver Spring Township supervisor Bob Seader questioned how the school district could obtain the Old Willow Road property.
“That property is not only zoned Ag but is a preserved open space. The reason it hasn’t been developed is because the conservation easement held by the National Lands Trust for decades has prevented development of any kind,” said Seader, who also is a former treasurer of Preserve Silver Spring.
Panzer said the district’s solicitor already has reviewed the property’s Deed of Grant Conservation Easement. “It is written into the deed that once the property, or a portion thereof, is taken by condemnation, the conservation easement terminates automatically by operation of law,” Panzer said.
No decision has been made on what the district would do with the land upon acquisition. “Future use of the land would determine the process by which we follow to obtain proper permits for development,” Panzer said.
The district’s total enrollment stood last week at 9,009 students, including kindergarten and students on outside placement, said Gary Quigley, the district’s assistant superintendent for secondary education. That’s a jump in enrollment of 190 pupils in just one year. In February 2017, district enrollment totaled 8,819.
In August 2017, Superintendent Frederick Withum III said 5.9 percent of the district’s incoming students for 2017-18 were new to the district without including kindergarten. Most growth occurred in the elementary grades, with “some growth” in middle grades that Withum attributed to large upper elementary classes “moving on.”
“Somewhere down the line, we have to look at Eagle View Middle School,” Quigley said. “Students from Good Hope Middle School will be going to (the new) Mountain View Middle School. Eagle View could become overcrowded later on as well.”
Leaping enrollment figures aren’t new to Cumberland Valley. The district already has two schools under construction that are due to open in 2018-19 at Bali Hai and Lambs Gap roads in Silver Spring and Hampden townships. Winding Creek Elementary School is scheduled to open in August 2018, followed by the opening of Mountain View Middle School in March 2019.
Portions of land for those schools also were obtained by the district through eminent domain after negotiating cash settlements with landowners. The district also will have to pay a negotiated price for obtaining the parcel on Old Willow Road through this process.
“While the district is pursuing the property through the eminent domain process, it is important to note that the land is currently up for sale,” Panzer said.
Terry Walton, owner of Jeffrey’s Flowers, 5217 Simpson Ferry Road, Mechanicsburg, has many regular customers who never miss placing a Valentine’s Day order.
But there are also the customers who seek his help in planning the perfect once-in-a-lifetime day.
“We’ve done quite a few things over the years,” Walton said. “Last year, we did a proposal at the Hotel Hershey at one of the gazebos.”
He recalled that Hershey was always a favorite destination for the couple.
“They were from out of town, and that was the destination they always liked going to,” Walton said. “The young man called and said, ‘I’d like you to do flowers. I’m going to propose there.’”
Walton said the day went as planned, and he was happy for his role in making it a success.
“It was great to be a part of it,” he said. “We’re the florists for the Hotel Hershey, so we get involved in many things. But that was special. We got to watch from afar.
“Every day there’s something exciting in the florist world.”
Walton said that while red roses are the most popular Valentine’s Day flower, orchids are also frequently requested.
“Orchids are very big this year,” he said. “A lot of people like things that are different.”
He said the trend is to mix roses with flowers of other varieties, and to enhance the arrangements with things like balloons, teddy bears and chocolates.
Red roses are also in demand at Royer’s Flowers and Gifts, 100 York Road, Carlisle. Prices for a dozen red roses range between $63 and $75 at area florists for a simple arrangement.
“Roses are definitely the thing we do the most of,” said Liz Mohler, store manager at Royer’s in Carlisle. “Some people liked mixed arrangements, but it’s not even close to roses. Roses are in such demand … (and) red is the most popular color.”
Preparing for the Valentine’s Day rush isn’t an easy task for local florists.
“Valentine’s Day is our biggest day of year,” Mohler said. “Christmas (season) starts after Thanksgiving and goes all the way to Christmas (Day), but Valentine’s Day happens so quick. The rush starts about three days before, and once the 14th gets here, it just kind of happens and then the workload starts to decrease.
“We start planning months in advance. I look at what I used the year before, and I have to hire extra drivers. I have 20 contract drivers scheduled for that day. In store, we don’t really hire additional staff, but everyone is scheduled the whole entire day, and I have two people who help every holiday.”
Mohler said she will have 400 dozen red roses on hand with 150 one-dozen vase arrangements.
Walton said sales are also influenced by the day of the week that Valentine’s Day falls on. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, he expects an increase in orders.
“It gives people three days — Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday — to send flowers,” he said. “Most people prefer to send flowers to the workplace (during the week).
“But it’s our biggest day of the year. … We started planning in January, right after Christmas. We’ve been in full Valentine mode for about a week and a half now. Orders (to suppliers) have to be in (early) for guaranteed products, delivery and best prices. If we wait too long, they’re sold out.”
When Penn State’s Thon kicks off Friday, Kristen Hayes of Boiling Springs will be among the more than 16,500 student volunteers who will see months of planning and fundraising come together in a 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon in State College to show support for families battling cancer.
Seven years ago, Hayes became part of one of those families.
The daughter of Tom and Sharon Hayes of Boiling Springs, Kristen Hayes was in middle school when her brother, Colin, was diagnosed with cancer. His diagnosis changed the family’s life and forged a connection with the Four Diamonds Fund that has driven her volunteer efforts.
Four Diamonds, which receives the proceeds from Thon, funds cancer research and ensures that families do not see a medical bill.
Kristen channeled the devastation she felt at her brother’s diagnosis into starting the Mini-Thon at Boiling Springs High School. She continued her fundraising efforts for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State, where she is a sophomore studying advertising and public relations.
She plans to continue volunteering for Thon with the hope of becoming a captain and director. While she isn’t sure what she will do after college, Kristen said she wants to continue with philanthropic work and supporting Thon and Four Diamonds.
Colin has been cancer-free for almost six years and is now a first-year medical student at Penn State College of Medicine with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
A. Life at home was fairly normal. We were just like any other typical family. My life pretty much consisted of attending all of my brothers sporting events. I was in middle school at the time and was involved in several different clubs and field hockey, but didn’t really find my niche yet.
A. Friday, May 13, 2011, is a day that I will never forget. I knew beforehand that Colin was having pain in his ribs, but never thought it would turn out to be something like cancer.
I went to school like any other normal day. I remember I was sitting in my English class and I saw my dad’s car outside of the window in front of my school. I was confused because I knew my dad went to work this morning and I didn’t remember my parents saying anything about coming to school. Little did I know, my brother and parents were on their way to an appointment that would change my family forever.
After school got out, I walked to the local pizza shop with my friends. This was when I got a phone call from my mom. She sounded stern and quiet. I thought she was mad at me and I was trying to think of anything I did wrong to get in trouble recently. She told me to come home immediately.
As I was walking up my driveway my dad and sister came running outside. My sister wailed, “Colin has cancer.”
I became numb. I walked inside to find my mom who then confirmed that my 15-year-old older brother, in fact, had bone cancer. I ran up to my room and starting Googling bone cancer and the survival rates.
The rest of the school year was somewhat of a blur. It consisted of numerous different appointments and visits to Hershey. These appointments and visits continued into the summer. My sister and I spent our first day of summer vacation in clinic to support Colin during his first chemo treatment in the clinic.
My family tried to maintain normalcy as much as possible, but it was hard. When Colin had his five-day hospital stays to receive chemotherapy, one parent was there with him while the other was at home taking care of my sister and I. When Colin was home from treatment, he was recovering and we had to remain very cautious. Even with a slight cold, we had to wear medical masks because of the risks that a common cold could have on Colin’s weak immune system.
A. It was during one of Colin’s first visits to Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital that my parents were approached by a social worker from Four Diamonds. They informed my family that we were to become a Four Diamonds Family and told them about Thon at Penn State. Four Diamonds covered everything that insurance did not for Colin’s treatment. Not only did we never see a medical bill, all supplemental medications were covered, gas cards and meal vouchers were provided for hospital stays, we were provided with superior caregivers and other staff and we were able to join this huge, loving family that we call Thon.
A. This year, I have had the privilege to serve on the Crowd Entertainment Committee. We have been working on planning various activities and games to engage and hype the crowd all throughout Thon weekend. My specific role in my committee is working with the pep rally captains to plan and execute the pep rally on Saturday night of Thon.
Additionally, I have been fundraising for my business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta, by sending Thonvelopes, going on a canning trip, holding a Thon chair position in my pledge class, and participating in various other Thon fundraisers.
A. One of the greatest things I took away from this experience is the idea that everything happens for a reason. I would not be who I am today without going through this experience with my family. Becoming involved with Thon and Four Diamonds is the greatest thing that has happened to me. It has provided me with so much inspiration and passion to help others and give back to an organization that saved my family.
As for being a sibling of a child who has been diagnosed, I know it can feel like there is nothing that you can do to help, but for me personally that is where I channeled my desire to fundraise for Thon and Four Diamonds. One of the other greatest things I took away from this experience is how to find the light in a negative situation. Obviously a cancer diagnosis is devastating, but instead of sulking in the fact that my brother had cancer, I decided that I needed to give back. This is when I decided to start a Mini-Thon in my school district.
So I guess my overall message would be to stay positive because you never know what can come out of a situation like this. I am not sure where I would be right now without going through this chapter of my life, but I know now that I belong at Penn State fundraising for Thon.
WASHINGTON — One clear principle runs through President Donald Trump’s emerging economic policy: Debt is good.
When defending a tax plan or laying out his budget, the man who once called himself “the king of debt” is trying to persuade Americans there’s no price to pay for running trillion dollar budget deficits over the next few years. Stronger economic growth will permanently follow the borrowing spree, officials argue, even as many economists and investors already warn about what could happen when the debt becomes due.
The White House budget plan released Monday is the latest example of the Trump principle. The budget proposal not only envisions soaring deficits through 2020, but it also outlines an infrastructure plan that would encourage state and local government to borrow heavily. The result, the plan suggests, would be exceptional growth that would then cause deficits to fall. The proposal assumes economic growth will climb above 3 percent and eventually settle into a solid 2.8 percent groove.
The plan amounts to a gamble that nothing can slow a high-flying U.S. economy and force a reckoning over the debt. Not higher interest rates. Not rising inflation. Not a foreign crisis. Not an aging U.S. population. Not even — based on the budget plan’s own estimates — an increase in the unemployment rate. Should the economy stumble, the risk is that the gravitational pull of the debt would worsen as the government would likely borrow more to stop a downturn.
“They’re assuming that the expansion lasts forever, basically,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “You have to ask what will ultimately happen when we do go into a recession.”
O’Sullivan expects that ratings agencies could downgrade the U.S. government’s credit rating. He cites the $1.5 trillion higher debt after Trump signed tax cuts into law last year and the bipartisan deal reached last week to fund the government through 2019, which puts the U.S. on track to hit trillion-dollar deficits next year.
Trump’s willingness to embrace debt is in direct contradiction to years of Republican rhetoric on the dangers of deficits and breaks his campaign promises. As a candidate, Trump vowed not just to balance the budget but pay down the entire national debt, which is $20.5 trillion.
But as a businessman, Trump was anything but debt averse. Several of his companies filed for bankruptcy protection after being unable to service debt, leaving investors and contractors with losses. Trump portrayed this experience during the campaign as proof of his financial shrewdness.
“I’m the king of debt. I’m great with debt. Nobody knows debt better than me,” he told CBS News in 2016, adding if he was unable to fully honor any obligations that he would tell investors that “the economy just crashed” and renegotiate the terms. But Trump has cautioned that he likes debt for his companies but not the country, saying that the government was “sitting on a time bomb” with its yearly deficits.
For now, the Trump administration is saying that the U.S. economic landscape has been overhauled over the past year. With the passage of the tax cuts, the economy is set for a long-term acceleration, rather than a quick gain followed by a slowdown.
“It’s not a sugar high,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told Fox News on Sunday. “We have fundamentally changed the structure of the American economy to where we think we can change the long-term trends of our growth possibilities.”
But investors are unconvinced. They’re already starting to charge the government higher interest rates in anticipation of rising deficits. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury climbed as high as 2.89 percent on Monday, up from a recent low of 2.06 percent in September.
Many forecasters assume that any economic upswing is temporary, but the Trump budget sees no end in sight.
Trump’s budget overlaps with the mass retirement of baby boomers, whose use of programs such as Medicare and Social Security will likely cause government expenditures and the debt to keep increasing. Indeed, the government is borrowing more at a moment when unemployment is already at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, a time when many economists say it should be repairing its balance sheet by borrowing less.
Even before the tax cuts and two-year spending deal, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that publicly held debt would equal more than 90 percent of the U.S. economy in 2027. The Trump budget assumes savings that would put the debt at less than 75 percent of the economy.
Trump achieves some of his debt savings by slashing Medicare by $554 billion over the next decade among other substantial cuts to programs at the Labor Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and elsewhere. But he also assumes that the entire economy will be $3.1 trillion bigger than previously forecast because of his policies.
Some of that growth would potentially come from new roadways and upgraded airports. But states appear to be increasingly hesitant to borrow more than they otherwise would for infrastructure projects, despite the financial incentives being introduced by Trump.
State budgets are already being squeezed as costs for education and programs such as Medicaid are rising faster than tax revenues, said Gabriel Petek, a managing director at Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings.
“The plan doesn’t appear to fundamentally alter existing incentives at the state level,” Petek said. “The states we have been talking to are not eager to take on more debt.”