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Roots And Blues Fest Will Return November 28, 2014

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Eight venues, 10 stages, more than 60 bands, and only two days to take it all in. Lancaster Roots and Blues - A Festival of Music will return on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6 and 7, 2015, and it is promising to be even bigger than its initial launch in 2014.

"For a first-year event, it went gangbusters," said organizer Rich Ruoff. "Almost 5,000 people attended, and I expect more this year. Everybody was happy with it, and they wanted us back."

The 2015 festival will be similar to the original in that it will take place over the course of two days and at mostly the same venues. There will be a few changes, however, as three new venues have been added, and a fresh lineup of performers has been created. The festival will take place in historic downtown Lancaster. All of the venues are within walking distance, but a shuttle bus will be available.

Ruoff has chosen a diverse slate of performers for the festival. Eloise Sharkey, who performs as just "Eloise," is the youngest at age 15. Harper and Midwest Kind are Australian, and Harper is of Aboriginal descent. British artists Joanne Shaw Taylor and Savoy Brown will be performing as well. Grammy Award winners Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, as well as Steep Canyon Rangers, will take their turns on stage too. The latter group has toured and recorded with comedian, actor, and banjo musician Steve Martin.

Local artists will include Andy Mowatt's Steely Jam, Corty Byron, Jessica Smucker, Reach Around Rodeo Clowns, Second Sky, Slim Fit, Trio Agave, Vinegar Creek Constituency, the Willie Marble Xperience, and Tony Torres and Real Gone. York-based '90s hitmaker Live will also perform. The group recently released its first album in eight years.

"They're helping me out (by playing at the festival)," Ruoff said of Live. "Their single is charting on the rock charts."

Ruoff described the overall feel of the festival as early rockabilly, jazz, and Americana. "A lot of it is very danceable," he said. "The musicianship is at a very high level. I was picky. I turned away a lot (of requests for permission to perform)."

A complete schedule of acts will eventually be posted on the event's website, www.lancasterrootsandblues.com. In the meantime, tickets may be purchased through the site. The price will increase on Jan. 1, so Ruoff suggested taking advantage of the lower price by purchasing tickets for Christmas presents. Tickets are available for one or both days, and VIP passes are available as well.

When attendees check in at their first stop of the festival, they will receive a 64-page program that includes the schedule, a map, and the list of artists. Advertising opportunities in the program are available, with revenue helping to cover the costs of the event. To inquire about advertising or for more information about the festival, readers may call Ruoff at 875-2772.

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Mountville Community Chorus Concerts November 28, 2014

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The Mountville Community Chorus will present two concerts on Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6. Both performances will begin at 7 p.m. and will take place in the sanctuary of Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ, 450 W. Main St., Mountville. The slated repertoire will include a mix of classic Christmas songs and carols.

"They're upbeat, very high-energy (selections)," said director Shannon Edwards.

The chorus was formed this summer in honor of the 200th anniversary of the borough of Mountville. Enough people wanted to continue singing together that Edwards decided to prepare the group for a Christmas concert. The group of 34 people has learned 18 pieces, several of which are medleys.

"I went a little ambitious," Edwards remarked.

Initially, Edwards had hoped to hire an orchestra to accompany the chorus, but there wasn't room in the budget to do so. Instead, Edwards has orchestrated several of the pieces on the Roland electric piano, and the group will use prerecorded accompaniment on other pieces. The recorded music will only boost the chorus, however. At a recent rehearsal, the combined voices filled the sanctuary with sound, cheerfully singing Christmas favorites.

"The acoustics (in the sanctuary) are amazing," Edwards raved.

The pieces selected for the event include arrangements by David T. Clydesdale and Mark Hayes, as well as "Jingle, Bells," an arrangement by Mack Wilberg of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A number of the songs feature solos and duets to be accompanied by the choir, and one even includes a sextet.

Everyone is welcome to attend the concerts free of charge. Offerings will be accepted toward the production costs of the current and future concerts.

"We want to keep going," Edwards remarked. "We'll start (rehearsing) again in January, with a concert in April."

Anyone who would like to join the chorus may contact Edwards at 344-7798 or liszt88keys@yahoo.com. Membership is open to anyone, regardless of their town of residency.

"We still want more singers," Edwards said. "You don't have to live in Mountville to be part of the group."

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Winterfest Tree Lighting

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Evergreen To Be Lit In Memory Of Sis Brown

The towering pine tree that sits at one end of Locust Street Park makes a perfect Christmas tree. The community of Columbia is invited to witness the lighting of the tree at 6:30 p.m. during Winterfest, slated for Saturday, Dec. 6.

According to local business owners Don and Becky Murphy and Jim Groff, the idea for Winterfest was posted on the popular Columbia community Facebook page "You Know You're From Columbia PA if..." in early December of last year, when Johnathan Lutz made a comment about having the Locust Street Park tree lit for Christmas again. "I think the last time it was lit had to be in the '80s," remarked Becky. "I was very little."

A few local business owners thought it was a worthwhile idea, so they immediately teamed up and decided to make the Columbia tree lighting happen. All the planning took place only a few weeks before Christmas last year. Becky noted that she and her husband, along with Groff, faced a real challenge in purchasing the necessary amount of matching lights for the mammoth tree. "I was in (one hardware store) texting Jim, who was at another hardware store," Becky said. "We were trying to figure out who had what and if it was enough."

On the evening of the tree lighting, it snowed. "It was perfect," Don said. "We had a great turnout, and it was really festive because of the snow."

This year, since purchasing lights is out of the way, organizers were able to plan for musical entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be available, as well.

In addition, Columbia residents are encouraged to bring a donation of a new, unwrapped toy to the event for Toys for Tots. According to Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Kathy Hohenadel, a local radio station will host a Toys for Tots donation competition between Columbia and Wrightsville on Monday, Dec. 8. Any donations brought to the tree lighting will go toward that event.

The Columbia No. 1 Fire Company will be involved in placing the energy-efficient LED lights on the tree. "We also need to thank the Old Columbia Public Grounds Company," noted Don, referring to the organization that takes care of Locust Street Park. "They have graciously allowed us to light the tree and have our event."

Area resident Tim Brown and his family will flip the switch to turn on the lights in memory of Brown's mother, Sis Brown, who passed away a number of weeks ago. "Everyone knew Sis," noted Becky.

Looking to future Winterfest events, Don would like to incorporate vendors selling Christmas decorations and gifts, along with food vendors and additional entertainment. "We are looking at finding some sponsors," Don shared. "We are working with the Chamber, and private businesses have been putting it together (this year) for the most part."

Interested food or merchandise vendors may express interest in participating in next year's Winterfest event by contacting Don at 278-7979.

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Villages To Hold Tree Lightings November 28, 2014

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The holiday season will get off to a festive start in West Lampeter Township with tree-lighting ceremonies at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, and Friday, Dec. 5.

The West Lampeter Township Village Renewal Committee (VRC) has organized Thursday's ceremony. The event will begin at the township's municipal building, 852 Village Road, Lampeter. Members of the Lampeter-Strasburg High School band and the Lampeter-Strasburg Community Band will perform holiday music, and there will be an opportunity to sing carols with the bands' accompaniment.

After the lights on the evergreen tree in front of the municipal building have been officially turned on for the season, attendees will be invited to walk across the road to the Lampeter Fire Company and enjoy refreshments provided by Cub Scout Pack 286 and the Hans Herr Girl Scout Community. A famous holiday character might make his way to the event, hinted VRC member Anne Dunnenberger.

"Everybody comes together (for the event)," Dunnenberger commented. "It's really neat."

The ceremony on Friday will take place at the Willow Street Fire Company, 2901 Willow Street Pike. Activities for the event have not yet been announced.

"The Lampeter tree-lighting is the VRC's signature event to cap off the year," said township director of community development Joellyn Warren. "It was created as a community pride and gathering event."

"We want people to feel like they have ownership of Lampeter and Willow Street," Dunnenberger added. "When you have pride in where you live, you have (a desire) to build a better community."

Warren noted that there are plenty of ways that township residents can get involved. Volunteers are needed to be part of the VRC, as well as the various groups that focus on the township's recycling opportunities, agricultural preservation, planning and zoning, and historic preservation. Information about ways to serve will be available at the tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 4.

Information is also available online at www.westlampeter.com. Warren noted that the website has recently been revamped. Online visitors now have the option to select the "notify me" option in order to stay abreast of township news.

Those with questions about township events may call Warren at 464-3731.

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“Juliet’s Jog” Will Fund Anti-Bullying Efforts November 28, 2014

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Juliet Benson was a junior at Lampeter-Strasburg High School when she died unexpectedly on Sept. 16. A target of bullying, her obituary noted that Juliet "cared about teens who were struggling." In Juliet's memory, her friends and classmates have organized an event that will raise funds to make resources available for students who are contemplating suicide or facing mental health issues and bullying.

"Juliet's Jog," as the event has been named, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. The 5K run will begin at the high school track, 1600 Book Road, Lampeter, and include the cross-country team's training course. Information about mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety, will be posted around the course, and information about GriefShare and crisis hotlines will be available as well.

On-site registration will begin at 1 p.m. There will be a cost to participate. Medals will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers, although walkers are welcome too.

The run's organizers include members from the Do Something Club, the Gay-Straight Alliance, Varsity Club, Fellowship of Christian Students, and the Interact Club, as well as several of Juliet's close friends. The students noted that Juliet had made a point of running a 5K race monthly in memory of her father, Lucas Malmer, who had died in January last year as a result of cancer.

The proceeds from Juliet's Jog will benefit a fund started in Juliet's memory by her family. The fund has already been used to sponsor a presentation called "Students and Digital Speech" that was provided by Deborah McCoy, president of Educational Development Services, on Nov. 20. McCoy focused on the lack of privacy and the permanence of speech in social media and other electronic communication in order to reinforce to students the importance of speaking kindly to and about one another.

"The reality is, most of your speech is not private," McCoy said, pointing out that not only can parents use special apps to monitor what students do with their cellphones, but social media sites save everything posted with or through their platforms. "There's no such thing as real privacy on a public site," McCoy commented.

The lack of privacy becomes an issue when students post harmful messages and images.

"Bullying has increased. It's easy (to quickly post unkind comments)," McCoy said. "But there's no constitutional right to be cruel."

McCoy shared some of the legalities involved with using a mobile device or computer to be unkind to others. She also noted that momentary decisions could have long-lasting impacts.

"Most college admissions officers routinely check out applicants' digital reputation," McCoy said. "They're asking, 'Do I want this kid in my school? Will this kid be a problem for me?'" A majority of human resources directors also do digital reputation checks, she added. "Every keystroke adds to your digital reputation. Be aware of what your reputation says about you," she admonished.

After her presentation, McCoy shared that before the social media boom, an average of 6 to 9 percent of children and teens were considered bullies. Now, 50 percent engage in bullying. In addition, 50 percent of the population also receives harassing and hurtful messages and images from their peers.

"This form of speech has altered how we treat each other," McCoy remarked.

It is the desire of Juliet's family and friends that students will make wise decisions regarding the words they use. Hopefully, Juliet's Jog will be a step in the right direction.

For more information about Juliet's Jog, readers may call the high school at 464-3311 or find the event on Facebook.

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Women’s Group Sets Meeting November 28, 2014

Neighbors Sharing and Caring, a women's ministry of the Chiques Church of the Brethren, will take place from 9 to 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 9. Women of all ages and preschool children are invited to attend, and classes are provided for infants through prekindergartners.

Women may choose between a candy-themed craft led by Dawn Hauser or a Bible study titled "The Gospel: Living It and Sharing It" led by Thelma Thomas.

Hauser, who lives in the Manheim area and is a member of Ruhl's United Methodist Church, is married to Randy and is the mother of two boys. Thomas is married and has four children, 17 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She is from the New Danville area and is a member of Willow Street Mennonite Church.

Readers may contact Rose at 665-9417 or Veronica at 626-7603 for more information. Preregistration for the candy-themed craft is required by Thursday, Dec. 4, by contacting Rose or Veronica. The church is located at 4045 Sunnyside Road, Manheim.

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Welcome, Yule!"

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Voices of the Valley, under the direction of Gregg Mauroni, will celebrate its 36th season with "Welcome, Yule!" on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Palm Lutheran Church, 101 W. Cherry St., Palmyra, and on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Hershey, 64 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey.

The program will include favorites such as "O Holy Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" alongside contemporary settings of carols, including Dan Forrest's "Good Christian Men Rejoice" and Uzee Brown's "Go Where I Send Thee." The chorus will also perform its signature piece, "A Child My Choice."

Tickets for the Dec. 6 concert may be purchased at the door or in advance; for more information, readers may call Palm Lutheran Church at 838-3311. A freewill offering will be received at the Dec. 7 event; for more information, readers may call First United Methodist Church of Hershey at 533-9668. For more details, readers may visit www.voicesofthevalley.co.

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Beck Earns First Prize November 28, 2014

Joseph Beck of Elizabethtown, an electrical engineering major at York College of Pennsylvania, recently won first prize in the college's J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship's annual Elevator Pitch Competition.

York College students with an idea for a new business had three minutes or less to pitch their concepts to judges during the competition. Entrants were assessed by a panel of successful businessmen and women on innovativeness, potential commercial impact, and effectiveness of presentation. Winners were awarded cash prizes and an opportunity for workspace in the center to help bring their businesses to fruition.

Beck pitched the idea of an alarm clock embedded in a comfortable pillow that will also allow for audio streaming through speakers integrated into the pillow. The pillow utilizes several effective methods to wake a person, including light, vibration, and sound.

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Foster Parent Sessions Set November 28, 2014

A foster parent orientation session will be offered on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Families United Network, 412 S. Angle St., Mount Joy.

To attend this session, readers may call 800-722-0136 or email Charee at cstevison@families4kids.org.

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American Family Christmas"

Elizabethtown College, 1 Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, will host faculty members, students, and community musicians as part of holiday performances.

The Fine and Performing Arts Holiday Concert will take place at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, in the college's Zug Recital Hall. The free concert will feature students and faculty members presenting a lively program of seasonal music and readings. More information may be obtained by contacting Amy Reynolds at 361-1212 or reynoldsa@etown.edu.

At 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, members of Emotion dance troupe will present a showcase of modern, jazz, hip-hop, and ethnic dance styles in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. Separate costs have been set for students and for adults, and tickets are available by emailing emotion@etown.edu. For more information, readers may contact Michael Swanson at swansonm@etown.edu or 361-1160.

The final concert of 2014 will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. During the performance, the Elizabethtown College Choral and Jazz Band will present "American Family Christmas," which will include holiday favorites and some lesser-known seasonal works. Children are encouraged to attend, as there will be a visit from Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman. Separate fees have been set for students and for adults, and children age 10 and under may attend for free. Readers may reserve tickets by visiting www.americanfamilychristmas.com or calling 361-1112.

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