Nightly taps in Glen Rock resumes for now

Taps will once again be heard nightly in Glen Rock — for now.

Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said Monday that the Glen Rock Borough Council agreed to allow Joshua Corney, a lieutenant commander in the Navy and former councilman, to play taps from speakers nightly.

Corney had previously played taps every day at 8 p.m. for nearly two years. During the borough council's June 21 meeting, the council voted to limit the music to Sundays and selected holidays.

Neighbors Glenn Engler, center, and wife Linda, left, join Joshua Corney's family in front of their Glen Rock home for the playing of taps, Tuesday, July 4, 2017.  John A. Pavoncello photo


ACLU: On Wednesday, the ACLU sent borough council president Doug Young a letter, warning of a lawsuit if the council continues limiting Corney's nightly music. The council was given until 5 p.m. Friday to come to a resolution or face a lawsuit.

“I spoke to the solicitor on Friday, and the borough council will consider our request … at their board meeting on July 19," Walczak said.

He said in the meantime, Corney will continue playing taps at no greater volume than he was playing before.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017--Joshua Corney stands near the elevated speakers behind his Glen Rock home. The speakers amplify the playing of taps each night as a tribute to troops. The active-duty Navy sailor is at the center of a controversy as some residents object to the practice. Bill Kalina photo

Walczak said there are other things that play loudly in the borough, including church bells. He also said common tools such as lawn mowers or chain saws make noises louder than taps.

“Under those circumstances, picking out taps for censorship is pretty much impossible to do legally," he said.

Corney confirmed Monday that he would begin playing daily again starting that night.

Young and borough solicitor Michélle Pokrifka did not immediately return requests for comment Monday afternoon.

Background: On June 30, the borough issued a statement regarding the initial decision to limit taps.

The council reiterated that the nightly amplified playing of taps violated the noise ordinance and that the council tried to find a compromise because of the "sensitivity and personal nature of the subject matter."

Additionally, the council stated that its decision was not "anti-American."

"In no way is the council’s decision a reflection of anti-American beliefs or a lack of respect for those who serve our country, and in no way is the decision of council a commentary on their feelings regarding taps," the statement reads in part.

"(The statement) was put out to set the record straight because there are a lot of rumors and misinformation out there," Young said in an email Friday.

An online petition was started in support of Corney's nightly playing, and as of Monday afternoon it had collected more than 4,300 signatures.

In addition to the online petition, a Facebook group was set up to support his cause. More than 800 people have joined the group. A GoFundMe page was set up to help with any legal fees Corney might incur.

Corney said he resigned from the council on June 27. He declined to say why he resigned but added that he received "no threats or intimidation" from anyone.

The next borough council meeting is 7 p.m. July 19.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.