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Where we live: Lancaster 3/08


The “Save the Redskin Tradition” banner that hung a little more than two weeks above Lancaster’s village business district, came down this week, but the great division over whether to keep or drop the Redskin school mascot is building momentum.

The School District last week held a forum, which drew about 700 people, to glean input from both camps - pro-mascot and anti-mascot. While the forum remained civil, it represented strong opinions and passion from both sides.

The School Board is not saying when it will decide on the mascot issue.

But the same night as the forum, pro-Redskin activist Brenda Piskun Christopher, a former Lancaster School Board member and 1987 graduate, announced she plans to run again for a School Board seat.Two board seats are up in May - those now held by Wendy Buchert, who is part Native American; and Kimberly Nowak.

Christopher didn’t mince words last week in a lengthy online post on a Facebook group “Keep the Tradition Alive! Once a Redskin, Always a Redskin.”

Aside from her vigorous support of retaining the Redskins moniker, she asked her pro-Redskins friends to regroup. She also spoke in her online post to growing dissatisfaction among her Redskins “friends” with school Superintendent Michael J. Vallely.

“Some (actually most) of you are calling for our superintendent’s head on a platter. I get it. I understand it, but you must know the board, and only the board, can oust a superintendent,” she wrote. “I’m hearing a lot of talk about another rally and petitioning to send a clear message to the superintendent and board. I support these ideas; HOWEVER, they MUST be held with dignity and RESPECT. You will get nowhere with negativity, slander and even threats.”

Christopher, who served on the board from 2010 to 2013, softened her comments Wednesday in an interview. “I’m not out to get Vallely’s job,” she told The News. “He’s in an incredibly difficult position. I don’t want the community pitted against itself. We’re a great group of people, whether you’re a pro-Redskin or not. We can solve this. We’ll figure it out. I just want to do it with some class.”

Vallely declined to comment on Christopher’s comments.

This week:

•The Village Board meets in a work session at 6 p.m. Monday, followed by a regular meeting at 7, in the Municipal Building, 5423 Broadway.

•The School Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in regular session at the former Central Avenue School, 149 Central Ave.

•The Lancaster Industrial Development Agency meets at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, holding a public hearing on Cocoon Development’s request for financial assistance for its $18.4 million proposal to acquire land at 375 Harris Hill Road and build 150 senior apartments. The apartments would be market rate. THe developer is seeking mortgage and sales tax exemptions, along with tax breaks.

The agency’s board meets in Town Hall, 21 Central Ave.

• Defiant Monkey Improv will perform as part of Family Fun Day at the Lancaster Public Library at 1 p.m. Saturday. The library is at 5466 Broadway. Show is free to the public and appropriate for all ages.