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    I spoke to Manheim Township Chief of Police Neil Harkins by phone today at 3:15 p.m. regarding the charges lodged against James M. Swarr for shooting across Graystone Road in East Petersburg on Saturday (see the boxes and link to the Sunday News story below).   

    Chief Harkins confirmed that he was shooting two guns, a .22 caliber rifle and a shotgun.  One of the bullets smashed the window of a passing car and a five-month old child in the car suffered “minor facial injuries” from the breaking glass according to the Sunday News story.

    Chief Harkins said he has reviewed the case and says the arrest and charges were performed according to the law.  Regarding the charge of simple assault, he said Swarr’s actions don’t meet the legal definition of aggravated assault.  He said you have to prove intent and there has to be serious injury for a charge of aggravated assault.  He also said the charges were determined by a member of the District Attorney’s staff.

    I asked Chief Harkins if Swarr had been drinking.  He said, “I have no idea.”  I asked if the officers on the scene had checked and he said, “I’m sure they did.”

    When asked why Swarr would be receiving a summons in the mail rather than being taken before a District Justice and posting bail, Harkins said that call was made by the District Justice and he believes she should have come out.  He said I would have to ask her why she did not.

    I asked Chief Harkins if was aware that Swarr had two very serious DUI charges brought within four months of each other in 2007 and he said he was not aware of that but it would be taken into account when Swarr is tried.

    Chief Harkins also said twice during the interview that he “doesn’t have time to respond to online blogs.”

     Harkins did call me back about 15 minutes after the first call to verify my identity and my website.  I read him the quotes from Sgt. Thomas Rudzinski in the Sunday News about Swarr:  “He was careless in judgment,” and “He didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”  Harkins said, “I don’t know where they [the Sunday News] got that” and Harkins said he disagreed with those remarks.

    But Harkins said that he does not understand the criticism in this case and reiterated, “We have to follow the law and we followed the law in this case.”

Please check back tomorrow…


    James M. Swarr, the defendant in the story immediately below where a five-month-old child was injured, is facing two current DUI charges and other automobile offenses.  One DUI charge dates from 8-21-07 and one from 4-15-07.

Please check back later today…   

~ Justice For All? ~


    [Editor's Note:  The below comments were posted on the Lancaster Online Talkback forum in response to the Sunday News article, “Infant is hurt by potshot,” (click here).   I will try to obtain answers from the Manheim Township police today and will document my phone calls.  The piece on Lancaster County Detective Joseph P. Geesey will come tomorrow.]


    As I said in the first thread on this incident, why is this guy only charged with simple assault and the other less minor offenses? This guy should have been charged with Agg. Assault and taken before a DJ and made to post bail. You don't shoot across a road and you sure don't shoot a gun where other homes and people are. This guy needs a little prison time to wake him up.


    Must be a friend of the cop - I don't think I have EVER seen a report of a police officer or any other official saying, "he didn't mean to hurt anyone". Normally they make mountains out of molehills and this time they are not taking what SHOULD be a very, very serious offense - seriously. Shooting his gun across the road? What the heck was he thinking? He's incredibly lucky he did not hit one of the children or the driver - would we have called it something different then?


    I have been shaking my head wondering what is going on here since I heard this story. The comments from the police left me with my mouth hanging open. The guy was shooting his gun and missed his target ... We certainly are very fortunate this did not have greater consequences. His gun should be taken until he can prove he has a clue how to use it safely. Was the guy drinking way too much?? I'm certainly feeling like we don't know the whole story here.


    I ditto your "unbelievable." His behavior sounds very strange; you'd at least think he would be somewhere being evaluated before being let out on the street again. We always talk about the 'warning signs' and how they are missed and then worse things happen. After reading this, how many more warning signs do the police need before they remove someone from the street and their gun before something worse happens?


~ And No One is Dead! ~


     "He was careless in judgment," said Sgt. Thomas Rudzinski, public information officer for Manheim Township police. "He didn't mean to hurt anyone."

Today’s front page Sunday News article, “Infant is hurt by potshot,” (click here).

    Your understanding is really sweet, Sgt. Rudzinski!  It was just a careless moment?  He didn’t mean to hurt anyone?  That’s nice, because the article says this:

    James M. Swarr, 40, of the 6300 block of Carpenter Street, East Petersburg, was arrested after police determined he had been firing a .22 caliber rifle and a shotgun toward and across Graystone Road, including at a junction box on a utility pole. One of the bullets shattered the car window, police said.

    Can you imagine if Swarr was black or Hispanic?  Can you even begin to imagine?  Apparently Swarr will be getting a summons in the mail.  Unbelievable.


It's been one-hundred and seventy days since the coroner released his autopsy on Cortney Fry.  It's been ten months since she "disappeared."  No one has been charged with her murder.  There is a killer on the loose.  Hold the police accountable.  Bring in outside help.





    As many readers of this website know, I’ve had a box at the top of this website for almost six months.  When I took it down yesterday, I had changed it that morning to read “It’s been one-hundred and seventy days since the coroner released his autopsy on Cortney Fry.”  I do not have time today to discuss the charge of murder brought against her boyfriend, Micah Stewart, yesterday.  I will do a lengthy story next week, which will also be the one year anniversary of the day she “disappeared” (July 20, 2004).  What I will say today, and expand upon in my article, is that an outside agency needs to come in and investigate the District Attorney’s office and their investigation of this case.  An alleged murderer was left on the streets for almost a year.  A family was in anguish.  Donald Totaro, and the County Detectives that were involved in the case, need to be removed and possibly prosecuted.  More later.


This is from the archived page on this site, “Totaro/Fry,” – click here.  This is in response to today’s unconscionable article by Janet Kelley on Lancaster County Detective Joseph P. Geesey – click here.  Please check back on Monday for “Case closed?  No -  because of this guy.” 


~ John Fry’s Lawn! ~



    The embarrassing front-page, throw-away-the-last-shreds-of-journalistic-integrity attempt to propagandize on behalf of a project in which Lancaster Newspapers is a 50% private partner, was notable in its shamelessness.

From this week’s Lancaster Post naming Gil Smart’s “article,” “Confidence building,” the “Puff Piece of the Week.”

    It was notable for its shamelessness, very poor writing and lack of any content.  But that’s what we’ve come to expect from, as the Post puts it, the “ironically named Gil Smart.”  What a hoot!

    And it’s nice to see Mary Anne Motter Cullen writing the excellent front page story, “What Would Franklin and Marshall Do?”  I agree, Mary Anne, they wouldn’t be happy.

    And the Post editorial urges us to “party on” to celebrate Independence Day.  And I say yes indeed and further – celebrate Independence Day on John Fry’s front lawn! 

    Here’s my reasoning – and no I’m not an F&M graduate like Mary Anne - but my father taught there for 37 years ():  Fry and F&M security felt Fry’s home was an extension of F&M’s property and since Fry told us all that F&M welcomes the public onto their property (with the exception of Ron Harper, Jr. and Chris Hart Nibbrig!) this means we are free to picnic and party on his front lawn! 

    Oh, happy day!  While you’re there, make sure to pick up a Lancaster Post from that nice red newspaper box conveniently located close to Fry’s home!  And offer John a slice of watermelon if he should pass by!

    Have a great Independence Day!  LIPNews will resume daily publishing on Monday, July 7.

The Lancaster Post is here.

Smart’s shameless article, “Confidence building,” is here.



What a hoot!  Click here for the special Independence Day edition of the Lancaster Post!

Please check back later today…




    I'm a Godless, evil porner who wants to turn out all of your daughters and have them doing large groups of black men and terrorists.

Posted by a man claiming to be pornographer Mike South on the Lancaster Online forum today under the Sunday News article, “Porn Addiction.”

   Racism rears its nasty, ugly head.  I guess he assumes all the Talkbackers are white – and he’s probably pretty close to the truth, because no one has called him out on this incredibly racist post.

    LIPNews will publish briefly tomorrow and then go on vacation until Monday, July 7, when daily publishing will resume.


Please check back later today…


~ More quotes of the Week! ~



    Guess we're not in Farmersville anymore.

Posted under yesterday’s New Era article, “Last Word on Landis:  guilty.”

    You’ve got that right.  Give it up, Floyd.  Give it up.

    What if he had hit a cellist?

Posted under today’s Intell article, “Driver jailed for hitting violinist.”

    Good question and what a stupid headline!  Maybe we are in Farmersville.

    You're a chump!

Posted under the Sunday News “Porn Addiction” article and directed at the pornographer who showed up and is getting some free advertising there.

    Yes, he’s a chump and much worse!  The Talkbackers are doing an excellent job of taking down this dreg of society.  Hey, LOL moderators, maybe next you’ll let him post links to porn sites? 

    If I want to know what Gil thinks, I'll check Sullivan.

Posted under a Gil Smart thread.

    Classic and so, so true.

    So let me get this straight. Mr. Rineer isn't a stupid conservative but Gil Smart gets him all worked up but still every week he reads Gil Smart and gets all worked up and shakes his fist at the sky?
    Uh why not stop reading Gil Smart?
    This is one of those made up letters to make conservatives look stupid, right?  LOL

Posted under a Letter to the Editor complaining about Gil Smart.

    What an absolute hoot!

    Please stop calling this white elephant a convention center. It is a CASINO.
Do you think for one second Penn Square partners wants a stake in a convention center?
The convention center scheme is only to suck the taxpayer money in first. I do have some ideas on the name of the new Casino:
High stake High’s Casino
Steinman’s Off Track Palace and Casino
Gib Armstrong Slots O Pork Casino
Gil once again can’t ask the obvious questions.

Posted under Gil Smart’s Sunday News article, “Confidence building.”

    I like the Gib Armstrong Slots O Pork Casino myself!

    "John Fry doesn't want a newspaper box in his front yard, but he wants to put a railroad switching yard in mine."

Carol Petersen in her column in Saturday’s Intell/New Era.

    I know I’ve used it before but I enjoy it so much!

    Speaking of Harper, I have asked him to be body slammed by F&M security at least once a month if possible.  This site had over 10,000 visitors during the month of June.  It is my highest traffic month in almost four years of publishing – all “thanks” to Harper.  And thank you very much to my readers.

Please check back tomorrow…


~ For Smart! ~




Siobhan Keane watched the giant crane hovering over Penn Square and began to wonder if she was in Lancaster.


Siobhan Keane watched the giant crane hovering over Penn Square and began to wonder if she was in Lancaster because it was.


Please check back later today…

~ More Quotes of the Week! ~



    Siobhan Keane watched the giant crane hovering over Penn Square and began to wonder if she was in Lancaster because it was.

Gil Smart’s lead sentence in his front page Sunday News article this week, "Confidence building," (click here). 

    This is terrible, terrible writing.  Never ever end a sentence (let alone a lead) with a verb!  And how long has the crane been in Lancaster?  For at least several months - so is Keane behind the times (and hasn’t looked up in months) or is Smart just stupid.  I’ll go with the latter which leads me to his blog post today in response to Lanco Yokels’ column (see “DROP ME A LINE!” below on this site)::

    Ah, the life of a critic. Yokel, if you ever go on vacation I could probably write some of your blog posts for you.

    Ah, the life of an idiot.  My bet is Yokel wouldn’t let you touch his blog and Yokel can write – and sadly - you can’t, Smart.

    Parents are also advised to use discretion in determining whether children should read this feature, as well as the other related stories in this section that deal with the subject of pornography.

    Part of an “Editor’s Note” under this Sunday’s article, “Porn addiction,” (click here).

    Calm down, Marv.  There was very little in that story other than the husband is “addicted” to porn.  Talk about boring.  Of course it has sparked great comment on the Talkback forum – especially because an alleged porn industry tycoon showed up – the drama! - but I don’t touch gay marriage, abortion or porn threads!   I’ve learned my lesson, folks.

    …would the author of this blog PLEASE get rid of the "Gay Flesh Eating Happy Vampires from Fire Island" head shot already???? It's honestly giving me nightmares.

Posted by a Talkbacker under one of the newspaper blogs.

    Is he talking about Helen Colwell Adams?  Okay, okay.  Calm down people.  I know he’s not.  I’m just so tired of looking at her mousy picture every week.

    No, he’s talking about Dave O’Connor’s Blog and the picture is truly dreadful and scary.  Please, please take another picture and put it up, Dave!

    If you’ve never seen it, go to Lancaster Online’s home page – go about halfway down where it lists Upickem and Blogs on the left.  Click on Blogs and then arrow down (the arrows are over on the right and the order is always different) through the Blogs until you get to “Cross Rock.”  Do not blame me if you get nightmares tonight.  You have been forewarned!


~ Quotes of the Week ~



     F&M President John Fry replied that those financial measures would not be necessary because “you all know where we live.” The comment brought to mind images of Lancaster Post co-publisher Ron Harper prone on the sidewalk in front of Fry’s house.

From Carol Petersen’s column in Saturday’s Intell/New Era.

    Ron Harper, Jr. and F&M dominated the alternative news sources and the Talkback forum for almost a month.  Amazing!  I think we should have a picnic on John Fry’s lawn! 

    Curious as to your thoughts, which I'd like to quote in my never-ending quest to be "fair and balanced" (detest that term). Drop me a line, when you've got time.

Gil Smart in an email to Randy Carney requesting comments for his Sunday News article (see “FAIR & BALANCED?” below on this site).

    Can you imagine Smart going on a job interview?

    Interviewer:  “Can you be fair and balanced in your reporting?”

    Smart:  “I detest that term.”

    In today's Sunday News, Gil Smart has two pieces that show the importance of asking the right questions when you're trying to figure something out. Unfortunately, Gil shows this by failing to ask the right questions, so let me quickly illustrate.

    Lanco Yokels in his column, “Asking the Right Questions,” (click here).

    Maybe you could drop him a line, when you’ve got time, Yokel! reports that its webserver was "damaged" over the weekend.

    Posted by “WeirdScience” under a thread he began on the Lancaster Talkback forum titled, “Report:  Lipnews Webserver Damaged - Independent Press attacked?”

    Get lost, The_Crow.  I don’t have a “webserver.”  My webhost does and that is what they reported to me.  No, LIPNews wasn’t "attacked."  I blame Harper!  Oh, and get lost, Crow!  Weirdo.

Please check back later today…



"John Fry doesn't want a newspaper box in his front yard, but he wants to put a railroad switching yard in mine."

A quote from a column in yesterday’s paper.

    That is classic and hilarious and so true!  There will be more on F&M and Carol Petersen’s column and how Ron Harper, Jr. caused the damage to my webhost’s server tomorrow. Rascal!  (Hint – think “traffic!”)

    This morning I printed Gil Smart’s email to Randy Carney asking for his comment on Smart’s article linked to below.  This is Randy’s response to one of three questions in the email he responded to.  Yes, it is lengthy but it is very important and very well written (tomorrow – why I think Smart’s email was totally inappropriate and unprofessional):

Can the project simultaneously be a "success" in terms of spurring additional revitalization and a "failure" on its own terms?
No economic revitalization project can truly be considered to be a "success" unless it generates enough additional economic revitalization to justify its own costs.  If taxpayers must indefinitely put more money into a project than it can possibly generate in additional economic revitalization, then that project cannot possibly make any kind of economic sense, and it would indeed be a failure.
    "A 'failure' on its own terms" is a vague proposition.  In my opinion, as long as the hotel and convention center brings in any kind of business whatsoever, the local media will loudly and repeatedly trumpet how much of a "success" it really is.  Why do I say this?  Look through your own newspaper articles; since 2003, can you find even one that compares the actual cost to taxpayers of the project to what kind of economic revitalization it will provide?  Was there even one mention of how the real estate tax revenue lost because of this project will be made up?  I believe the pattern of selling the public on the merits of this project, without an honest evaluation of its actual costs, will continue indefinitely.  I have no doubt that the project will generate some business, and some economic revitalization.  Will it be enough to justify its costs to taxpayers?  I doubt it very much.
    The original 1999 project made some economic sense, in spite of the valid controversy over the "hotel tax"; the 2003 project is of a much larger magnitude.  I never openly opposed the project until the Penn Square Partners decided they couldn't afford to pay real estate taxes on their "private" hotel.  Belatedly I came to realize just how bad a deal for taxpayers the agreements that govern this project really are.
    Yes, I know the project cannot possibly be stopped now.  On the other hand, local taxpayers need not accept the fact that this project will inevitably require a lot more tax revenue than it is currently receiving.  It is obvious that there is no way this project can function indefinitely without additional tax revenue.
    What can be done?  The agreements that govern the project must be renegotiated.  Period.  The bleeding must be stopped.  The Penn Square Partners must agree to a more equitable division of costs and responsibilities.  If the Penn Square Partners refuse, or threaten legal action, it would be easy to show that Stevens & Lee negotiated on behalf of the LCCCA at the same time they were working for High on other projects - a clear conflict of interest, which could invalidate these agreements.
    There are many of us who are convinced that this is the wrong project for downtown Lancaster.  Will it help sustain Lancaster, or will the convention center's numerous vacant days combined with higher taxes only serve to drive business away from downtown Lancaster?


[Editor’s note:  According to Randy Carney, who is quoted in Gil Smart’s front page article in the Sunday News today titled, “Confidence building,” the below is Smart’s email to him requesting comments.  I am stunned by the unprofessionalism (and stupidity)displayed in this email.  Please check back later today for Carney’s response to Smart.  Also a note to Smart – this is no longer a $170 million dollar project in which your boss who writes your paycheck is a 50% business partner – the cost is much higher.  And you forgot the LCCCA has a $400,000 shortage that was reported (not by your papers) this week and is desperately relying on State Senator Gib Armstrong to bring them yet another $6 million dollars in public money for this monstrosity.  The Sunday News article is here).


From: Smart, Gil <>
Date: Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 12:43 PM
Subject: convention center questions
    Gil Smart here, because I'm writing something about the convention center project and figured you might have an opinion on it...

    We'd run a couple of stories recently about businesses that have recently opened or expanded (Red Rose Restaurant, and the Ad Lib Cafe) in which the owners said that the project on Penn Square was a factor in their decision. And so we asked: How widespread is that? The project has always been touted by its proponents in terms of "economic development," but the debate has long focused on the project itself - how many/what kind of jobs, how many bookings, hotel occupancy rates, etc.

    But it seems to me that the idea of the project as catalyst was always part of the mix; the idea that this project would help spur others to invest downtown.

     So, I've spent the past week or so talking to about a dozen local businesses that have recently opened or expanded, asking them: Why? Why did you come downtown, or expand, and did the project have anything to do with your thinking? And the answer, pretty much across the board, has been: Sort of.

   Which is to say that most assert they would have opened anyway, even if the project had never made it past the drawing board; their businesses do not and will not depend on the proeject. At the same time, the fact that something is being built on Penn Square is indeed very important, in that it help convey the sense of a city on the way back up, a momentum which is vital.

    Being an outspoken and fairly eloquent critic of the project, I wanted to put the question to you, as I've put it to Robert Field and Victor Capecce: How important do you think this is? In the grand scheme of things does "momentum" matter, if the revenue projections for the hotel and center aren't met? Can the project simultaneously be a "success" in terms of spurring additional revitalization and a "failure" on its own terms?

    Curious as to your thoughts, which I'd like to quote in my never-ending quest to be "fair and balanced" (detest that term). Drop me a line, when you've got time.


Gil Smart

Sunday News




Please check back later today…



    This email in yesterday at 6:15 p.m. from my webhost after I couldn’t publish my site - if I can publish now and you can read this.  LIPNews will not publish (again?) today, but (fingers crossed!) will publish tomorrow.  Thank you for your patience.


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