Tonight is a very special evening in Gettysburg as it is the kickoff of the annual Gettysburg Fire Department Carnival. This event, while providing great food, rides, games and family memories for many county residents, also has a more important purpose, providing much needed revenue for the local volunteer fire department.

The Gettysburg Fire Department No. 1 has primary responsibility for responding to fires and other emergencies in the Borough of Gettysburg, Cumberland Township and major portions of Straban Township. Without the great volunteers and the funding that is provided by the annual carnival and other valuable funding sources, lives and property could be lost throughout the county.

For the most part, local government and local businesses are highly supportive of the carnival. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for Straban Township. I was provided with a copy of a letter from Straban Zoning Officer David Clappsaddle to former Gettysburg Fire Chief Hurshel Shank demanding the temporary sign promoting the carnival be removed from the McDonald’s property along Route 30.

First and foremost, thank you to Emmett Patterson for donating the space to allow for this sign to be placed on his property to promote the carnival. Second, a great thank you to all of the other businesses and property owners in the area that have donated space to promote the carnival, and third anytime the Fire Department wants to place a sign on my property in Cumberland Township, please let me know, the space is all yours.

How dare Clappsaddle and those in charge of Straban Township issue an edict to remove this sign.

I know Clappsaddle is enforcing a township ordinance but this is a time when a little common sense would go a long way. A business owner donates space for a much needed cause to an organization that could potentially save lives and property within a township that you live in. The township is threatening fines and legal action towards that business owner and also harassing the fire chief with your petty issues.

A plea of common sense needs to go out to Clappsaddle and the Straban Township. They must have more important things to worry about than a temporary sign promoting an event to help an organization that has volunteers risking their lives on each call they go on to save the lives of Adams County residents.

In spite of Straban’s issue with this “horrible” sign that in their minds is ruining the township’s landscape, I hope to see record crowds at this year’s fireman’s carnival and I look forward to spending my money on good food that my doctor tells me is bad for me to eat, games and rides to support such a great cause, and an organization of volunteers who deserve our thanks each and every day.

Harry Hartman is the publisher of the Gettysburg Times. Contact him at or 717-253-9403.

(1) comment

James Rife

Outrageous that this petty township tyrant did this!

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