Ephrata council lauds design contest winners

By on July 24, 2019

Young environmentalists were honored at Ephrata’s Borough Council’s July 8 meeting.

Third graders from Highland Elementary School Ryan Mentzer and Mya Brendle stood and received applause from council as group winners of a design contest that targeted water pollution.

Also in the winning group were third graders Maddy Wagner and Ariannah Eberle, who were not able to attend the meeting. Their teacher, Amanda Halteman, introduced the students and explained how the students addressed their “reducing pollution” assignment.

Nick Thomas, Ephrata’s foremen of public works, explained the background of the design challenge.

The public works staff promotes MS4 education with school children to help them understand the importance of protecting air, water, and soil. To continue their educational efforts, the staff has partnered with Highland Elementary School for the past two years, Thomas said.

“One thing we highlight is clean water,” Thomas said. “We explain the importance of not letting grass clippings or trash get into the storm sewers because that will go into the Cocalico Creek and eventually, down to the Chesapeake.”

The students also had a field trip to a water treatment plant to help instill the importance of clean water and to show how much work goes into returning water to a useable state.

“We thought it would be a good idea for the students to take what they’re learning and do a real-world application,” Thomas said. “The teachers at Highland teach the kids that every drop matters.”

The community storm water education project at Highland promotes “Only Rain in the Drain” as a way to ensure a healthy environment and clean water supply.

As part of the community education program, the storm water catch basin inlet markers are being updated.

To encourage the importance of a clean storm sewer system, the third-graders at Highland were asked to design a new marker for the inlets.

Working in groups, the students came up with 21 designs. Of those, the Public Works staff chose six finalists, and the borough’s Highway Committee chose the winner.

The winning design, which will be going on all inlet markers, shows a duck swimming with the logo “Don’t even bother to pollute the water.”

Council President Susan E. Rowe congratulated the staff for combining education with government in order to spread the word to reduce pollution. In another matter, Municipal Services Manager Nancy Harris presented the meeting’s “Municipal Moment,” speaking about a trilogy of nuisance ordinances that went into effect in 2017.

The ordinances deal with rental properties, noise, and nuisance properties.

The borough currently has about 2,380 rental properties, Harris said, with most presenting no problem to her office.

Harris said she is not aware of any noise complaints, although a few nuisance properties are being resistant to recommendations to clean up the properties.
In answer to council members’ questions, Harris said the problems stem from unsightly junk being left in yards.

“They have been issued citations, but are not complying, so we’ve got to come to some resolution,” Harris said.

In other business, regarding UGI’s latest natural gas extension plans, council conditionally approved the gas main extensions subject to three separate agreements, a “Get Gas Program” agreement and two “Street Opening and Gas Service Extension” agreements between UGI Utilities and the Borough of Ephrata.

This includes certificates of insurance acceptable to the borough solicitor and a borough receipt of $107,813 payment from UGI in lieu of payment restoration.

That payment is to serve as compensation to the borough for future costs to restore portions of East Fulton Street and Jeff Avenue, as well as providing pavement and concrete sidewalk restoration along West Pine Street and North and South State streets.

Sidewalk restoration is to be done as soon as possible, no later than Aug. 30, according to documentation from UGI to borough council.

In other business, also approved was a measure authorizing the president of borough council and the borough secretary to apply for traffic signal modifications at East Main Street and Bethany

Road for a signal in relation to the proposed Ephrata Crossing development.

In another matter, the council approved a funding request in the amount of $88,405 to Mainspring of Ephrata, the first budget request for the 2019-2020 year.

Council also approved a request from Richard Gehman, Boy Scout Troop 73 committee chairperson, for the troop to use the East Locust Street parking lot and staff the West Franklin Street parking lot to park cars during the 2019 Ephrata Fair as a fundraiser.

Council also approved a request from Josh McCracken, principal of Fulton Elementary School, for students to place flags at the Winters Leadership Plaza for Veterans Day.

Marylouise Sholly is a freelance feature writer for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at weezsholly@verizon.net. 

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