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EDITORIAL: We may finally have a taps compromise most folks in Glen Rock can live with

York Dispatch
  • Joshua Corney has said he will no longer play taps over a speaker at his Glen Rock residence.
  • Corney's loud playing of taps had created a controversy in the small town in southern York County.
  • It now appears that taps will be played at Glen Rock Park as part of a new veterans memorial.

Cooler heads, at last, seem to have prevailed.

The taps controversy in Glen Rock, after many complaints and some legal wrangling, may have finally reached a conclusion that everyone in the borough can live with.

At least we hope that’s the case.

Who would have believed that a 57-second bugle call played at dusk, during flag ceremonies and at military funerals would create such a dust-up.

Josh Corney and about two dozen supporters stand for the playing of Taps for the last time at Corney's 49 Glen Ave. home in Glen Rock, Thursday Nov. 30, 2017. Corney, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, has been playing a 57-second recording from his home just before 8 p.m. nightly for about two years now. John A. Pavoncello photo

Sadly, however, it has.

It started last spring when Joshua Corney, a lieutenant commander in the Navy, started blasting a recording of taps from speakers nightly at his Glen Avenue home. The music could be heard throughout the small southern York County town.

Many in the area supported Corney in his efforts to honor our nation’s military, especially those who have given their lives for our nation. Many others, however, resented the loud intrusion into their quiet, small-town life.

Compromise solutions: Some complained to the borough council, which, over the summer, voted to limit Corney to playing taps on “flag holidays,” such as July 4 and Memorial Day. That seemed reasonable, but the compromise didn’t last long.

Unfortunately, the borough council backed down from that vote when threatened by a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

In July, the council discussed moving the music to Glen Rock Park as part of a new memorial dedicated to veterans, and a special committee for taps was formed. During the November council meeting, the borough council voted to allow the committee to pursue taps playing from speakers at the park, which would hopefully move the sound far enough away that it wouldn’t disturb the town folk who craved quiet.

The new memorial, proposed in July, would be added to the current memorial at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Again, it seemed like a reasonable solution, but Corney, initially said he was going to continue playing taps through his speakers at his home.

He has since, however, changed his mind. Now, Corney has opted to continue to playing taps at his home, but more quietly, and just for his own personal use.

Taps to quiet down in Glen Rock this week

Doing the right thing: That’s the right thing to do.

“I felt that turning it down for my own personal use, I would be able to focus more of my attention and more of my efforts to getting the memorial built and making taps a part of our town permanently.”

Corney also said he was tired of dealing with social media animosity from both sides.

“That’s not what I set out to do,” he said.

Corney’s last rendition of taps through his speakers was Thursday night, Nov. 30.

Hopefully, that will be the final chapter written on this unfortunate drama, but there are certainly no guarantees.

Disturbing the peace: Look, there’s no doubt that taps has a proud and proper place in our society. It’s just not every single evening, played loudly enough to disturb the neighborhood peace and quiet.

If taps can be played, then any other music should be allowed to be played just as loudly.

One of Corney’s neighbors, Scott Thomason (a Navy veteran himself), did just that, as a form of protest. Thomason played popular music from groups such as Baha Men and Spice Girls at the same time as Corney played taps.

Glen Rock neighbor protests taps with Baha Men, Spice Girls

When would the musical silliness end?

Well, apparently, it ended Thursday night.

Hopefully, a compromise has been reached that ends the controversy.

Noise ordinance needed: In the meantime, as we’ve said before, the borough council must work on a better noise ordinance, which can pass a constitutional challenge. If the current noise ordinance can’t pass legal muster, then change it. Other municipalities have been able to do it.

EDITORIAL: Put another dime in the Glen Rock jukebox

An effective noise ordinance is absolutely necessary to maintain the peace and avoid any future problems.

The residents of Glen Rock should require nothing less.