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Local Teenager Inspires Students In Taiwan July 18, 2018

Seven years ago, when Katherine Commale was 10 years old, she was featured in the Community Courier, along with her mother, Lynda, for their work in raising money to purchase mosquito bed nets to help prevent the spread of malaria in Africa. Their efforts, which began at Hopewell United Methodist Church in Downingtown, led them to become spokespersons for Nothing But Nets, a United Nations program that raises awareness and funds to fight malaria.

Katherine has continued her work with the cause through the years and most recently was invited to visit Taiwan by the Maria Social Welfare Foundation. While there, she was the keynote speaker at a convention called Hero Talks, where she gave an address to more than 5,000 Taiwanese students and their parents. She also received the Global Charity Ambassador Award from the vice president of Taiwan and met separately with the president of Taiwan in the presidential office.

Katherine, a resident of Downingtown, explained that her story about raising funds for mosquito netting was featured in the book "Hero 365" by Taiwanese author Kuang-Tsai Hao.

"My story was published in a book and it became required reading for all Taiwanese elementary students," said Katherine. "He wrote an inspirational story or motivational story for every day of the year, and I was (featured on) one of the days."

The whole family was able to take part in the recent trip to Taiwan, including Katherine's mother; her dad, Anthony; and her younger brother, Joseph. "It wasn't about sharing our story and the statistics about malaria; it was more about teaching the kids to become service-oriented and to give back to the community," Katherine said.

Katherine and her family spent June 10 through 17 in Taiwan, and she gave a speech during a Hero Talk event three days into the trip. "I looked up, and there were thousands of seats; it was overwhelming," she said. "My mom and I had practiced the speech that we wrote, so I was secure with that. I just had a little bit of stage fright in the beginning."

She noted that her speech was translated from English into Mandarin Chinese. "We would speak for two to three sentences and then it had to be translated," Katherine said. "It was a little choppy, but it went better than we expected."

Following the speech, other students talked about their efforts in the community. "Some of the projects were about the homeless; others were about bullying - some of the same problems we have here," Katherine said. "They got to hear my story, and I got to hear theirs."

While there, the family also had time to sightsee. "Taiwan is beautiful, and I would definitely go back," she said. "It has the magnitude of New York City, but is cleaner. Their subway system is so nice. They are very respectful people, and they love their country. They are very patriotic."

While in Taiwan, Katherine was photographed, interviewed by journalists and asked for her autograph many times. "It was overwhelming. When we gave our talk, there were 300 or 400 students lined up to meet me and my family," she recalled. "I have never experienced that much love. It wasn't like I was a celebrity; I was their hero.

"I looked up to my mom when she got me into Nothing But Nets when I was 5 years old," Katherine added. "I was an inspiration for them in the same way that my mom inspired me."

Katherine, who will be a senior at the Germantown Academy in the fall, plans to attend college after high school to study biology. "I would like to work for a pharmaceutical company - maybe in genetics," she said. "I would love to bring (my story) to college - to reach a bigger audience and share this story. Also, to go back to Taiwan would be amazing."

For more information about Nothing But Nets, readers may visit


Conserving And Preserving July 18, 2018

Grant Will Support Water Quality Improvement

Thanks to a grant, Lancaster Farmland Trust has incorporated water quality improvement into its farmland preservation efforts. The three-year grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will enable the trust to focus on the combination of on-farm conservation practices with the permanent preservation of farmland.

Linking these efforts will ensure maximum long-term impact on water quality and allow Lancaster County to continue to be the "garden spot" of the region, said the trust's executive director, Karen Martynick. "We believe (that) a big part of the solution to Lancaster County reaching its required Chesapeake Bay reductions and improving local water quality includes protecting our farmland and finding farmers the resources to increase their conservation practices," she commented.

Lancaster Farmland Trust currently has more than 40 farmers on the waiting list for preservation. To identify the strategic farms for preservation and water quality improvement, these farms will be prioritized according to impairment of the local watershed, proximity to surface water, conservation practices already in place, and opportunities for improvement.

All farms currently preserved by Lancaster Farmland Trust are enrolled in their Smart Farms program, and many are already engaged in conservation practices on their own. Because Lancaster Farmland Trust annually monitors each preserved farm, the trust's staff members are able to track the effectiveness of conservation practices and maximize the financial investment made on each farm.

Laura Brenner, communications coordinator for the trust, noted that conservation efforts utilized in Lancaster County include streambank fencing to keep livestock out of streams and reduce farm runoff and erosion into streams, physical improvements to barns with spouting to channel rainwater into designated areas, concrete barnyards, and curbs to keep nutrients in place. Additionally, larger manure storage pits allow farmers to apply manure when it can be used by their crops, instead of when the pit is full and needs to be emptied.

Lancaster Farmland Trust is an active participant in water quality efforts within Lancaster County, as well as throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The trust believes this unique approach of combining land preservation with stewardship is easily replicated in other communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Through the grant period, Lancaster Farmland Trust will document the practices and findings to share with other land trusts.

According to, the trust works in partnership with landowners to preserve their farms and way of life for future generations - ensuring that farms will be in agricultural use forever, eliminating the threat of development, and protecting the rich, valuable soils - by placing a conservation easement on their property. A conservation easement is a legally enforceable land preservation agreement between a landowner and the trust restricting real estate development, commercial and industrial uses, and certain other activities on a property that are mutually agreed upon by the trust and the property owner. Each easement is customized to the particular needs and future plans of each individual farm family.

For more information about the grant and the water quality improvement efforts, readers may call the Lancaster Farmland Trust office at 717-687-8484.


Group Sponsors Service Dog July 12, 2018

"Isn't he handsome?" Erika Herold practically gushed. Herold's praise was not for a significant other or family member. Rather, it was bestowed on 6-month-old yellow Labrador named Woody who was happily rolling in the grass at Herold's feet.

Herold, a logistics analyst at Woodstream Corporation in Lititz, and other Woodstream employees raised $5,000 to sponsor Woody to become a United Disabilities Services Foundation (UDS) service dog. Woody is several months into the BARKS Prison Program, through which he is being trained by an inmate at Moshannon Valley Correction Center in Phillipsburg. While at the prison, Woody is living with his inmate handler around the clock. The inmate training program has proven to be successful. Normally, inmates teach puppies up to 50 commands, but many dogs are reaching that goal ahead of schedule.

On June 8, Woody, accompanied by UDS staff accountant Mary Langton, visited Woody's sponsors when the corporation held a company picnic at its facility. Langton said that Woody will spend a total of 18 months working with a designated inmate. "Woody will come back to us for (his) final six months of training to refine the skills he will need to (work with) the client he is chosen (to serve)," explained Langton. Langton is pleased with Woody's progress so far. "He is very smart, and he seems to bond quickly," she said. As Woody lolled in the grass and employee sponsors rubbed his stomach, Langton noted, "He is not afraid of crowds."

Herold met Woody for the first time when UDS held a sponsor meet-and-greet event just before Woody left for Moshannon. "This is the first time we have sponsored a service dog," said Herold, adding that the idea was brought to the company by an employee whose spouse is associated with UDS. During the training period, Herold receives updates concerning Woody, which she passes along to employees.

One of the privileges sponsors appreciate is the honor of helping to choose a moniker for their designated pup. "We had a company contest to name him," said Herold, who passed along the three suggestions that received the most votes to UDS. "(Because UDS staff members) don't know what disabilities the person he is matched with will have, they consider names for how easily they can be pronounced, so his name will work with anyone who is assigned to him," Herold said, adding that she was glad "Woody" was chosen because it reflects the company name.

Herold said that when company staff first heard about the service dog sponsorship program, they were intrigued. "We said, 'Wow, this is something we want to do,'" she shared. "It's a win-win." Herold explained that the employee sponsors were happy to know they are helping the inmate who is training the dog because that person receives the opportunity to become certified as a trainer and gain competence in an area. "When he comes out (of prison, the inmate) has training to (work with) service dogs. It gives him a niche skill," said Herold.

Of course, Herold is most excited about the chance Woody has to positively affect the life of a person with a disability. "He is going to be a lifeline," said Herold. "(Woody) will affect not just the person, but their whole family, and he can give someone their life back. That gives me chills."

Herold is looking forward to the road ahead as Woody grows and learns the skills he will need to be a service dog. "Our sponsorship is for two years, and at the end we get to go to his graduation," said Herold. "What really touches me is that it is a long program that will have an effect for years down the road."

Readers who would like to learn more about UDS may visit


Sustaining Values July 12, 2018

GOTR Endowment Puts Focus On Future

Girls on the Run (GOTR) Lancaster program director Jennifer West never wants to see a girl miss out on taking part in the program because of a lack of funds. "The worst thing we can hear is that a girl didn't participate because it costs too much money," said Jennifer. "We want to make the program accessible to every girl regardless of financial limitations."

The GOTR endowment, created in honor of Ellen McCabe, West's stepmother, and administered by the Lancaster Community Foundation, will work to make sure that never happens. "The money GOTR will (receive) from the endowment will go directly to financial assistance for girls in need," explained West. GOTR Lancaster executive director Carrie Johnson elaborated, "We will receive a percentage each year based on how much is in (the fund)," she said, adding that about half the girls who take part in the program receive scholarship funds.

GOTR uses physical activity coupled with specific lessons to help develop competency in areas related to social, psychological, and physical development for girls in third through eighth grades. GOTR is not a competitive running program, but the curriculum uses running to teach life skills and promote health.

According to West, McCabe was an integral part of GOTR Lancaster from its inception in March 2009. "She talked to us about fundraising and helped us find donors," said West, who noted that McCabe willingly shared her knowledge of how to run a nonprofit organization with West and Johnson. "She was very much a cheerleader and encourager who got us really excited and helped us to stay focused throughout the entire process," said West. "The entire way, (McCabe) was there giving us ideas and supporting us in any way we needed."

When McCabe passed away in the fall of 2016, West's husband, Peter, made a suggestion. "My husband said, 'Ellen loved GOTR, and she would do anything for it,'" shared West, adding, "She saw how it was changing these girls." Peter suggested the family start an endowment fund in McCabe's memory for GOTR. "Ellen felt no matter how much money you have, you should give a percentage away," said West.

Seeing the work of GOTR continue is important to both West and Johnson. "We want the same values to continue (into the future) for girls in the community and the thousands of girls we reach every year," explained Johnson. "That can't happen unless we have big-picture thinkers who value today and tomorrow equally. Our children are our future, and that is where hope lives."

According to Johnson, creating the endowment is an investment in the future. "(The endowment embodies) the intention to continue supporting girls for generations," she said. West noted that the funds will support Lancaster-area young people in years to come. "Sustainability is key. Our thought process was that if you invest, you want to make sure the money will be used correctly," she said. "Should GOTR ever cease to exist, the endowment will be used for another organization that supports youths in Lancaster."

Johnson lauded the Wests for their forward thinking. "Endowments create an important opportunity to keep money working positively in our community over time," she said, noting that while many people make gifts to causes, only a small percentage leave funds to an organization. "When people are gone, their gifts are gone," said Johnson.

West said that she hopes area residents will consider the endowment in their planned giving. "We invite and encourage the community to give toward the endowment fund," West said.

Readers who would like to learn more about the endowment may visit


CYF Staff Members Receive Recognition July 11, 2018

The Chester County commissioners and the director of the county's Department of Children Youth & Families (CYF) have announced the statewide recognition of CYF staff members for their efforts to place children eligible for adoption into permanent loving homes.

At this year's Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Adoption and Permanency Conference, Shadell Quinones, manager of the CYF Adoption Unit, was awarded Permanency Professional of the Year for her commitment to finding permanent homes for children through adoption. Quinones has been a part of Chester County's CYF team for 18 years. In addition to adoption and post-adoption support, she heads the National Adoption Day program for the county every year.

CYF supervisor Kristin Terrell and caseworker Briana Stinson were part of a group that was awarded the Permanency Teamwork recognition for their collaborative effort to promote permanent homes for children with special needs. The team's efforts to find a "forever family" for a 16 year-old Chester County youth who had been in foster care in many different locations for many years were noted as exceptional.

Quinones, Terrell, and Stinson were recognized at the recent Chester County commissioners' Sunshine Meeting, where the commissioners also presented a Child Welfare Professionals Appreciation Month proclamation to Doug Waegel, director of the Chester County Department of Children Youth & Families.

In the proclamation, the commissioners noted the efforts of the county's child welfare staff members, who work to intervene and protect children who are at risk of abuse and neglect and who work with families who are in crisis.


CASA Welcomes New Volunteers July 10, 2018

York County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) has announced that new CASA volunteers were sworn in on May 22. CASA volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children. The new advocates are Doug Dyer, Pam Dyer, Nona Edwards-Thomas, Barbara Full, Megan Knisely, Jessica Marquez, Denise McCarthy, Heather Seitz, and Nicole Shank.

For more information about volunteering with CASA, readers may attend an information session on Tuesday, Aug. 7. Identical sessions will be held from noon to 1 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the York County Judicial Center, 45 N. George St., York, in the third-floor conference room.

More information is available by visiting, calling 717-771-9754 or searching for "York County CASA Program" on Facebook.


An Unforgettable Summer July 6, 2018

Fresh Air Fund Children Arrive In Lancaster

For many local residents, like the Horst family of Elizabethtown, hosting a child through the Fresh Air Fund's Friendly Towns program is a highly anticipated part of every summer. The Horsts have welcomed Lulu, an 11-year-old from New York City, into their home for a week or more each summer since 2014 and were eager to see her as she arrived at the Junction Center in Manheim on July 2 along with 34 other children and teenagers being hosted by Lancaster- and Lebanon-area families. "It's great to have Lulu return again and again and develop a close relationship with her," said Juanita Horst.

The Fresh Air Fund is a not-for-profit agency that connects thousands of children from low-income families in New York City with host families in rural, suburban, and small-town communities along the East Coast and southern Canada. Youths ages 7 to 18 stay free of charge for one or two weeks of fun and relaxation with a host family. Bus drop-offs occur several times throughout the summer in various locations.

Juanita's daughter, Larisa, said that having another girl in the house is one of her favorite parts of Lulu's summer stays. In past years, the Horsts took Lulu along to visit a local amusement park in Hershey and Camp Hebron in Halifax to try new activities such as horseback riding and archery. At home, the family loves to spend as much time as possible outside, including evenings spent roasting marshmallows over the fire pit and setting up tents to camp out overnight.

Exploring the family garden is another simple pleasure for Lulu, and last summer the Horsts sent corn back with her to New York so that she could share fresh corn on the cob with her own family. "It's fun to see the kids' excitement as they pick fresh tomatoes, peppers, and corn," Juanita remarked. When it comes to being inside, art projects are a popular way to pass the time, whether working on airplane and car models or creating plush toys and hair accessories.

Simply spending time together is what the Ross family of Palmyra most enjoys about hosting a Fresh Air Fund child. This summer, the family of six children - ranging from age 8 to 14 - reunited with 14-year-old Shirley, who has been visiting through the Fresh Air Fund since she was 7. "She kind of fits right in, and it mixes things up a little bit," said Doug Ross, noting that his children welcome the experience. "It's a good experience for your children to be introduced to people of other cultures and regions."

The first year that Shirley visited, Doug said that they traveled a lot, making trips to Delaware beaches and to see wild animals at Lake Tobias in Halifax and so forth. "We kind of killed ourselves entertaining her, but at the end of the time her favorite thing was just going to the community pool," Doug recalled. Now they aim to make things special right at home, with things like cookouts and campfires. The Rosses have chickens, dogs, and cats - a switch from Shirley's home in New York City with her grandma - and much like the Horsts, the Rosses like to maximize their time outdoors.

Area readers who would like to host a child next summer may contact the Lancaster County Fresh Air Fund representative Marcia Weaver at 717-951-8851 or fill out a form at to get started. Volunteer host families may request the preferred age and gender of their Fresh Air child. Children on first-time visits are ages 7 to 12, and children reinvited by the same family may continue through age 18. According to, more than 1.8 million children from New York City have participated in the cultural exchange program since it began in 1877.


CASA Volunteers Sworn In July 5, 2018

Lancaster County community members were sworn in by the Hon. Jeffrey Reich as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers on May 31 in the ballroom at Emerald Foundation Community Campus in Lancaster. The new volunteers join more than 200 others who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in the county's dependency court system. CASA volunteers help to ensure that the children's needs are recognized and best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.

CASA of Lancaster County trains volunteers to be qualified, compassionate advocates to fight for and protect a child's right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family. CASA volunteers meet regularly with the child and interview people in the child's life, including social workers, attorneys, teachers, doctors, and mental health professionals.

The new volunteers include Rick Groff, Lancaster; Karyn Heichel, Lancaster; Jocelyn Mylin, Willow Street; Mary Beth Schweigert, Lancaster; Yvonne Tejada, Lancaster; Holly Mutchler, Lititz; Judy Swarthout, Elizabethtown; Melissa Davey, Landisville; Michelle Clements, Landisville; Keri Weaver, Manheim; Jackie Brandsema, Lancaster; Elizabeth Kleinmann, Ephrata; Cathy Bonser, Lancaster; Shirley Davey, Leola; Debbie Weaver, Lititz; Ashley Brown, Lancaster; Marshall Fischer, Lancaster; and Rick Oppenheimer, Lancaster.

The next available advocate training session for CASA of Lancaster County will begin in August. For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, readers may call 717-208-3280 or email


Susquehanna Heritage, NPS Partner To Reach Students July 3, 2018

Susquehanna Heritage and the National Park Service (NPS) recently completed their third Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (Chesapeake Trail) field trip season for local fourth-grade students. Each year, Susquehanna Heritage receives funding from the National Park Foundation's Every Kid in a Park initiative in cooperation with the NPS to offer the program to schools at no charge.

The field trip was initially developed by Jerry Schenck, a fourth-grade teacher from Wrightsville Elementary School who participated in the NPS Teacher Ranger Teacher program. Since its inception in 2016, all fourth-graders from the Eastern York School District have participated in the program. Fourth-graders from Columbia Borough School District, Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School in Columbia, and York Academy Regional Charter School joined in the program's second year.

The program is based at the Susquehanna Heritage Zimmerman Center for Heritage, 1706 Long Level Road, Wrightsville. Lesson materials draw on all three of the Chesapeake Trail's interpretive themes and address several state education standards. During a scavenger hunt at the Zimmerman Center and its waterfront pavilion, students learn about the travels of Captain John Smith and how he documented what he saw, as well as the history of the Susquehanna River.

Students are led on a guided hike to Native Lands County Park, 1664 Long Level Road, Wrightsville, to see the site of a former Susquehannock Indian town and learn how colonization affected how and where they lived. Finally, students take part in a field stream study to learn how each person's actions affect the health of rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

As part of the experience, students complete a Chesapeake Trail Susquehanna River Edition of the NPS Junior Ranger Activity Book. At the end of the day, a National Park Ranger swears each student in and presents him or her with Junior Ranger badges. With the conclusion of the 2018 field trip season, the program's 1,015th student took the Junior Ranger pledge.

When reflecting on the field trip, one student said, "I just think that the whole field trip was a really good learning experience for my classmates and me. I also think the other people should come to (the) national park because it was a really cool experience for my classmates and me and it might be for other people too!" Another student put it succinctly: "That field trip was awesome."

Children ages 6 to 12 can become NPS Junior Rangers at any time by visiting the Zimmerman Center to pick up the free workbook to complete. The center is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays. Guided tours of the historic house are offered throughout the day on the weekends. The Junior Ranger book may also be found at

To learn more about Susquehanna Heritage and its offerings, readers may call 717-252-0229 or email


Organization Seeks Donations Of Dresses, Purses July 3, 2018

Sparrow Place, a local nonprofit looking to open a specialized trauma informed restorative residence for survivors of sex trafficking, is currently seeking donations of new and gently used purses and dresses of all sizes, styles, and seasons. All donations must be clean.

The items will be for sale to the community at the organization's Dress for Freedom event on Saturday, Sept. 8. Donations are being collected in boxes at Grace Church Shrewsbury, 473 Plank Road, New Freedom, and York Alliance Church, 501 Rathton Road, York.

To learn more about the organization, readers may visit, email, or call 717-347-7176.


CASA Organizations Post Information June 26, 2018

Two organizations known as CASA, both operating in York County, have posted information to help members of the public distinguish between the organizations.

The York County Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) is an agency of the York County Court of Common Pleas. It is a volunteer-based program that trains citizens to speak for abused and neglected children in the court system. The agency is located in the York County Judicial Center, 45 N. George St. For more information about the organization, readers may call 717-771-9754 or visit or

A separate and unrelated organization, CASA, is an immigrant rights advocacy organization. This organization has a York city location at 225 E. Princess St. More information is available by calling 717-219-7974 or by visiting,, or

Both organizations are part of larger national CASA organizations.


Veterans Invited To Combat Recovery Course June 25, 2018

The James A. Danner VFW Post 537, 1095 Pines Road, Etters, will host a 12-week REBOOT Combat Recovery course beginning on Thursday, Aug. 30. The training focuses on healing the spiritual and moral wounds of war and is led by combat veterans. The course is free to combat veterans, along with spouses and partners. Free child care and dinner are included, as well.

Created to aid service members and their families in working through their post-traumatic stress, REBOOT offers a blend of clinical insight and faith-based support in the form of weekly classes that include topic-based instruction, class discussions, homework, group exercises, and a family-style meal.

VFW Post 537 received positive reviews from the combat veterans and their spouses who graduated from its recent classes. Etters course leaders include Doug Wahl, Robert Reiner, Dennis Ross, and Sheldon Kauffman.

Registrations may be made at For more information on REBOOT, readers may contact Doug Wahl at or 717-649-4479.


Foster Parent Sessions Planned June 21, 2018

Families United Network, 412 S. Angle St., Mount Joy, is seeking foster families. The organization will host foster parent orientation sessions on Wednesday, July 11, and Thursday, July 26, from 6 to 8 p.m.

To attend either of the sessions, call 800-722-0136 or email Holly at


SCORE Celebrates Small Businesses June 21, 2018

When SCORE members and guests gathered at the Ware Center in Lancaster on April 24 for the SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon Small Business Awards Luncheon, they had much to celebrate. Bobb Bewley, Lancaster-Lebanon chapter president, welcomed the group and explained the purpose of SCORE, noting that it is a volunteer organization of 67 business mentors committed to the mission of fostering small businesses with mentorship and education, which he said are critical success factors in starting and growing small businesses.

According to Bewley, in 2017, SCORE volunteers met with 637 new clients and conducted 93 workshops and roundtables, providing more than $1 million in services at no cost to clients. Five of those clients were honored at the luncheon.

Bewley introduced Ken Yancey Jr., SCORE CEO from Washington, D.C., who announced that the Lancaster-Lebanon chapter was named the national chapter of the year. The award is given to the chapter that has provided the most benefit in the community.

SCORE mentor Kathryn Ross introduced the business sponsor representatives, who then presented the awards to the small businesses which had flourished under the tutelage of SCORE mentors.

Clint Krushinsky presented the first award to Mary Beck, who began her own geriatric care management business in Hummelstown. Beck noted that her SCORE mentor, Don Houghton, was instrumental in her success because he brought his expertise as a businessman and helped her prioritize her business goals, persuading her to view her business plan as a working document. She noted that he continues to encourage her as her business grows.

Chad Hotsko presented the award to Anne Kirby, founder of a local community co-working space. Kirby said, "Organizations like SCORE have helped me prosper." She added that her mentor, Jerry Glenn, was willing to ask her the tough questions. Kirby said that she had long referred members of her own organization to SCORE and that she finally took her own advice and connected with a mentor, calling it "one of the best business decisions I ever made."

Alejandro Rosada presented an award to Patrick Rohal, a local doctor who has founded a direct primary care model practice. Rohal said that he and his mentor, Hugh MacMaster, worked together to revise Rohal's business plan, and that MacMaster guided him in crucial matters such as how to hire employees, while helping him to stay true to the vision of his practice as it grew. Rohal noted that working with SCORE gave him reassurance that he was on the right track.

John Anderson, Millersville University president, presented the award to Jason and Sara Hurst, owners of a fencing company located in Gap. Jason discussed how the Hursts, whose mentors included Fred Engle, Joann Brayman, Eric Parker, and Dave Diffenderffer, founded the business with the goal of using it to build people. "We want our business to empower people," he said. "SCORE has walked us through the business plan and market research and set us up for success."

The final award was presented by Brian Jones. He introduced Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program representatives Ezra Rothman and Steve O'Neill. Rothman noted that VITA has grown from preparing 2,000 returns per year seven years ago to preparing more than 10,000 free tax returns this year. More than 200 volunteers at locations throughout the county saved clients more than $2.7 million in tax preparation fees and helped to bring them more than $13 million in refunds. O'Neill added that VITA's success is based on empowering and supporting volunteers and staff, and he thanked VITA's SCORE mentors, Kevin St. Cyr and Tim Douglas, for their part in that success.

Readers who would like more information about SCORE may call 717-397-3092 or visit


House Of Hope Receives Funds June 20, 2018


Riverfest To Commemorate Wrightsville Battle June 15, 2018

Live music, Civil War re-enactments, and great food will all be part of the annual Rivertownes PA USA Riverfest event on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, on the north lawn at John Wright Restaurant, 234 N. Front St., Wrightsville. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. A nominal admission fee will be charged.

The Red Rose Minutemen will set up a Civil War encampment on June 23 that will be open to the public beginning at 2 p.m. Rivertownes PA USA president David Haneman explained that upwards of 50 volunteers will be portraying both Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as civilians. "There will be plenty of one-on-one interpretation with some of the best living historians in the area," said Haneman. Camp life scenes, drill demonstrations, and artillery instruction will be part of the encampment.

A re-creation of the battle of Wrightsville and the conflict leading up to the burning of the covered bridge spanning the Susquehanna River will take place at noon on June 24. "We are happy to be a part of the 155th commemoration of the crucial engagement at Wrightsville," shared Haneman. "Come join us and see history in your own backyards."

Riverfest is held to commemorate the 1863 burning of the covered bridge that spanned the Susquehanna River at that time. Haneman said that the bridge was set ablaze to prevent the Confederate soldiers from crossing the river and moving toward Harrisburg or Philadelphia. "With the crossing halted, the Confederate forces turned toward (the Battle of) Gettysburg that was fought one week later," he said.

Riverfest will culminate with a celebration that all are welcome to attend from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m. on June 24, featuring live music from the Ragtime Willi Band. Band members include Jack Roberts on bass and vocals and Jim Penta on harmonica and percussion - two of the original members from when the group started out in 1977. David Hinkel on guitar and Joel Henry on five-string banjo and vocals round out the band. The folk group will perform a mix of traditional folk, blues, bluegrass, and old-time country songs, as well as covers by artists such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, The Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan - plus a growing list of original songs.

At dusk, the lighting of three torches on piers on the Wrightsville side of the bridge will take place. The three piers represent the river towns of Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville. Proceeds from Riverfest will support the Rivertownes' high school scholarship fund, which gives monetary awards to high school students from the three towns who are pursuing studies in art or history.


Hope And Prosperity For The Nation June 8, 2018

Star Barn Celebration Set For July 3 And 4

Disassembling and moving the historic Star Barn and its ancillary structures from Middletown to the Stone Gables Estate in Elizabethtown has been no small feat. To celebrate the completion of Star Barn Village, the community is invited to a grand opening event from 4 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4. The entrance for the rain-or-shine event will be at Newville Road, Elizabethtown.

Arts and crafts vendors will have a variety of items for folks to peruse. People of all ages may enjoy a petting zoo featuring alpacas, miniature horses, fainting goats, potbellied pigs, sheep, Texas longhorn cattle, oxen, horses, and more. Yard games and demonstrations will be set up throughout the property, as well as three blazing fire pits.

Other activities will include face painting, a balloon artist, line dancing, steam tractor-powered ice cream making, pony rides, hitch wagon rides, and tractor-pulled rides. Individuals in costume as friends of John Motter - for whom the Star Barn was originally built in 1877 - will be milling about. Food and beverages will be available to purchase.

A full-size replica of a Leviathan steam locomotive will be unveiled and on display at the event. Stone Gables spokeswoman Gail Shane noted that it replicates president Abraham Lincoln's funeral train, which actually passed through the property during Lincoln's funeral procession.

The property's stunning 80-foot flagpole, which flies a 20-by-30-foot American flag, will be dedicated at 6 p.m. on July 3.

On July 4, beverage tastings will take place in the Star Barn's arched limestone cold cellar, and the two-day event will conclude with a fireworks display set to begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Owners David and Tierney Abel said that they were drawn to the Star Barn, formerly located along Route 283 in Middletown, and wanted to preserve it and ensure that the public could have access to it. As the Abels took on the task of relocating and restoring the barn, they learned about the significant religious symbolism it contained. For instance, the five-pointed star louvers used for ventilation were placed on the barn and all of its structures as a sign of hope and prosperity for the nation following the Civil War. A commemorative Star Barn booklet with before and after photographs of the project that guests will receive at the celebration lists additional details about the barn's history.

Attendees may tour all of the Star Barn Village buildings, as well as Ironstone Ranch and the Star Barn Museum. Aside from the main Star Barn, buildings include the carriage house, hog barn, chicken coop, loafing shed, corn crib, and original limestone spring house, as well as three gazebos and a solarium.

Tickets may be purchased at Various prices have been set for general admission, senior citizens, military personnel, and children ages 6 to 18. Admission is free for children age 5 and younger.

A limited number of VIP tickets are also available and will include an exclusive four-course dinner on the main floor of the Star Barn on July 3, entertainment from word-renowned Irish tenor Mark Forrest, a private talk and tour of the 275-acre Stone Gables Estate with the Abels, and more. To inquire about VIP tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or details on pricing for a family pass, readers may email

Net profits from the event will benefit Brittany's Hope, an Elizabethtown-based nonprofit organization that aids abandoned children worldwide. Brittany's Hope provides adoption grants and implements orphan care projects such as a monthly child sponsorship program. To learn more, readers may visit


Car Will "Help The Fight" June 4, 2018

Racer X Motorsports has joined the commitment to help people living with breast cancer through a partnership with Help The Fight 2018 during its season at BAP Motor Speedway. Help The Fight's pink logo will be prominently displayed on the No. 8 car in the IMCA/Pa Sprint Series. The team driver is Racer X Nitro Nick Sweigart.

For 2018, Sweigart has planned a 20-race schedule with Racer X Motorsports including races at Baps Motor Speedway, Lincoln Speedway, Port Royal Speedway, and Williams Grove Speedway.

Help The Fight provides monetary funding for anyone locally who is currently receiving breast cancer treatment and for those needing the necessary screening process to detect breast cancer. This nonprofit is dependent on local donations to reach those living with breast cancer across Lancaster and surrounding counties. The organization holds a large annual benefit event and small, year-round fundraisers.

The car will be featured at the LCBC car show on Saturday, June 9, and a special event at the Lancaster Home Depot on Sunday, June 10. The car will also be featured at the Keystone Diesel Nationals truck show, an annual event that also benefits Help The Fight. The sprint car race wings will be auctioned off at Help The Fight's ninth annual benefit event at Spooky Nook Sports on Saturday, Oct. 6.

To learn more about Help The Fight, readers may may visit


Residents Race To Support PBCC May 31, 2018

Jim Roberts of Mount Joy recently completed the 2018 One Lap of America. He traveled to Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, and Kentucky in support of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC).

Roberts and his transit driver, Mount Joy resident Jesse Landis, traveled 5,334 miles, competing against 71 other teams at racetracks all around the country along the way. Roberts has competed in One Lap of America for 10 years and has raised more than $25,000 for PBCC's programs and services.

Stickers that decorate the roof of Roberts' Corvette can be purchased for a donation, which will benefit the PBCC. The donor name will be listed, or donors can purchase a sticker in honor or memory of a loved one. To make a donation, readers may visit and fill in "One Lap of America" when prompted for the title of event. Readers may also donate by stopping in at Jim Roberts' West Main Auto, 14 W. Main St., Mount Joy.

For more information, readers may read Roberts' One Lap of America blog at or search for "Jim's One Lap Adventure" on Facebook.

The PBCC represents, supports, and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy, and breast cancer research gramts. The PBCC is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure. For more information, readers may call 800-377-8828 or visit


Fundraiser Meets Goal May 31, 2018

On May 12, more than 400 walkers and 5K runners from Lancaster and Lebanon counties participated in the 32nd annual Walk Run for Life. The event supports Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services.

So far, more than $221,000 has been raised, and donations and pledges are still being processed. The total meets the $221,000 goal.

For more information about Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services, readers may visit

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