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Local Farmers Help Kansas Wildfire Victims April 20, 2017

In early March, wildfires hit Kansas farmers hard, destroying homes, farm buildings, livestock and more.

Kirkwood resident Roddy Strang was recently part of a volunteer effort that delivered hay and fencing materials to the families affected by the wildfires. Strang grew up in the Clark County area of Kansas, south of Dodge City near the Oklahoma border, and worked on many farms in the region.

Strang said he realized how bad the fires could be for people he knew personally and for entire communities in the region. "A guy I worked for while in college lost all his grazing and hay. Another who puts up alfalfa hay for a living lost 23 miles of fence. Another guy I worked for lost 300 miles of fence. There's fencing to be done out there for years," Strang said.

Farming in the affected area is primarily beef cattle and wheat and hay crops, with much larger farms than are typical in southeastern Pennsylvania. Fires fanned by winds moved rapidly in some spots, burning off the surface vegetation, while areas where the fire lingered got so hot the roots were burned and killed.

Lines of trees planted as windbreaks were burnt, and without the plant cover, exposed soil started to blow, with drifts closing in on roads until rain two weeks after the fires helped stabilize the soil.

Strang was accompanied on the trip by Charlie Fleischmann of Upper Oxford Township. Strang had already had plans to join Fleischmann on a trip to the Topeka area to pick up two bulls to bring back to Fleischmann's mother's farm in Virginia.

"That's how I got involved," Fleischmann said. "Roddy was calling around. He got all sorts of people to donate fence posts and wire."

Instead of driving west with an empty truck, they borrowed a larger truck and trailer, gathered volunteer support and trucked out nine tons of hay and 1,000 pounds of fencing materials to donate to farm families working to repair their damages. Hay grower Jamie Hicks of Unionville added to the hay effort, and two other trucks were filled and driven to Kansas as well.

Their trucks went to Ashland, Kan., where the central drop-off point was a feed store. "(The materials) were taken to central locations, and from there they either directed tractor-trailers to somebody's individual house or farm or they would unload there and organize it to get delivered to whoever needed it," Fleischmann explained.

According to the Ashland Community Foundation, which has organized a fire relief fund, it is estimated that 85 percent of Clark County burned, which includes 351,000 acres. More information about the fires and relief efforts can be found at www.ashlandcf.com.

"We drove through miles and miles of burned-out areas," Fleischmann said. "It's pure luck that you didn't have more people die."

"Tens of thousands of miles of barbed wire fencing need to be put back up. The numbers are staggering," Strang added. "What I'm trying to do is get the word out, to see if there's any crews that want to go out. There's a list of ranchers that need help."

Help has been coming into the area from all across the Midwest. "They need it; they don't ask for much," Strang said. "With all the giving everybody's doing, it gives them hope for humanity."

Strang is helping arrange future trips for fence-building volunteers, with hopes of making a trip in June. For more information or to assist in the effort, individuals may contact him at 301-509-5581.

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Caln Little League April 20, 2017

Caln Little League held its annual opening day ceremonies to kick off the 2017 season on April 8.

During the event, the organization also collected nonperishable food items. With help from the Chester County Food Bank and community volunteers, Caln Little League was able to accumulate more than 1,500 pounds of food to help the families in the surrounding area. The purpose of the collection event was to give back to the community and teach the Little League players to help others in need.

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Scouts Present Cookies To Cancer Patients April 20, 2017

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Elks Help Start Adoption Program April 19, 2017

Columbia-Middletown Elks 1074 assisted in initiating the Adoption Program at St. Anne's Retirement Community in Columbia, by providing the funds for life-like dolls and stuffed mechanical companion cats and dogs for residents with dementia. Doll therapy is intended to calm a resident with dementia, provide companionship, and promote social interaction.

St. Anne's resident Millie Hilliar, the widow of a deceased Elks member, was Diane Kane's inspiration for the program. Hilliar has a white mechanical cat named Lulu who goes to fitness class with her.

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Club, Church Sponsor Food Drive April 19, 2017

The Columbia-Middletown Elks 1074 and the Columbia Church of God sponsored a food drive for Power Packs on April 8.

Volunteers were stationed at three area grocery stores, where they collected a total of $242 in monetary donations and a total of approximately $1,800 worth of food donations.

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Sewing Group Creates Quilts Of Valor April 19, 2017

"It's a daily tactile reminder that somebody says thank you," said Catherine Courreges, a member of Stitches of West Brandywine, when describing the Quilts of Valor (QOV) program, which provides handmade quilts to service members and veterans touched by war.

Stitches of West Brandywine, which has members from throughout Chester County, is one of the newest QOV chapters. "Quilts of Valor is a nationwide organization, and when I discovered there were no local groups in southeastern Pennsylvania, I decided to start (Stitches of West Brandywine)," said Kim DiJoseph of Coatesville, whose brother is in the United States Army and is currently stationed in Turkey.

The Stitches of West Brandywine does not have regularly scheduled meetings. Rather, it holds sewing days to create the quilts. Its first sewing day was held on Veterans Day 2016.

"We had a group of 15 or 20 women, and we made three quilt tops," DiJoseph said, noting that members pay a nominal annual fee. "You don't have to be a member; anyone can come. We also have a program called Under Our Wings where we teach children and new quilters."

Most recently, Stitches of West Brandywine gathered for a sewing day at Steve's Sewing and Vacuums in King of Prussia, along with members of the Main Line Quilters Guild and three new attendees who read about the event in the Community Courier. Throughout the day, the quilters created three quilt tops in the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. The completed tops will be sent to other QOV volunteers to complete. "Every quilt has a label with specifically who it is being awarded to and when," said DiJoseph, noting that the quilts are machine washable.

Steve Chubin, who provided the sewing space free of charge, said that quilters and sewers are known for sharing their talents with those in need. "There are many people in the sewing community that give from the heart," he said. Examples include making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer, making dresses out of pillowcases for Little Dresses for Africa and knitting hats for premature babies.

Those who are interested in having a loved one receive a quilt may request one at the Quilts of Valor website, www.qovf.org. "You can go on the Quilts of Valor website and make a nomination for a service member or veteran, and they send that (request) to the (appropriate geographical) area," DiJoseph explained. "Right now, we have 10 nominations in our area that are waiting."

Some of the quilts made by Stitches of West Brandywine will be awarded on Saturday, June 3, at the Veterans Memorial, 4599 West Chester Pike (Route 3), Newtown Square, as part of a D-Day remembrance ceremony set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Quilts of Valor website reports that more than 158,000 quilts have been distributed since the organization formed in 2003. The QOV motto is "Quilting to Honor and Comfort."

"Quilts of Valor considers these quilts an award," added DiJoseph. "It's not a gift card that's spent; it's not a (greeting) card or a passing 'Thanks for your service.' It's a physical thank you."

For more information about the Stitches of West Brandywine, readers may visit www.facebook.com/QOVStitches or email qovstitches@gmail.com.

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Great American Cleanup Planned April 19, 2017

The 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA began on March 1 and will end on Wednesday, May 31. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful reminds Pennsylvanians there is still time to register events and get free trash bags, gloves, and safety vests from PennDOT district offices, as supplies last.

Events can be litter cleanups, illegal dump cleanups, beautification projects, special collections, and educational events registered through the Great American Cleanup of PA website at www.gacofpa.org. To find a local event to join, readers may visit the Find An Event webpage at https://goo.gl/7ttacb.

As part of this event, the Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association will sponsor Let's Pick It Up PA - Everyday from April 18 through Monday, May 8. During this time, trash collected at registered events can be taken to participating landfills and receive free or reduced cost disposal with prior approval.

In conjunction with the Great American Cleanup of PA, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will host its annual video contest for participants to highlight their enthusiasm and accomplishments. To participate, individuals may send a two-minute video of their 2017 Great American Cleanup of PA event showing individuals, groups, children, and adults having fun keeping communities clean and beautiful. Entrants should be sure to mention the Great American Cleanup of PA in their video.

Cash prizes, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association, will be $200 for the winning entry and $100 each for two runners up. More information is available on the Video Contest webpage at http://www.gacofpa.org/video-contest/. Readers may submit videos by email to slarson@keeppabeautiful.org. The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 2.

For more information, readers may contact Michelle Dunn at 877-772-3673, ext. 113, or mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.

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Local Group Will Collect Donations April 18, 2017

Our Lady of Lourdes Council of the Knights of Columbus will once again collect donations for the Arc of Pennsylvania on Sunday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Yoder's Market, 14 S. Tower Road, New Holland.

All donations collected by the Knights will go toward helping the Arc of Pennsylvania to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through programs involving education, shelter, and employment.

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Pack 93 Completes Park Cleanup April 12, 2017

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Club Publishes Centennial History Book April 11, 2017

The Rotary Club of Lancaster (RCL), founded in 1915, is celebrating its first 100 years with the publication of the "Centennial History of the Rotary Club of Lancaster 1915-2016." The 256-page hardbound volume traces the club's history and activities from its conception as an idea in 1912 to its chartering in 1915 through mid-2016.

The Rotary Club of Lancaster has been the catalyst for many watershed philanthropic accomplishments. In 1919, the club launched its first major community initiative, the Rotary Home for Boys. The Rotary Club of Lancaster was also instrumental in launching the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic, the Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center and more recently the Power Packs Project.

In 2015, the club honored its 100th anniversary by responding to the worldwide refugee crisis, raising $100,000 in seed money for the Rotary Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds Middle School. Today, through fundraising and extensive volunteerism, the club supports a collection of community projects, including health-related aid missions around the world, annual grants to Lancaster County nonprofits and students, sponsorships of foreign student and professional visitors, the Reynolds Middle School Refugee Center Centennial Project, student mentoring programs at School District of Lancaster schools, and sponsorship of a student Rotary Club at F&M College.

The centennial history book was compiled by RCL historian Herb Landau. The retrospective chronicles the club's presidents and documents each of their term's achievements. The volume incorporates and updates the three prior club histories published in 1944, 1957 and 1980. Bob McClenathan, 2015-16 RCL centennial president, commissioned the current edition.

The hardbound "Centennial History of the Rotary Club of Lancaster 1915-2016" is available for purchase from the Rotary Club of Lancaster. For more information, readers may contact RCL executive administrator Deb Kachel at rotarycluboflancaster@gmail.com.

Rotary is an international volunteer organization that initiates humanitarian projects that address challenges affecting the world today, such as hunger, poverty and illiteracy. RCL provides funding and volunteer support for services that offer basic life needs and aim to enrich children through life-changing experiences. For more information, readers may visit www.lancasterrotary.org/ or www.facebook.com/lancasterrotary.

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