Cocalico Corner: Election Day politics and poultry

By on November 4, 2015

OK. It’s Election Day all over the nation. Voters have choices to make. Candidates, like them or not, have stepped forward. Our republic is dependent on this process which, with changes to include all Americans, has worked pretty well over these last 239 years.

The country’s founders had this idea that the government should be of, by, and for the people. Not for us a monarchy and not for us a dictatorship.

And they also had another thought that was pretty good &tstr; work your trade or profession, step out for a time to run for and serve in office, and then step back into the real world and hand the reins of government over to the next guy, or now, thankfully, gal.

How’s that been working out? Who exactly is stepping forward? And, who’s been stepping back to make way for others?

Let’s take a little look at Cocalico. Combined the four Cocalico municipalities have, based on the latest Census statistics, 23,511 people. (The breakdown: West Cocalico, 7,373; East Cocalico, 10,435; Adamstown, 1,837; and Denver, 3,866.)

On the conservative side, let’s figure that at least 75 percent of those 23,511 people are of voting age and eligible to seek office. In this election, in the Cocalicos, there are 14 open slots for municipal and school district offices. Minimally, based on the traditional two-party system, there ought to be at least 28 people on the ballots. And, even better, more if independents or third-party candidates step forward.

But what do we have? Let’s count.

For the five open slots for four-year terms on the Cocalico School Board, we have five candidates. For the one open two-year slot, we have one candidate.

In Denver borough, there are three open slots for three four-year council terms. Three candidates are listed on the ballot.

Over in Adamstown borough, it’s the same deal. Three openings for four-year terms, three candidates on the ballot.

In West Cocalico, there is one candidate for one six-year term.

In East Cocalico Township, Alan Fry opposed himself.

In East Cocalico Township, Alan Fry opposed himself.

But, in East Cocalico, low and behold, there are two listings for the one open six-year seat. But, surprise — the two listings are for the same guy. Incumbent Republican supervisor Alan R. Fry waged a write-in campaign in the spring on the Democratic side. He got 12 write-in votes, besting another hopeful, and won his place on the Democratic ballot (cross-filing is not permitted for municipal posts). So, in essence, he’s running against himself and is sure to win — barring some unlikely write-in success.

And, did we mention that in all these uncontested races, the candidates are Republicans? Not quite the two-party, multi-candidate concept our forebears envisioned. But Republican dominance in rural Lancaster County is offset considerably by Democrats in the city &tstr; the norm for many parts of the country.

So, stopping by a couple polling places Tuesday morning, there was little happening and not a great deal of interest. The most activity was courtesy of Manley and Kathryn Case of Coatesville, Chester County.

Photos by Donna Reed The Cases, Kathryn and Manley, are enthusiastic supporters of their son Richard Case’s write-in campaign for constable.

Photos by Donna Reed
The Cases, Kathryn and Manley, are enthusiastic supporters of their son Richard Case’s write-in campaign for constable.

This amiable couple was distributing smiles and cards in the hopes that their son, Richard Case, wrapping up a career at Pepperidge Farms, might be the successful write-in victor for the constable post which works directly with Magisterial District Justice Nancy G. Hamill, the Stevens-based incumbent, who is also unopposed.

The Cases are proud parents as they should be for a son who is stepping up to run for office. Constable is not a particularly easy job — perhaps the reason no one had run for it this time around in magisterial district 02-3-07.

“He’s always had an interest in law enforcement,” said Manley Case of his son who lives on South Cocalico Road in the township. “He found out no one had expressed an interest and decided to go forward.”

The Cases hopefully approached and patiently explained the write-in process to voters. Their easy ways and smiles clearly made an impact and the bold blue-and-white cards with their son’s name helped the cause.

As the Cases worked the precinct at the Reinholds Fire Company (West Cocalico building), Richard Case manned the polls at the Schoeneck Fire Company.

They had a set plan for victory.

“We’re shooting for 50 write-in votes, but hoping for 20,” said Manley Case.

To pass the time, Kathryn Case handled the cell phone communication with her son and found the opportunity to do some knitting.

If the past is prologue, Richard Case should be feeling pretty good. His parents worked the successful magisterial district justice primary campaign waged by their son-in-law Miles Bixler in Columbia borough, Lancaster County.

And, the Cases have come to like the sociability of election days.

“Everyone says ‘hello’,” said Kathryn. “It’s a good way to spend the day.”

A few yards away from the polls, Carolyn Hildebrand, the township manager, is waging another sort of campaign — this one to warn residents with backyard chicken roosts to be aware of the spread of avian flu.

As birds migrate, the chance of spreading the flu is enhanced, and while the township knows where the big chicken farms are, it’s the smaller flocks that are of concern.

Hildebrand is fashioning some signs urging residents with chickens to fill out some data information sheets.

She is also directing them to the Internet and ag offices.

“They should contact the local Penn State Extension 717-394-6851 or the state Department of Agriculture at 717-722-2852 or the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 866-536-7593 if they have sick birds,” she said.

The backyard flock information is available by visiting www.agriculture.pa.gov and searching for avian flu.

Hildebrand noted that even in a township as rural as West Cocalico, poultry will turn up living in unexpected areas.

“This past summer we got a call from an individual on Main Street in Reinholds who was being disturbed by the roosters crowing at all hours of the day and night in the neighbor’s attic,” said Hildebrand.

“’I can see them in the attic window’,” said the complainant as Hildebrand recalls.

Yes, you read that correctly — attic.

Anyhow, needless to say, the township required the roosters to relocate. No word if their owner, the renter, did as well.

Hildebrand said the information available will enable small flock owners to be aware of avian flu symptoms exhibited by affected birds.

That’s a good thing if you’re a chicken — or a flock owner.

In fact, you might say it’s something to crow about.

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