When: Ephrata Borough Council meeting, Jan. 11.
What happened: Concern over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 and the continuing unrest throughout the nation steered the conversation of council members. In response to a citizen expressing worry over what might happen next, Mayor Ralph Mowen, a Republican, shared his sentiments.
Quotable: “That was insurrection,” Mowen said. “When I watched this horrible thing going on in Washington, I was so angry that was the president of this country inciting a riot and inciting insurrection while spewing lies about a ‘stolen’ election.”
Also: Mowen recently received a letter from Amnesty International asking him, in his capacity as mayor, to make human rights a priority and expose white supremacy groups. The organization also requested that Mowen issue an executive order regarding all open and concealed weapons. “That’s a Second Amendment right,” Mowen said. “As mayor, I have no authority whatever to regulate guns.”
Public comment: Borough resident Susanna Wurtz asked what the council and the police department are prepared to do to keep residents safe. “People from our own community ... took part in the insurrection, trying to overturn the results of a fair election,” Wurtz said. “You have to realize that there are white supremacy groups in the area. They are ready to cause harm; they are spreading fear and hate.”
Police ready: Mowen assured Wurtz the police department is aware of heightened tensions and is prepared. Police Chief John Petrick said his force will always take action to protect others and allow peaceful protests.
Other matters: Borough Council recognized borough employees for their work in all departments over the past difficult year. “We want to celebrate the men and women employed by the borough,” Council President Susan Rowe said. “They faced challenges, sacrificed time with their families to work overtime for the borough and did it all without complaint.”