It began with yesterday’s Intell, and these two sentences:“According to sources, Shellenberger threatened to scuttle future development plans F&M has – including taking over Norfolk Southern’s railyard to expand its campus – if Fry didn’t resign.The college would need the county’s approval to proceed with the project.”
Fry’s term ended on September 15, 2005.Let me repeat that – Fry’s term was up on September 15, 2005.Why would Shellenberger have to threaten him to resign?Does anyone really believe that Shellenberger threatened F&M’s development plans?Does anyone believe he really could have done such a thing?
Give me one legitimate reason these “sources” would not want to be identified.Give me one valid reason the Intell would supposedly use “sources” and not identify them.
Then we have a second use of “sources” in the same article and we aren’t told if they are the same “sources” or different “sources.”The article continues, “Sources, however, said Shellenberger was moving to oust Fry for weeks after coming to believe Fry’s term ended in 2005.”Let me repeat, Fry’s term was over.Why would Shellenberger have to “oust” him?Are these the same or different “sources?”
Then we have that afternoon’s New Era article, “Leaders:Shellenberger should quit,” by John M. Spidaliere and Bernard Harris.They state, “Sources have said Shellenberger threatened to scuttle future development plans for the college, if Fry didn’t quit the board.”Did these reporters talk to new “sources” or are these the same “sources” as the Intell?If they are the same, did the reporters talk to them or did they just take the Intellreporter’s word for it?
The last three paragraphs of their article are the most telling:
CountyTreasurer Craig Ebersole, another convention center opponent, accompanied Shellenberger to visit Fry.He did so because Fry is listed as the authority’s treasurer and they could share their insights of those duties, Ebersole said.
Ebersole concurred that Shellenberger did not ask for Fry’s resignation.
“He didn’t ask for his resignation.There was no need to ask for his resignation.His term was up,” Ebersole said.
If they had run these as the opening paragraphs, they wouldn’t have had a story.Fry’s term was up.
MaryAnne Motter Cullen posted this on the Talback thread under this article last night:
I used to do freelance reporting for Lancaster Newspapers (all 3) as well as out-of-town newspapers such as the Patriot-News and the Legal Intelligencer (Phila.).I was told I could never use unidentified sources UNLESS it was a situation where somebody’s life would be in danger (such as a witness to a crime when the perpetrator was still on the loose.)It violates all the canons of journalism for the Lancaster New Era to make such accusations about Shellenberger from unidentified sources.
Yes, it does.And if these “sources” really do exist, why wouldn’t they want to come forward?What reason do they have to remain “anonymous?”I think Shellenberger should sue both the Intell and the New Era.Somebody has to stop this outrageous and slanderous conduct by newspapers with a 100 percent vested interest in building the convention center.It has gone beyond journalistic ethics and decency.They are literally trying to destroy anyone who opposes the convention center by any means possible.
Coming tomorrow… A 41-year-old man died after a “protracted struggle” with police Wednesday night.Before on the following day, WGAL-TV posted this on their website, “The District Attorney’s Office also said the officers acted appropriately in the incident, according to a preliminary investigation.”
WHO ARE THE “SOURCES?”
Is Keith Orris, the Secretary of Franklin & MarshallCollege, one of these unnamed “sources” the Lancaster Newspapers are quoting regarding the Fry-Shellenberger flap?Yesterday's New Era article, “Leaders:Shellenber should quit,” has this, “Sources have said Shellenberger threatened to scuttle future development plans for the college, if Fry didn’t quit the board.”Why would these “sources” want to stay anonymous?If Shellenberger really did that why didn’t they go to the mayor or the District Attorney and complain.That is bribery.Who are these sources?Why didn’t they come forward sooner?Is Keith Orris one of them?
CHARLIE AND GIB HAVE TO GO
Please click here for Lanco Yokels take on Fry’s resignation.
This is currently the last post on Lancaster Online on the thread under the article, “Fry quits convention center authority:”
“I know Dick Shellenberger & this is definitely not his speed so lets see. We have Judy Ware who is connected to John Fry both of whom are stunned to find that someone said no to them. We have the Lancaster News (PSP themselves) pleading their sad cases and writing about unnamed sources who say Ware and Fry are the victims here. Shellenberger has an actual eyewitness who says it never happened that way & who is publicly speaking out.
It is just so hard to know who to believe! Corrupt politics YOU BET! It is not however on the part of Shellenberger or Henderson. Name these sources! We are talking about a mans career here and I am no big supporter of Shellenberger.”
CHECK BACK LATER TODAY.
- Investigate the Lancaster Police -
BRING IN THE STATE
Please see my email below and the response I received today regarding shotguns.How did the Lancaster Police “rule” that this was an “accident” in less than 24 hours?How could they have checked the gun?How could they have checked the domestic history of the couple?How could any police department in this country rule this death an “accident” in less than 24 hours?Please also go hereand click on the picture of victim Renne J. Binkley to enlarge it.What is wrong with her eye?Please also click here for “Shotgun blast inside van kills city woman,” and here for “Shooting death of driver ruled accident.”Bring in the state attorney general’s office to investigate this case and the Lancaster Police’s handling of it.
There will be more much on all of this tomorrow, including Jesse Yescalis, Mayor Smithgall’s advisor, who asked how Democratic challenger J. Richard Gray was going to have “credibility” as chief law-enforcement officer.Also, if you have yesterday’s New Era, please read and save the article on page B1 by Janet Kelly entitled, “Man pleads guilty to city gun violations.”The article was not posted on line.While the attorney general is in town he can investigate the District Attorney’s office as well.There will also be more on this article at a later date (think Glenn Wynn Robinson).
One other note – The mayoral candidates, Charlie Smithgall and J. Richard Gray, will debate tomorrow at the Lancaster Theological Seminary Refectory at 555 W. James Street at 7:00 p.m.
In this "incident" where the woman was shot in her back by her boyfriend, he is quoted as saying, "When I grabbed it and went to throw it back, all of a sudden I heard it go off." How possible is that? How much pressure is required to pull the trigger of a shotgun? Could it go off by accident without the trigger being touched/pulled? Thanks. You're my gun expert!
Could it go off by itself? Well, it is possible, but highly unlikely. I wish I knew what type of shotgun it was for certain. According to the newspaper account, the fact that they mentioned 2 shells, leads me to believe it was a double barrel as opposed to a pump action. (I really don't think that this nitwit had the smarts to operate a pump)
Assuming that it was a modern double barrel, without the old fashioned exposed hammers that you have to pull back to cock the gun for firing, it would be very difficult for the gun to fire without some kind of outside force acting on the trigger mechanism. That's not to say it couldn't happen, but it is, as I said, very unlikely.
The average trigger pull is anywhere between 3 to 8 lbs of force (3 is very rare and only on high end, very expensive guns). It varies from gun to gun. It can be modified by a gunsmith, or an owner, by filing the pawl that holds the hammer in the cocked position. This is sometimes called a "hair trigger". It reduces the amount of force necessary to release the hammer and fire the gun. It is a dangerous modification that I would not recommend for a personal protection or sporting gun. It is sometimes used by skeet shooters so they can fire at multiple targets, but it is not a common modification, especially on a double barrel. Most trigger mods are more for "smoothing" the trigger pull than for lightening it.
Double barrel shotguns are loaded and cocked by "breaking" the gun. It's hinged just behind the breech (where the shell goes into the barrel). When you break the action, a small "arm" (it looks like a little table on a pedestal) pushes the spent shells out and retracts back into position. You insert the new shells and latch the action. When the action latches, the gun cocks itself automatically and is ready to fire. If the gun is operating properly, it will not fire until the trigger(s) is (are) pulled. (some double barrels have 2 triggers)
If the gun did not have any defects in the cocking or trigger mechanism, it would be highly unlikely that it would have discharged by itself. Something (or someone) would have had to pull the trigger. Either it snagged on something or he inadvertently pulled it as he was picking it up and moving it. (or just flat out did a murder and made up a story) Guns can fire on their own if dropped from a height while cocked, but again, it is highly unlikely that this could occur in a van (even if you were standing on the roof and dropped it on the ground).
Now, all this assumes that the gun is in proper working order and functioning properly. It also assumes that it hasn't been monkeyed around with by some idiot with a Dremel Tool that thinks he's a gunsmith. Guns are like anything else made by man; they can, and do, malfunction. This moron violated at least 3 of the 10 commandments of safe gun handling. The first one being: Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
*** BREAKING NEWS ***
Democratic Mayoral candidate J. Richard Gray has just released the following statement:“I like crime. I don’t understand why the fine citizens of the City of Lancaster don’t like crime.When I am elected mayor, the Gray Administration will order the police to leave all of the criminals in the street and put all of the good, hardworking citizens of Lancaster in the county jail.”Wow!
The story below was posted within two hours of speaking with Mayor Smithgall by phone on June 27, 2005.As noted yesterday, there will be a review of this story this weekend including his comments to me regarding the death of his brother.
** BREAKING NEWS **
~ MAYOR SMITHGALL ~
NO BILLS AND A RED TAG
Mayor Smithgall does not have any bills prior to a bill dated May 19, 2005 showing that he was paying for Comcast cable service to his home address located at 534 West Lemon Street.“I have no need to keep them,” he said in a phone interview this morning, “I throw them out.”Mayor Smithgall said he does not remember when he began receiving cable service at his home address, saying he does not even have any idea of the year. “That’s a date that’s lost in infamy,” he said.He did note he used to have an antenna on the roof because he wanted to get the Baltimore weather reports for his farm in Drumore which he said were more accurate than local Lancaster reports.He said he “doesn’t remember” and “I don’t know” when he switched to cable.
The mayor said he did have a red tag on his cable line.He said possibly in February or March of this year a Comcast employee happened to stop by and said to him, “Do you know you have a red tag on your line?”The mayor told me he asked the person what a red tag means and was told, “It means it’s an illegal line.”Mayor Smithgall said the man checked it and said it was okay and took off the red tag.He doesn’t know who the man was and does not know his name but he said there are a lot of college students in the area and maybe that’s why the cable worker happened to stop by.
He said Dan Messimer, the Comcast cable contractor who has publicly alleged that the mayor was stealing cable and was charged with “defiant trespass” this past Thursday for allegedly trespassing on the mayor’s property on May 12, 2005, was on the fire escape to his property at 538 West Lemon Street.He said a neighbor saw him and said he was “looking into apartments.”He said the neighbor thought he was a burglar.He said the neighbor picked Messimer out of a “photo line-up” arranged by the police.He said he does not know the time frame or the details or why it took over a month for Messimer to be charged.He said he has never shaken hands with Messimer but “knows who he is.”He said several times that this is a political payback because Messimer worked on Luis Mendoza’s campaign for mayor against Smithgall.He also said I should look up Messimer's criminal record in the courthouse.
The mayor said again that this “cable crap” is “putting his family through hell.”
~ And Two Very Important Meetings ~
THE MAYOR HAS GOT TO GO
There will be much more here on Dan Messimer, the “Cable Guy,” and Mayor Smithgall’s trespassing charge against him this weekend.Right now I am too outraged to be coherent on the topic.I will say that I spoke to Mayor Smithgall regarding the situation shortly after Dan was charged with “defiant trespass” and posted the article on the “old” site.I will repost it here this weekend.Mayor Smithgall mentioned his brother’s death in our conversation but I did not include it in my article because I thought it was too ridiculous and vindictive. I wasn't sure anyone would believe me. I’ve never heard of anyone dying from a “hurt” back. I cannot believe that the Mayor of Lancaster is so grossly stupid and hurtful to claim that Messimer was “indirectly responsible for the death of his brother.”It is simply unbelievable. I will locate those notes and post that part of our conversation and much more on the situation here this weekend.There will also be more on the Mayor and his outrageous actions and lies of this past week.The Mayor has got to go.
WHERE’S THE AGENDA?
The Lancaster County Convention Center Authority meets tonight at at the Southern Market Center.Their website says, “The Authority shall make its best efforts to post its monthly meeting agenda on its web site by on the day preceding any regular Authority meeting.”There was no agenda posted by this morning, so I spoke to the Executive Assistant, Shelly Weikert, by phone today.She told me “The agenda hasn’t been finalized.”She said, “Things have a way of changing at the last minute.It will not be finalized until closer to the meeting.”Excuse me?This is the monthly meeting of a public authority that has already spent 15 million of the public’s money and has plans to spend 136 million more of the public’s money and nobody knows what’s on the agenda for tonight’s meeting?
NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT THEY WILL TRY TO DO…
Last month they met at in the morning with two days notice and never posted the agenda on their website.This is simply unacceptable.Ms. Weikert did say if I wanted more information I would need to speak to David Hixson, the Executive Director. I will attempt to reach him.This is posted on Lancaster First’s website, www.lancasterfirst.org, regarding tonight’s meeting: “PLEASE attend this meeting!There is no way of knowing what they will try to do next!…There are several critical issues that the LCCCA will need to deal with in the near future.These issues could be raised at any time at any meeting.”All the more reason the public has an absolute right to an agenda in advance of the meeting.
PRISON BOARD TO MEET
Lancaster County Prison Warden, Vincent Guarini, confirmed by phone today that the Prison Board will meet tomorrow morning at in the prison at 625 E. King Street.This will be an extremely important meeting because it is the first since Jon Eichelman’s attorney alleged that prison guards incited the beating of Eichelman, the man falsely accused of shooting a two-year-old and severely beaten in the prison and it is also the first meeting since 34 women were housed in the gym and the city health department found several, serious health violations.
HOW LOW CAN CHARLIE GO?
“…Smithgall told him Messimer is indirectly responsible for the death of his brother, George Smithgall Jr.”
“Campaign aide convicted,” Intell, 9-14-05
Please click here for “Was the Mayor Stealing Cable?”
Lancaster Mayor Charlie Smithgall announced today that he has reduced violent crime in the city of Lancaster by 99.9 percent in the last week.He called anyone who disagreed with this figure a “naysayer” and said they had “no vision for the future of Lancaster.”He said, “Those people should move to York.”
MORE COMING LATER TODAY!!!
~ And Hides His Ticket! ~
CHARLIE TELLS A BIG, FAT LIE!
Forty-five percent!In four months, Mayor Smithgall claims he has reduced serious crime by an additional 45%.
You see, right here, from the Mayor’s own website, is an article by John Spidaliere of the New Era on May 10, 2005 titled, “City crime dips 20% in 10 years.”The article says, “Serious crime dropped in Lancaster by 20 percent over the last decade, according to the new FBI statistics.”
This past week, on September 9, 2005, John Spidaliere wrote the story, “Can Gray grab Hispanic vote from mayor?”In this article, (posted here,) he says, “The mayor said violent crime is down by 65 percent since he took office.”
How did 20% become 65% in four months?Mayor Smithgall is a big, fat liar, that’s how.You should follow the link above to the article on the Mayor’s own website quickly, because knowing the mayor, he’ll delete it soon.
As noted below, I had a picture of the Republican ticket, taken directly from the mayor’s website, posted on this website on Saturday.Sometime, within the next 24 hours, it was deleted and the words “This website is attempting to use a copyrighted photo” appeared in its place.Now when you go on the Mayor’s site and “right click” on a photo (the standard way to copy or save a photo to your files), the following message comes up, “Contents and Graphics Copyright Smithgall For Mayor.Our work is not Public Domain, and should NOT be taken from this site.”
What a farce.This is a campaign site for public offices and I took a picture of the Republican ticket.They should be thrilled.I didn’t alter it or add mustaches to anyone or anything.I simply ran the photograph.They should want that picture posted as many places as possible.Do they have something to hide?Are they embarrassed by something?
Tomorrow I will call the Mayor’s office for an explanation. I am also going to look at G. Terry Madonna, who is quoted in the second Spidaliere article noted above, and has a quote that has been entered in the “Find the stupidest thing G. Terry Madonna says” contest.Also coming tomorrow, a look at Gil Smart’s column in this week’s Sunday News (his ridiculous headline is too long to type).
P.S. Thanks, Charlie, for reading LIP News.
COMING LATER TODAY – The full story on the missing Republican ticket photograph.Please note that with some browsers you may still be seeing the photo.But with most, there is white space where the photo should be and the wording “This website is attempting to use a copyrighted photo.”Wow.
- Censorship -
*** BREAKING NEWS!!! ***
Please look below where I had a photograph of the Republican ticket.This photo came straight from Mayor Smithgall’s website and can be viewed here.Somebody must be mighty, mighty uncomfortable. What a hoot! Due to this breaking story, the other promised articles – Charlie’s a big, fat liar, Smart’s an arrogant idiot and Hennigan’s a tired, old hack will come tomorrow.WOW!!!
RACE & GENDER
Recently, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion about race on the Lancaster Online Talkback board.I think that’s great.It needs to be discussed and the more the better. In yesterday’s New Era, there was an article, “Can Gray grab Hispanic vote from mayor?”I am going to look at that and G. Terry Madonna (again!) tomorrow.For today, I am simply going to post the photographs of the Democratic and Republican tickets from their websites.Please note that there are no women running on the Republican ticket.
THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET
THE REPUBLICAN TICKET
Please click here for the photo and see above under "Breaking News"
LIBERALS MAKE ME SCREAM!
IS THERE HOPE?
“Are you tired of meeting liberals at the bar?Do you get sick of hearing your boyfriend or girlfriend bash conservatives?Now there is hope!”Now, that’s just good writing.It comes from the ad on the website, grassrootspa.com, the conservative site of Chris Lilik, who gained his fifteen minutes of Lancaster fame from his claim that Ron Harper, Jr. was “harassing” him. I enjoy the downright stupidity of it all. They may have “sweethearts not bleeding hearts” but do any of them have a brain?
LET’S GO FOR AJOY RIDE
Speaking of stupidity, literally ten minutes before I went on vacation last week, the New Era posted the first of three articles that would be done about the latest poll by F&M’s “political analyst,” G. Terry Madonna.As you can imagine, I almost cancelled the entire vacation.There will be more on the three articles and poll this weekend, but today I simply want to post this question that asked people how serious a problem they thought this was under the category of crime: “People stealing cars or taking cars for joy rides without permission from the owner.”
In February of this year, District Attorney Donald Totaro said a grand jury was necessary in his application to President Judge Luis Farina because of “criminal activity” as follows: “Examples of criminal activity which can best be fully investigated using the resources of the Grand Jury include, but are not limited to, the following:illicit drug enterprises and related activities; racketeering as defined under the Pennsylvania Corrupt Organizations Statute, and unsolved homicides.”Five months after the grand jury was convened, and a year after Cortney Fry’s murder, Micah Stewart was charged with her homicide.What else is the grand jury investigating? Are they investigating the murder of Heather Marie Nunn?Is there still a grand jury?There is more coming this weekend.
A WHOLE LOT GOING ON
There is a lot going on next week, so mark your calendars.On Wednesday, September 14, city Controller R.B. Campbell will be in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg for the appeal in his case with Mayor Charlie Smithgall over his refusal to sign the Act 23 application for the hotel/convention center funding.That same evening, there will be a meeting of the Lancaster County Convention Center Authority at in the Southern Market Center.
On Thursday, September 15, the Lancaster County Prison Board is scheduled to meet at at the prison.That same evening, Democratic mayoral candidate Rick Gray will have a Benefit Art Auction in Liberty Place beginning at For more information and to preview the artwork, click here.