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Jason Malmont, The Sentinel 

Sara Gruber, 13, of Auburn, Pa., carefully trims the fur on her Chi heifer before showing it in competition Saturday morning.

Council considers changes to rental housing ordinance in Carlisle

Carlisle Borough Council is looking into revising the borough’s rental housing ordinance, with the contentious idea of mandatory housing inspections likely to be discussed.

At Wednesday night’s borough council workshop meeting, borough staff presented council members with four rental ordinances from other Pennsylvania jurisdictions — Gettysburg, Mount Holly Springs, West Chester, and State College — intended as a starting point to further develop Carlisle’s rental law, which was developed in 2011 and passed in January 2012.

“It was very new for us and we promised that we would go back and look at that at some point in time,” said council member Robin Guido regarding the 2012 ordinance.

“My goal in this is not to get everyone granite countertops and stainless steel appliances,” Guido said. “But people should have heat and water and pest-free homes. [There are] basic living conditions that we should require.”

The borough’s current ordinance requires rental units to be registered with the borough, providing information about the unit and its occupancy, as well as contact information for the landlord in case of emergency. Landlords who do not live within a 25-mile radius of the county courthouse must provide the information of a resident agent.

Inspections by the borough are available, upon request, to ensure that the property complies with all applicable codes — but are not mandatory.

This gives Carlisle’s housing law much less bite than one like the Mount Holly Springs ordinance, which requires inspection by a borough official every three years. Inspections collect information about adequate fire escape routes, ventilation, utility function, peeling paint, and other housing standards.

Mandatory inspections

Property owners, however, are generally opposed to mandatory inspections, said David Lanza, an attorney for the Capital Area Rental Property Owners Association.

Responsible landlords, Lanza said, should not have inspection costs foisted upon them when the majority of the problems with delinquent properties come from a small number of owners.

“I think you have existing tools at your disposal to go after those owners without imposing inspections on all properties throughout the borough,” Lanza told the council. “The fees and the amount of money being imposed on the landlords will be passed on to tenants.”

The argument in favor of mandatory inspections, generally speaking, is that it takes the onus off of tenants to make complaints about their housing conditions. If not for borough-initiated inspections, tenants living in substandard or illegal conditions may not come forward.

“’I’m afraid to say anything to my landlord because I’ll get kicked out and there’s nowhere else to go,’” Guido paraphrased.

The borough’s 2012 ordinance provides that the borough have a set of suggested lease provisions, designed to protect tenants and landlords, but these standards are only “encouraged” and not required.

A revised ordinance would not just have enforcement directed at landlords — it would also attempt to deal with problem tenants.

“These ordinances are for landlords as well as the folks that rent,” said Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott. “We can’t help you unless we have something on the books.”

Systems in place

Other jurisdictions, it was noted, have created systems whereby a certain number of code violations and/or police calls to a unit are grounds for eviction, helping landlords get rid of problem tenants even if such provisions aren’t in their lease.

Such laws also present problems, however. Both council members Sean Crampsie and Brenda Landis noted that those policies can discourage victims of domestic violence from reporting abuse, fearing that it will become grounds for eviction.

There is also the issue of whether such a municipal rule be enforced by judges who are bound by commonwealth law – such clauses have proven unenforceable in eviction cases elsewhere, said Glenn Lehman of Lehman Property Management, a Harrisburg-based rental operator.

“When it comes to putting together an ordinance like this ... you have to make sure it makes sense and is enforceable,” Lehman said.

Borough council is expected to go over possible rental ordinance changes at its next workshop meeting on Feb. 6.

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Rodeo, officials help open this year's Farm Show

HARRISBURG – Some children grow up playing cowboys and cowgirls. Other children become them.

The Varner siblings, who performed in the rodeo Saturday at opening day of the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show, have turned into the cowboys and cowgirls of childhood dreams. Six of the seven Varner siblings are rodeo riders, with the seventh choosing to play football instead.

“I used to watch rodeos and wanted to try it,” said Jacob Varner, 15, of Collegeville. “Once I did it, I loved it. All of us love rodeo.”

Visitors to the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show on Saturday felt transported back to the Old West where rodeos were held to showcase cowboys’ courage, stamina and ability. These days, rodeos are a popular high school sport in which horses gallop, steers run, bulls buck and young equestrians hang on for the ride.

“This is one of the largest indoor rodeos on the East Coast,” said Bill Wenrich of Beavertown, national director of the Pennsylvania National High School Rodeo Association, which sponsored the championship event. “Today, we have 55 kids from ages 11 to 18 competing.”

The Varners have been competing in the Farm Show rodeo ever since older sister, Hannah, started. On Saturday, 17-year-old Jacob, 15-year-old Luke, 12-year-old Sarah and 10-year-old Isaac participated.

The rodeo began with some old-fashioned steer wrestling that required the cowboys to leap off a galloping horse, grab a steer and wrestle it to the ground. Jacob and another cowboy weren’t able to complete the task.

Next came team roping, which required two mounted people to gallop after a running steer. The “header” looped a rope around the steer’s head while the “heeler” had to catch its feet. Jacob served as header while brother Luke was heeler, but they and seven other teams couldn’t finish the task.

Then Jacob learned that a cowboy takes a rodeo win where he can. Cowboy Brett Bokman, a header from Millstone, New Jersey, needed a heeler. Jacob agreed to do it, and the pair took the steer down and won the event. He and Luke later competed in calf roping, which Jacob Fedder of Catawissa won. Isaac competed in CD Poles for younger riders.

Local rider

Meanwhile, Cumberland County’s lone entry in the rodeo gave an energetic and exciting performance. Riley Shetron of Penn Township, riding in her sixth rodeo at the Farm Show, used four different horses to compete in goat tying, calf roping, barrel racing and pole bending.

“Competition is tough at the Farm Show rodeo,” she said. “I know just about everyone I compete against.”

The Big Spring High School junior said she practices a lot for rodeos, then focuses on the job at hand when she’s in the arena.

Shetron showed her lassoing skill in the breakaway event, in which she raced after a calf and tried to lasso it. She placed third out of 30 cowgirls in barrel racing, a timed event in which riders race around barrels without knocking them down. Summer Konopinski of Sweet Valley won first place here and in pole bending.

Shetron placed fifth out of 22 pole benders in which she and her galloping quarter horse zigzagged around six poles without touching them.

“It takes a lot of adrenaline to go out there,” said Shetron, who got her first pony when she was 7. She said she inherited her love of horses from her father, Terry Shetron, also a rodeo rider.


The final rodeo event, bull riding, proved to be the most dramatic. Ten cowboys mounted big bulls, wrapped a rope around one hand, tightened their thighs around their bull and nodded.

When the stock man opened the gate, each cowboy’s bull seemed to explode out of the chute into the arena. They immediately began bucking.

The cowboys only had to stay on the bulls for eight seconds – which seemed to last an eternity, a contest pitting the will of the cowboy against the mighty strength of the wildly bucking bull. Generally, the bulls won, dumping the cowboys on the floor.

It looked difficult to do – and proved to be even harder for the cowboys in leather boots, chaps, heavy vests and helmets. Each time, the crowd held its collective breath watching what many consider the nation’s most dangerous sport.

Parker Shimp won the event on a bull named Dr. Evil.

The New Holland Arena crowd, small at the start of the 8 a.m. rodeo, grew steadily. By 11 a.m., the arena was more than half full as people of all ages got in touch with their inner cowboys and cowgirls.

The audience applauded the young equestrians, cheering at the speed of the barrel racers, coordination of the team roping, strength of the calf ropers and daring of the bull riders. Rob and Christine Varner beamed as the crowd cheered.

“We go to about 20 rodeos a year,” said Rob Varner, a fifth-generation farmer. “Our kids work and pay for their own entry fees. They also practice in our arena. Before every rodeo, we pray for the safety of everyone in the rodeo.”

Back in the barn, amid the smell of hay and animals, horses whinnying and cowboys and cowgirls grooming their horses, the Varners rested before the afternoon rodeo.

Opening ceremony

Gov. Tom Wolf, state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and other officials on Saturday opened the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show by touting the state’s agriculture as a treasure and a powerhouse.

“Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy each year,” Wolf said. “Each year, people from around the state and the country look forward to attending, to experience both new events and see old favorites.”

Prior to his remarks, youth commodity representatives for everything from apples to rabbits and leaders of the Pennsylvania 4-H State Council and Pennsylvania State Grange and FFA greeted the governor.

Afterward, Lt. Gov Elect John Fetterman toured the complex. “I’ve been coming to the Farm Show since I was 9 or 10,” he said. “The Farm Show is a unique and special Pennsylvania thing. I love it all.”

Jason Malmont, The Sentinel 

Jacob Varner of Collegeville, Pa., misses his throw during his run in the HS Calf Roping Saturday morning at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

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Harrisburg Academy
Teen of the Week: Abundance of travel provides new perspective for Harrisburg Academy senior

Most Americans have visited just 12 states, according to a 2016 study conducted by the global marketing firm Ipsos Public Affairs.

There is one Harrisburg Academy student, however, who has been to them all.

In December, Charlotte Nazar touched down and celebrated her 18th birthday in Hawaii, completing her goal to visit all 50 states before turning 18.

“It’s kind of taught to better myself,” she said. “If I only stayed in Pennsylvania or on the East Coast in general, I don’t think I’d really know more about my country. Being able to travel and see the difference in our landscape has taught me more about our country.”

While notching visits to every single state in the United States is an accomplishment in and of itself, Nazar said all of that travel has provided her with a new perspective to be a good citizen and driven her to dedication in giving back to her community.

For the last two years, Nazar has spearheaded a food drive in her school. The school collects food each year and donates it to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

Nazar said the school was able to donate about 500 pounds of food each time during previous food drives she’s helped coordinate.

“I wanted to help, but I didn’t really how much we could do because we are a small school,” Nazar said. “It’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Nazar said there is no way that she could ever collect that much food by herself, but by bringing the school together, each person’s effort compounds and leads to the ability to make a difference on a large scale.

When she’s not helping the community, Nazar continues to be interested in travel, which now includes international trips. She received a scholarship last school year and traveled to Ecuador where she did service projects like clearing roads and helping reforest a village.

In the future, Nazar said she plans to visit all of the national parks in the United States.

In the fall, Nazar plans to attend college to become a pharmacist. She has been accepted to multiple schools but is awaiting decisions from others before deciding where to attend.

Her desire to become a pharmacist also stems from her desire to help others, but this time on a much more intimate level.

Nazar’s great grandfather recently died after struggling with dementia.

“He couldn’t remember who I was,” she said. “I’ve known him all my life but he couldn’t remember me. That had to be hard [for him]. ... It’s one of those things that hasn’t been solved yet, but it’s something I think is interesting to find something that can help.”

Nazar carries a 3.93 GPA, is a multi-sport athlete, a member of the chorus and band and is the student council president.

She said she owes a great deal of the success she’s had so far to her parents. Lisa and Scott Nazar.

“They’ve both supported me to do what makes me happy,” she said. “They’ve never been pushy, so I’ve never felt a pressure to do well, but they’ve taught to have a ‘if I want it, I’ve got to get it’ mentality ... If I make a bad decision, they’re there to support me and say ‘you made a mistake, but what are you going to do about it?’”


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Lower Allen Township
85-year-old Hampden Township man charged in fatal Lower Allen crash

An 85-year-old Hampden Township man has been charged with homicide by vehicle for allegedly causing a crash that killed a motorcyclist in October in Lower Allen Township.

Lane Herbert Creasman is charged with felony homicide by vehicle, misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter and multiple summary traffic violation after police say he caused a crash on Simpson Ferry Road that killed a woman on Oct. 22.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Oct. 22, Creasman stopped at a stop sign on Hann Way and attempted to make a left turn on to Simpson Ferry Road in Lower Allen Township, according to Lower Allen Township Police.

Creasman pulled on to Simpson Ferry Road causing a woman riding a motorcycle on Simpson Ferry Road to crash into the driver’s side of his vehicle, police said.

The woman was taken to Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital as a result a of the crash where she was later pronounced deceased, according to police.

When questioned, Creasman said the woman was “flying” down the roadway and that he “did not see her coming,” according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by police.

However, police determined the woman was traveling at a speed that was “prudent for the roadway” and wearing a helmet and protective gear at the time of the crash, police said.

According to police, Creasman’s failure to yield the right of way to the woman prior to the crash was the “sole causation for [the crash] and the resulting death.”

Creasman was arraigned Thursday and released on $5,000 unsecured bail.

He is currently awaiting a preliminary hearing, according to court records.