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Harlacher Wins First Place June 22, 2017

Joanna Harlacher of Mount Joy won first place in the Senior Individual Website category at the national finals for the National History Day Contest. Her project was titled "Beyond the Cardigan."

Harlacher, a member of the Class of 2017 at Donegal High School, was presented with the honor on June 15, the day celebrated as #NationalHistoryDay. The first-place award is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and each recipient receives the designation NEH Scholar.

More than half a million students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia competed in the 2017 National History Day Contest. Middle and high school students created documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites based on the theme "Taking a Stand in History." The top entries from the contest in each state/affiliate were invited to the national contest held at the University of Maryland, College Park, on June 11 to 15.

To create their projects, students spend hours researching, writing, editing, and using analytical thinking skills. This fall, students around the world will begin creating entries for the 2018 contest, themed "Conflict and Compromise in History." For more information on the contest and how to enter, readers may visit


Kautz Wins Award June 22, 2017


Klink Earns Eagle Scout Award June 22, 2017

Kyle Klink, 16, of Manheim received his Eagle Scout Award, the highest rank in Boy Scouts, at a recent Court of Honor ceremony at Rapho Township Park. Klink just completed his junior year at Manheim Central High School. He is the son of Scott and Felice Klink and the grandson of Larry and Beverly Berman of Mount Joy.

Kyle earned a total of 51 merit badges through troop activities and programs at Camp Rodney, Camp Bashore, and Elizabethtown College. He served in numerous positions, including assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, and den chief. Kyle was elected into the Order of the Arrow (OA) by the troop, and he became a Vigil member of OA.

For his Eagle Scout service project, Kyle cleared brush, trees, and shrubs, and spread mulch at Cove Park in Mount Joy to allow people a place to picnic.


Wiley Earns Eagle Scout June 22, 2017

Jacob Wiley of Troop 393, Willow Street, was recently awarded the Eagle Scout rank in a Court of Honor ceremony on June 17 at Climbers Run Nature Preserve in Pequea.

Jacob is a rising senior year at Lampeter-Strasburg High School and participates on the tennis and cross-country teams. He has been involved with Interact Club and concert band. Outside of school, he has volunteered at the Lancaster Science Factory, YMCA Fun Runs, Kids Cookie Break Fest Runs, and Wreaths Across America. Jacob has participated in the ACE Mentor program, which allows him to work directly with architects, construction workers, and engineers who help guide high school students in pursuit of these careers. Jacob is also involved with Civil Air Patrol, Squadron 304 in Lancaster, where he is a cadet staff sergeant. Jacob plans to attend college to major in engineering.

Jacob began his Scouting career in second grade as a Bobcat Cub with Pack 286 and continued through Cub Scouting to achieve the Arrow of Light. As a member of Boy Scout Troop 393, he has held numerous leadership positions, including assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, senior patrol leader, and troop guide. He has earned 29 merit badges and the World Conservation Award. He was also inducted into the Order of the Arrow in 2015 and earned Brotherhood membership in 2016.

For his Eagle project, Jacob constructed, assembled, and installed three park benches along with planting shade trees in the Windy Hill Neighborhood Park.


Laudenslager Earns Award June 22, 2017

Deborah Laudenslager of Palmyra was among the graduate students recognized for academic achievement at the post-baccalaureate degree commencement at The University of Scranton, Scranton, on May 27 in the Byron Recreational Complex.

Laudenslager received the university's Outstanding Academic Award for General Business Administration.


Weischedel Receives Certification June 22, 2017

Jim Weischedel recently completed training and is now a certified administer Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) analyst through Bizet Human Asset Management. The certification allows Weischedel to administer AVA assessments to individuals and organizations.

AVA is a behavioral assessment that renders profiles of individuals, identifying their natural tendencies and predicting their workplace behaviors. AVA also measures the behavior demands of specific positions.

Weischedel is a human resources consultant at Samaritan Business Consulting in Manheim Township. A resident of East Lampeter Township, he joined Samaritan in January. Previously, he had been director of human resources at American Home Bank and Valco Companies and human resources manager at New Standard Corporation.

For further information, readers may contact Amy Winslow-Weiss at 560-2805, ext. 101, or


Scout Completes Garden Project At Friendship Elementary June 22, 2017

Branden Shaffer recently completed his Eagle Scout Project as a member of Troop 116, which is sponsored by Hibernia United Methodist Church. The project was completed at Friendship Elementary School in the Coatesville Area School District. The building is not only the place where Branden attended elementary school, but it is also where he was introduced to Scouting as a member of Cub Scout Pack 36.

For his Eagle Scout Project, Branden created gardening beds at the school's entrance to enhance the appearance of the front of the building. "When we did cleanup days with the Cub Scout Pack when I was in third grade, we re-mulched all the beds," he recalled. He added that he became familiar with the area again since his sister, Emily, is a student at Friendship.

The project began in January of 2016 when the Scout met with Brad Bentman, school principal. The work on the garden bed took place in the spring of 2016.

"It took over a year to completely do the project and the workbook that is required to get the (Eagle Scout) Award," Branden said. "You have to (get approval) from the Chester County Boy Scout Council and get the beneficiary to sign off on the project."

The work took place over four Saturdays. "The first day we removed all the existing plants and cut down three holly trees that were overgrown. We could not put the beds in without getting rid of them first; that was part of the demo," Branden recalled. "On the second day, we laid out the beds and put down landscape fabric. The third day we picked up and planted all of the plants, and on the fourth day, we mulched."

He noted that the plants he chose are considered low-maintenance. "One of the concerns we had is that there was no (staff) to maintain the front of the building, and we took that into consideration when ordering the plants," Branden stated. "We planted things that do not need a lot of water, like dwarf plants and drought-tolerant plants, like daylilies."

During the planning phase of the project, Maria Toth, who had been the secretary at Friendship Elementary School, passed away. "She had worked at Friendship Elementary School for 20 years, and we decided to include in the landscape design a rock with a commemorative plaque (in her memory) that would be donated by the teachers and staff," Branden noted.

In fact, he pointed out, the school was involved in the planting project from the moment that Branden presented a sketch of the proposed garden beds to the school. One of the teachers, Sarah Shaver, helped with the work and also leads a garden club that will help maintain the area.

"The majority of the mulch was donated and given to us at a reduced price by a local business. The plants we went out and bought," said Branden. "We fundraised through family members, and the school did a fundraiser by selling lollipops. The teachers also had dress-down days where they could help pay for the project."

Troop 116 will hold Branden's Court of Honor at Hibernia United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 22. Although he has "aged out" and can no longer be considered be a Boy Scout, Branden said he wants to remain involved with the troop. "I am no longer a Boy Scout, but I can be an adult leader," he said. "I can still go on camping trips and teach merit badges."

Branden, 18, a graduate of Coatesville Area Senior High School, plans to attend West Chester University in the fall, where he will study computer science.


Local Resident Crowned Mrs. Pennsylvania June 21, 2017

Oxford resident Valerie Ross was crowned Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2017 on June 10 during a competition held at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Less than a week later on June 16 in Kennett Square, she made her first public appearance after obtaining the title.

"This is a state title, so it represents all counties in Pennsylvania," said Ross, who will go on to represent the state in the national Mrs. America Pageant, to be held in Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 26.

The competition is similar to most pageants. "There are three main categories. The first one is your interview. Half of the competition is based on the interview, and (during) the interview they base it on your poise, beauty, and the way you can speak," Ross explained.

In addition, there are swimsuit and evening gown segments as well as a costume section.

After winning at the county level, Ross worked to prepare for the competition for the state title. "Over the last year I did all the things I needed to do," she said. "I made appearances as Mrs. Chester County, I worked on my interview style and the way that I would present myself for this county and this state, and I went to our competition very prepared to take the crown."

Ross is a relative newcomer to this type of competition. "I was introduced to the idea of pageantry about a year ago, more so to bring light to my nonprofit organization, the You Are Beautiful Project," she explained.

You Are Beautiful is a project founded by Ross in 2015 to help bring focus to high-risk youths. "The You Are Beautiful Project works with kids who have been fostered, trafficked, homeless, disabled or (who) have lost a parent to military service," she said. "The mission is to help these youths see their self-worth, to know that they are worthy of being loved and that their past does not define their future. Our goal is to help them redefine what their future can look like." More information about the organization can be found at

"I originally was not interested in pageantry, because I did not want my nonprofit to be about that," she added. "But when I realized the platform it could create for those kids, I realized it was worth putting myself out there for it."

Ross is a busy person in addition to her duties as Mrs. Chester County and now Mrs. Pennsylvania. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and from Villanova University with a master's degree in nursing, with a specialty in anesthesia. She now works with an anesthesia group in Chester County.

She and her husband, Thomas, are also consultants for a manufacturer of premium skin-care products. Ross also serves as the director of volunteers for My City Gives in Philadelphia, an organization that provides volunteer services for various events and foundations.

"Over the summer there's going to be a lot of preparation for Mrs. America. I do have a lot of personal appearances scheduled," Ross said. "I still have a family, I still work, and I already give back to the community."

For more information about Ross and the pageant, readers may visit


Coloring Contest Celebrates June As Dairy Month June 21, 2017

Russellville Grange partnered with the Parkesburg Free Library and the Oxford Public Library to celebrate June as Dairy Month with its annual coloring contest.

As part of the contest, children were invited to pick up pages to color from May 14 to June 15 at the libraries. "The grange provided the photos, (which featured) farming scenes and cows," explained Grange member Jessica Reyburn.

The contest entries were judged by Grange members, and prizes were awarded during a special dairy supper held on June 15 at Upper Oxford Community Park. The event featured a covered dish dinner in the park's pavilion and an appearance by Chester County Dairy Princess Casi Blickley and alternate Dairy Princess Alaina Davis. "The dairy princesses served ice cream, and they gave a little program about the dairy industry," noted Reyburn.

The winners of the contest included the following: age 4 and under: first place, Gavin Mohr; second place, Evelyn Lair; and third place, Evie Hart; ages 5 to 7: first place, Ethan Lair; second place, Ben Lair; and third place, Annalise Hart; and ages 8 to 11: first place, Grace Lair; second place, Jacob Mohr; and third place, Angel Wright.

The winners were awarded dairy-themed prizes, including coupons for milkshakes and ice cream cones provided by a local fast-food restaurant along with yogurt-covered pretzels.

According to, the Grange started 150 years ago as a fraternity for families in the agriculture industry. At that time, Grange members worked with the government on different laws that affected the farming community. Meetings of the group still focus on agricultural topics, but today's Grange also has a community service component.

Reyburn described the Grange as "a place for people of all ages to connect with others and with their community." Annual Grange-sponsored activities include a spaghetti dinner, a chicken barbecue, photos with Santa and an Easter egg hunt.

Although many Grange members are farmers, membership is not limited to those in that industry. "(The Grange) used to be an organization for farmers, but now it open to anyone who enjoys agriculture and likes community service," Reyburn said, noting that a Junior Grange for youths ages 5 to 14 is also offered. An annual members' fee is charged to Grange members, but there are no fees for youths. Like the Grange, children of all backgrounds are welcome to participate in Junior Grange, not just those who live or work on a farm.

Members of the Russellville Grange meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held at the Grange Hall, 245 Old Limestone Road, Oxford, located near the intersection of routes 896 and 10 in the village of Russellville. New members are welcome at any time. For more information, readers may contact Reyburn at


Wentzel Wins Essay Contest June 21, 2017

David Wentzel was the first-place winner in the first Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) essay contest, sponsored this spring by York's Yom HaShoah Committee. Wentzel recently finished his freshman year at Susquehannock High School. His essay was chosen from among nearly two dozen entrants from six York County high schools who wrote about lessons of moral courage learned from the Holocaust. He won a cash prize and read his essay at the annual Yom HaShoah program in April.

The second-place winner was Faith Justice of West York High School. The third-place winner was Ashley Pechinski of Dallastown Area High School.

The Yom HaShoah Committee includes representatives from Jewish Family Services of York, Ohev Sholom Congregation, Temple Beth Israel, the York College Hillel and the York JCC. For more information, readers may call 717-843-2676.

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