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Drop-In Nature Program Planned July 12, 2018

The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will host a drop-in program from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, at William Kain Park. Participants should meet in the Iron Stone Hill parking lot.

Park program coordinator Rachel Albright will help people look through binoculars and spotting scopes to see herons, egrets, ducks, and maybe a kingfisher. Attendees will learn why these birds enjoy spending time in the shallow waters near the boardwalk.

This program is suitable for children age 8 and older. There is no fee, and no registration is required. For information on this event and other programs, readers may visit http://yorkcountyparks.org.

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Recreational Programs Set July 11, 2018

The Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation will offer programs to the community. Unless otherwise noted, there is a per-person fee to take part in the programs, and programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster. To register, readers may call 717-295-2055. Registration is required by noon on the business day before the event.

Bird Feeder Fun will be offered on Saturday, July 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The event is open to all ages. Attendees will create their own birdfeeder out of recycled materials to take home to hang in their own backyard.

Nature Games and Creek Play will be offered to children age 4 and up on Sunday, July 22, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Pavilion 2. A series of group games that simulate animal relationships with each other and with the environment will be played. Participants will cool down with a wade in the Conestoga River. Nets will be available to catch and examine what critters are living in the river.

Munchkin Science - Butterflies and Caterpillars, open to children ages 3 to 5 with an adult, will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24. A program about caterpillars and butterflies will be followed by catching butterflies and observing caterpillars outside.

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Honoring Our Veterans License Plates Available July 11, 2018

With the warmer weather and longer days bringing increased travel, the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) has posted information about Honoring Our Veterans license plates that community members may obtain for their vehicles as a way to show patriotism and support veterans in need.

Available for passenger cars, motorcycles and light-duty trucks up to 14,000 pounds, the license plates may be purchased by anyone. A portion of the proceeds benefit Pennsylvania's Veterans' Trust Fund (VTF). The VTF issues grants to statewide charitable organizations that aid veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs. These advocates use available grants to assist veterans in need of shelter and necessities of living, among other services.

In addition to the sales of the license plates, there are a number of other programs designed to help fund the VTF in support of Pennsylvania veterans. To learn more about VTF programs and to purchase an Honoring Our Veterans license plate, readers may visit www.vtf.pa.gov or www.facebook.com/padmva.

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Hunting Licenses Available July 10, 2018

Holders of a 2018-19 Pennsylvania hunting license valid July 1, 2018, through Sunday, June 30, 2019, may now apply for a resident antlerless license. Nonresidents with a valid 2018-19 hunting license are able to apply for nonresident antlerless licenses. Separate fees have been set for residents and for nonresidents.

Checks or money orders must be submitted by mail; cash should not be sent with applications. The York County treasurer's office will accept antlerless license applications on a first-come, first-served basis through the United States Postal System only. The treasurer's office is not responsible for applications that are not received through the United States Postal Service.

Hunters are encouraged to mail applications in the pink envelopes provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on July 6 in order to ensure timely delivery to the treasurer's office. Applications should not be sent to the Game Commission. Hunters should place first-class postage on Sections I and II of the pink envelope.

Only one license per hunter may be issued in the first round. Hunters may apply for a second or third license in subsequent rounds until the supply is exhausted.

Applicants submitting up to three applications per envelope are encouraged to submit separate checks or money orders for each application. If one check is remitted for multiple applications, all of the applications may be rejected if there is a problem with any one application or if any wildlife management unit is sold out.

If the license allocations for all unit preferences are sold out, the application will be returned to the hunter. The hunter may apply for another unit where licenses are available by using a new pink envelope.

For more information and to check the status of license application, readers may visit www.pa.wildlifelicense.com. Information is also available by contacting the Game Commission at 717-787-4250 or visiting http://pgc.pa.gov.

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Conservation Award Available July 10, 2018

A prestigious award that celebrates voluntary conservation by farmland owners is coming to Pennsylvania. This year, Pennsylvania will become the 14th state to present the Leopold Conservation Award in partnership with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and Heinz Endowments.

Sand County Foundation, a voice for private land conservation, presents the Leopold Conservation Award to farmers, ranchers, and foresters for extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation on private working lands. The inaugural award will be presented at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January 2019. The recipient will receive $10,000 and a crystal award depicting Aldo Leopold.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes those who inspire others with their dedication to land, water, and wildlife habitat management on private, working land. The award brings together agriculture, government, environmental organizations, industry, and academia to advance the cause of private lands conservation.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau welcomes this opportunity to promote the inaugural Leopold Conservation Award in the state as another occasion to recognize and reward farmers, who are going above and beyond in adopting best management practices on their farms to protect the environment, while maintaining the future economic viability of their farming operations. Nominations for the first Pennsylvania Leopold Conservation Award are now being accepted.

Nominations may be submitted on behalf of a landowner, or landowners may nominate themselves. The application can be found at https://sandcountyfoundation.org/uploads/Pennsylvania-2018-CFN.pdf.

Applications must be postmarked by Wednesday, Aug. 15, and mailed to Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, c/o Joel Rotz, P.O. Box 8736, Camp Hill, PA 17001-8736. For application information, readers may visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.

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Park Path Extension Opens July 6, 2018

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on June 28 to celebrate the completion of the Rotary Park Path Extension, a collaborative effort between the Borough of Mount Joy, Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (LCCTC), and the Mount Joy Rotary Club.

The purpose of the path is for connectivity and completing connections throughout the borough to provide safer modes of transportation and access to all users. The path is a continuance of the Emerald Necklace concept to ultimately connect all the borough's parks on a multimodal transportation plan. The Rotary Park Path Extension will help in connecting Rotary Park, Cove Park (Mount Joy Township), Borough Park, and Little Chiques Park.

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Department Slates Nature Programs July 6, 2018

Lancaster County Parks Department has announced two upcoming programs.

Citizen Science! - Celebrate Urban Birds, a program for people of all ages, will be held on Thursday, July 19, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Conestoga Greenway Trail, South Duke Street Trailhead, which is located at 1301 S. Duke St., Lancaster. Naturalist Kristyn Small will lead a team of citizen scientists on an urban bird count on the Conestoga Greenway Trail, exploring participants' skills of scientific observation. The data collected will be submitted to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Celebrate Urban Birds program to help professional scientists around the world understand more about the impact of urban centers on bird populations. The event will be the last program in the Citizen Science series iNaturalist.

A Mindfulness Hike for participants age 10 and up, led by Small, will be held on July 19 from 3 to 4 p.m., starting at Pavilion 3 of Lancaster County Central Park, 1098 Rockford Road, Lancaster. Participants will engage their senses during the relaxing hike. Trails are easy to moderate. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and bring a beverage.

Readers may visit https://apm.activecommunities.com/LancasterCountyParks or call 717-295-2055 to register for either event by noon on July 18. There is a nominal fee per person.

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Postal Employees Receive Recognition July 6, 2018

The Holtwood Post Office held a ceremony on June 27 to recognize employee achievements.

Rural mail carriers T. Roger Smith and Mary Trimble received the Million Mile Award, recognizing them for 30 or more years of service without an at-fault accident. Smith has contributed 35 years of safe delivery, and Trimble has accumulated 30 years of safe delivery. Each carrier was presented with a Million Mile jacket, plaque, lapel pin and certificate. Also, state Rep. Bryan Cutler presented each carrier with a certificate recognizing his or her years of service and safe delivery.

During the recognition event, rural carrier Jeff Haddon, rural carrier Gerald Groff and clerk Gini Serball received safety certificates.

Central Pennsylvania district manager Deborah Gless, manager of post office operations Keith Krempa and safety specialist Lora Halpin presented the awards. Family and friends were present.

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WIC Eligibility Changes Posted July 5, 2018

The Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County (CAP) announced that income guidelines for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program changed on July 1. WIC is a federally funded program for pregnant women, postpartum and breastfeeding mothers, and infants and children under the age of 5. Eligibility is based on Pennsylvania residency, income and nutritional risk.

The new 2018 income guidelines for eligibility start with an annual gross income of $22,459 for a household of one; $30,451 for two; $38,443 for three; $46,435 for four; $54,427 for five; and $62,419 for six. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant. For each additional household member, $7,992 is added. WIC does not require proof of citizenship.

WIC families receive nutrition counseling from a nutritionist, breastfeeding support, referrals, and food vouchers redeemable at participating grocery stores for a variety of foods, including milk, eggs, cereal, infant cereal and formula, bread, tofu, jarred baby foods, canned foods, and produce.

For more information about WIC, readers may call CAP at 717-509-3686 or 800-WIC-WINS or visit www.pawic.com. Pennsylvania WIC is funded by the USDA.

More details about CAP are available at www.caplanc.org.

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Parks Department Posts Story Time June 25, 2018

The Berks County Parks and Recreation Department will present a Covered Bridges Story Time on Wednesday, July 11, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Berks County Heritage Center, 1102 Red Bridge Road, Reading. Attendees will explore why covered bridges were built and learn about some of the animals that call covered bridges their home. This month's story will be "The Great Bridge Building Contest."

For more information and to register, call the Berks County Heritage Center at 610-374-8839. Information about the story time and other programs is also available by visiting www.countyofberks.com/parks or searching for "Berks County Parks and Recreation Department" on Facebook.

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Negley Announces Retirement June 21, 2018

Derry Township manager James N. Negley has announced his retirement to the board of supervisors effective Monday, Nov. 5, marking 45 years of service to the township.

Negley was hired in 1974 as a police officer and was promoted to detective in 1976. He rose to the top position of chief of police for the Derry Township Police Department in 1991. He served as interim township manager in 1993 and again in 1996 when he was ultimately named manager.

He will retire in Mount Joy with his wife Deborah and spend more time with his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons who live nearby in Mount Gretna.

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Board Recognizes Police, Community Members June 20, 2018

The West Hempfield Township board of supervisors presented its annual West Hempfield Township Police Department awards and commendations on May 1 at the board's regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the West Hempfield Township Municipal Building. The honorees were recognized for actions they had taken during 2017.

Officer Robert L. Small and Officer Karl J. Hartranft received the Life Saving Award. The award is given to individuals whose actions prevented the death of a person or persons. On Aug. 25, 2017, officers were dispatched to a hotel, where a person intended to take his own life. The officers successfully defused the situation, and the individual was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Both Small and Hartranft are trained members of the Lancaster County Crisis Intervention Team.

West Hempfield Township Police Department Corporal Ryan P. Draper; Draper's wife, Erika Draper; and Officer William Ceravola from Reading Township Police Department also received West Hempfield Township Police Department's Life Saving Award. On March 27, 2017, the Drapers and Ceravola were traveling in separate vehicles across the Route 30 bridge between Columbia Borough and Hellam Township when they observed a female standing at the edge of the bridge. The Drapers and Ceravola were able to remove the female from the edge of the bridge, and she was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Ryan is a trained member of the Lancaster County Crisis Intervention Team. Both he and Ceravola were off duty at the time of the incident.

Officer Richard Bowermaster Jr. of West Hempfield Township Police Department and Officer William Watt of East Hempfield Township Police Department received Commendation Awards, given to an officer for an outstanding act that involved performance above and beyond his or her basic assignment.

Watt and Bowermaster have been leaders in the Beards for Brothers Campaign, a local fund drive started by Watt. Since 2014, officers from across the county have raised money for local first responders and their families who are dealing with cancer or other debilitating disease or organizations that help these individuals and their families. Since 2014, a total of approximately $30,000 has been raised. Monies have gone to two different organizations and to a junior firefighter from West Hempfield Fire and Rescue and the daughter of a Lancaster City police officer, both of whom have rare diseases.

Corporals Douglas Ober and Ryan Draper also received Commendation Awards. On Jan. 30, 2017, officers were dispatched to a bank, where a robbery had just occurred. Ober and Draper responded while in civilian clothing and in an unmarked police vehicle. Their investigation led them to locate the subject in a crowded restaurant. The subject was taken into custody without incident and with no other restaurant patrons being endangered.

Officer John J. Schwab received the Perfect Attendance Award, recognizing him for taking no time off during the 2017 calendar year for injury or illness. Additionally, he reported for his scheduled shifts on time and was prepared for duty.

The West Hempfield Township Police Department presented its Certificate of Appreciation to the Paul Revere Leber Post 372 of the American Legion and Buckeye Corrugated Inc. All-Size Division. The Certificate of Appreciation is awarded to citizens, organizations, or businesses that distinguish themselves through the accomplishment of an extraordinary act or service to the police department or to the community.

This year's honorees made significant contributions to the police department, which helped with the purchase of equipment, training supplies, community outreach and educational supplies, and first aid equipment and supplies.

Officer Michael P. Murray received the 2017 Officer of the Year Award. The award is given to an officer who distinguished himself or herself through either an accumulation of exceptional contributions or a single incident and whose actions clearly place the individual well above others of equal rank or grade.

Murray has been a member of the police department since January 2016. He was honored for distinguishing himself as a leader in his number of criminal arrests and in traffic enforcement; for displaying exceptional courage, fortitude, and resourcefulness during critical incidents; and for effectively testifying in numerous criminal prosecutions leading to successful convictions. He was also honored for having a positive attitude, promoting West Hempfield Township, and striving to enhance intradepartmental effectiveness.

Additionally, four officers were recognized for their involvement in saving the lives of six individuals who overdosed on drugs and had to be administered naloxone. All individuals survived because the officers acted quickly and had naloxone on hand. The honorees were Murray, Schwab, Ober, and Hartranft.

Earlier this year, the United States Marine Corps Reserve honored Corporal Douglas Ober, Officer Bart Hollis, and Officer Ben Johnson for their assistance with the 2017 Toys for Tots program.

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Event Will Spotlight Fireflies June 20, 2018

The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will host a program on fireflies at John Rudy County Park, 400 Mundis Race Road, York, on Thursday, June 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Park volunteer Jodi Sulpizio will share information about fireflies, and participants will hear a story and take a firefly-watching hike. The program is designed for children ages 4 to 7 who are accompanied by an adult.

There is no fee, and no registration is required. For more information, readers may visit www.yorkcountyparks.org.

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Program Reaches Preservation Milestone June 20, 2018

The Chester County Commissioners have announced an agricultural land preservation milestone in the county. Since October 1990, when the first farm successfully went into the program, Chester County's Agricultural Land Preservation Board (ALPB) has approved the preservation of 40,000 farm acres on more than 500 farms. The farmland preservation represents a significant contribution to Chester County's overall open space preservation program, which now accounts for 28 percent of the county.

The ALPB is now accepting applications for two competitive programs funded by the Chester County Commissioners: the Commonwealth/County Program and the Chester County Challenge Grant Program. Both programs offer funds to qualifying Chester County farm owners who are interested in preserving their farms. The county pays farm owners for their development rights in exchange for a permanent agricultural conservation easement on their land.

Preservation of a farm removes the development potential from the land, making the price more affordable for new generations to purchase the farm and participate in Chester County's agriculture industry.

According to Chester County commissioners' chair Michelle Kichline, many farms that have sought preservation have been in the same family for 100 or more years. She noted that preservation funds can help with transitioning the farm to the next generation while also preserving open fields and hills.

Farms with 10 acres or more are eligible for both the Commonwealth/County Program and the Chester County Challenge Grant Program if they are adjacent to other permanently preserved land. For farms not adjacent to permanently preserved land, the acreage minimums are 50 acres for the Commonwealth/County Program and 25 acres for the Challenge Grant Program.

Even if land is enrolled in an Agricultural Security Area (ASA) or Act 319 (Clean and Green), farmers are still eligible to receive additional funds to preserve their farms. Farmers still own the land and can sell it or pass it on to the next generation as long as it remains in agriculture.

Commissioner Kathi Cozzone pointed out the diversity of preserved farms in the county, listing fruits, vegetables, soybeans, mushrooms, tree farms, dairy, beef, pigs, turkey, ducks, equine operations, alpacas, and more.

According to Commissioner Terence Farrell, the county's farmland creates more than $600 million in revenue a year, with the county's agriculture industry contributing more than $3 billion to the local economy through sales, employment, taxes, and services.

The application deadline for both the Commonwealth/County Program and the Chester County Challenge Grant Program is Wednesday, Aug. 1. For more information, including applications and program guidelines, readers may visit www.chesco.org/openspace or call Geoff Shellington at 610-344-6504.

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Russell Elected To Committee June 13, 2018

Members of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) have elected H. Scott Russell, vice chairman of the board of supervisors for East Hempfield Township, to a three-year term on the association's executive committee.

The election took place during PSATS' 96th annual Educational Conference and Exhibit Show, held April 22 to 25 in Hershey.

The seven-member executive committee, the association's five officers, and the immediate past president make up the executive board, which is responsible for managing the affairs of the state association. The board oversees association business and plans new projects that will benefit member townships.

Russell is manager and transportation engineer for East Cocalico Township and was previously employed as director of municipal engineering for RETTEW Associates. He also served as the appointed engineer for Lancaster County and multiple municipalities.

He is a member of PSATS' Grassroots Advocacy Network. In addition to previously serving as chair of the East Hempfield Township board of supervisors, he has served on numerous committees, commissions, boards, and task forces. Russell is a member of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was a founder of the Central Lancaster County Council of Governments. He is also a Sunday school teacher at Hempfield United Methodist Church, a den leader for Cub Scout Pack 37, and assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 349.

He served in the U.S. Army, is a graduate of Leadership Lancaster, and was the 2008 and 2013 recipient of the Envision Lancaster Award. He was a member of the council for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Landisville and a coach for Penn Legacy Soccer. He lives with his wife, Cheryl Ann, and four children in Landisville.

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LCPC Releases Draft Of Comprehensive Plan June 13, 2018

The Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC) announced the release of the preliminary public draft of places2040, the new Lancaster County comprehensive plan. The plan is available for public review and comment at www.places2040.com.

The comprehensive plan is a vision for the future of Lancaster County and serves as an advisory policy document for decision makers regarding issues and opportunities that affect countywide land use, transportation, and quality of life.

Over the past two years, the commission hosted more than 100 presentations at a variety of meetings and events. County residents also participated in online surveys to help identify priorities for the county's future. Over 8,000 people were involved in the process. All of this input led to the plan's five "big ideas," 26 policies, and seven catalytic tools and strategies for implementation.

The public is encouraged to provide comments on this draft by Saturday, June 30. In addition to the digital copy available at the website, hard copies are available by contacting the LCPC at 717-299-8333.

The Lancaster County Planning Commission will release a final draft of the plan in late July, kicking off a 45-day review period prescribed by state law. At the conclusion of this period in the fall, the commission will hold a public meeting on the plan before forwarding it to the Lancaster County Board of County Commissioners for possible adoption.

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Mill At Anselma Receives Donation June 13, 2018

The Chester County Commissioners recently presented a check for $1,000 to representatives from The Mill at Anselma in Chester Springs. The funds are part of the county's annual appropriations to organizations and nonprofits and will be used for the purchase of materials for educational demonstrations as the county leads awareness of events at the mill, which has been operating since 1747.

The Mill at Anselma is one of Chester County's National Historic Landmarks and is recognized as one of the most complete known examples of a custom grain mill in the United States. A working example of more than 250 years of Chester County's industrial heritage, the mill has retained its original Colonial-era power train as well as multiple layers of industrial equipment ranging from the 1700s to the mid-1900s.

Mill demonstrations currently take place on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through December. Milling demonstration days include talks by the miller, who shows how the mill parts work together to grind the grain. There are also hands-on activities for children, including sifting through the milled flour, and 22 acres of grounds to explore.

For further information, including opening hours and a schedule of all 2018 milling demonstration days and special events, readers may visit www.anselmamill.org.

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County Parks Programs Set June 12, 2018

The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will offer recreational programs to the community. The programs will take place at Richard M. Nixon County Park, 5922 Nixon Drive, York, and registration is required, unless otherwise noted. For more details or to register, readers may call the Nature Center at Nixon Park at 717-428-1961 or visit www.yorkcountyparks.org.

Woods Exploration programs will take place at Rocky Ridge County Park, 3699 Deininger Road, York, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, June 19, July 3 and 17, and Aug. 7. The program will let visitors wander through the woods with a naturalist to investigate anything they see, hear, or find. This walk is designed for outdoorspeople of any age and may go on different trails each week. Wanderers should meet at the children's play area next to the Pheasant Pavilion in the Hidden Laurel Picnic Area.

A Family Nature Patrol program will be held on Thursdays, June 21 to July 5, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Adults and children will enjoy a mini-summer camp experience together exploring nature hands-on during staff-led hikes and activities. On the final Thursday, children will have a private tour of the nature center and the reptiles on display. The program is recommended for children ages 4 to 8 who are accompanied by an adult. There is a fee for the series. Class sizes are limited. Readers may register by calling 717-840-7440.

Family Campout Night will take place from 7 p.m. on Friday, June 22, to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 23. Families should bring the whole family, tent, and sleeping bags to snooze under the stars on the Nature Center lawn. There will be a family scavenger hunt at dusk with prizes. Afterward, participants will share their favorite campfire stories. Families should bring marshmallows and hotdogs for a nighttime snack. A gourmet s'mores bar will be provided. Participants will enjoy a light breakfast, followed by a bird hike with naturalist Andrew Wolfgang. In the event of severe weather, sleeping will be moved inside the Nature Center. There is a fee per person. Children age 2 and younger may participate for free.

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East Brandywine Posts Events June 6, 2018

East Brandywine Township will present free movies and concerts this summer in the East Brandywine Township Community Park, 440 Dilworth Road, Downingtown.

On Friday, June 15, Disney's "Moana" will be featured. The band Panama Rex will present a Jimmy Buffett experience on Saturday, June 23. Both events will begin at 6:30 p.m. Attendees should bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating.

Future movies will include "Toy Story" on Friday, July 13, and "The Last Jedi" on Friday, Sept. 7. Movies will start at dusk.

Future concerts will be by The Walton Marquette Project on Saturday, July 21, and Southern Edge on Saturday, Aug. 4. Concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For a complete list of movies and performers, visit www.ebrandywine.org.

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NPS Reports On Park Visitors June 1, 2018

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 10,393,892 visitors to national parks in Pennsylvania spent $478,300,000 in the state in 2017. That spending resulted in 7,473 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $691,000,000.

The national parks of Pennsylvania attract visitors from around the world. Along the way, the visitors spend money, which strengthens both the local and national economy. This new report shows that national park tourism returns $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.

There are 15 National Park Services entirely or partially within Pennsylvania included in the report. National Scenic or Historic Trails, National Heritage Areas, affiliated areas, and similar entities are not included.

Pennsylvania sites include Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site (Gallitzin), Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (headquarters in Bushkill; also in New Jersey), Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site (Philadelphia), Eisenhower National Historic Site (Gettysburg), Flight 93 National Memorial (Shanksville), Fort Necessity National Battlefield (Farmington), Friendship Hill National Historic Site (Point Marion), Gettysburg National Military Park (Gettysburg), Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (Elverson), Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia), Johnstown Flood National Memorial (South Fork), Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton), Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial (Philadelphia), Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River (Pike and Wayne counties), and Valley Forge National Historical Park (Valley Forge).

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion.

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 percent).

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.

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