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Farm Show Celebrates Diversity January 16, 2018

Despite single-digit temperatures early in the week, throngs of visitors and exhibitors took part in the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show, an annual indoor agricultural event. The 2018 show, themed "Strength in Our Diversity," highlighted the breadth and diversity of Pennsylvania's agriculture and food industry, the people who make it thrive, and investments the state has made to support the industry's long-term prosperity. Nearly 14,000 competitive exhibits - including 3,327 competitive exhibitors and 232 commercial exhibitors - were on display within the 24 acres spread throughout the complex's 11 halls and three arenas.

The eight-day show kicked off with the traditional unveiling of a butter sculpture depicting the diversity of Pennsylvania agriculture, specifically careers and roles that support the dairy industry.

Gov. Tom Wolf officially opened the show on Jan. 6, recognizing the nearly 580,000 Pennsylvanians who work in the agriculture and food industry. During the ceremony, Wolf reinforced his administration's commitment to building an agriculture industry where everyone, regardless of their background or zip code, has a chance to succeed.

The governor addressed more than 500 state and local officials on Jan. 10, noting that agriculture is a vital industry that policymakers and industry personnel must work collaboratively to strengthen and grow.

On Jan. 8, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding helped to unveil a new plan to support healthy pollinator populations in the face of challenges that have decimated some species. The Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan is the product of a collaborative effort by state officials, researchers, farmers, beekeepers, and the public, and according to Redding, further collaboration will be needed to reverse declining populations.

Redding also hosted the Army vs. Navy Cook-Off, the centerpiece of the show's Military, Veterans, and Their Families Day, a full day of events honoring veterans for their service. The challenge was held on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage, which earlier in the week hosted Food Network chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

Scholarships of $3,500 were awarded to 28 young exhibitors from across the state. Youth market livestock exhibitors received a record $376,121 for their 423 animals in the junior livestock sale on Jan. 9.

In addition to the 42 livestock shows, 675 family living categories, and seven baking competitions, the approximately half-million visitors to the show experienced the state's agrarian heritage through antique tractors, culinary cookoffs, hands-on demonstrations, and celebrity competitions.

The Expo Hall's stage hosted a variety of Ag 101 talks and demonstrations from across the agriculture industry, and it showcased four centennial and bicentennial farm families. The ceremony also recognized 197 farms encompassing 16,236 acres that were safeguarded through the state's nation-leading farmland preservation program in 2017.

Vendors at the food court kept busy serving a wide variety of food and beverages, including roast beef sandwiches, walking tacos, pulled pork, maple cotton candy, ice cream, honey, breaded mushrooms, soups, salads, milkshakes, lemonade, and apple cider.

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Scholarship News Posted January 15, 2018

Northwest EMS and the Stirling family have announced the Robert C. Stirling Scholarship, available to individuals residing in the Manheim Central School District pursuing a degree in the medical field. Applicants do not need to attend Manheim Central to be eligible.

Bob Stirling was involved in the Manheim community until his passing in 1994, including volunteering for 30 years at the Manheim Veterans Memorial Ambulance Association. This year will be the 23rd year for the scholarship.

Applications are available by contacting Lori Shenk at 717-665-2904, 717-371-8282, or lshenk@nwems86.org or by stopping by the nurse's office at Manheim Central High School.

Applications are due Thursday, March 15. Winning recipients will be selected by individuals representing Northwest EMS and the Stirling family, and all applicants will be notified in April. For details, contact Shenk.

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EMS Plans Food Drive January 12, 2018

Northwest EMS is accepting donations for the local food banks that are located in its primary response area.

The food drive will run through February, and donations will be accepted at Northwest EMS station locations at 380 W. Bainbridge St., Elizabethtown; 188 Rock Point Road, Maytown; and 60 W. Colebrook St., Manheim.

Suggested items include peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, canned soups, foods for those with special dietary restrictions (low sugar/sodium), bottled juice, applesauce, pasta, canned meats, crackers, and rice.

For details, call Lori Shenk at 717-371-8282.

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LCSWMA Posts New Agreement January 11, 2018

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) and Covanta, based in Morristown, N.J., recently announced a new agreement for the operation and maintenance of LCSWMA's two Energy-from-Waste facilities: the Lancaster Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facility, located in Bainbridge, and the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex (SRMC), located in Harrisburg. Combined, these two facilities process around 700,000 tons of waste annually. The new improved agreement, which was finalized at the end of 2017, extends a successful longterm collaboration between LCSWMA and Covanta through 2032.

LCSWMA retained Covanta's expertise to design, build and operate the Lancaster WTE Facility. The facility, which Covanta has operated since 1991, serves the sustainable waste management needs of Lancaster County, processing 1,200 tons of municipal solid waste per day to produce enough renewable energy to power 30,000 homes continuously.

The SRMC, serves Dauphin County and the City of Harrisburg by processing up to 800 tons of municipal solid waste per day and generating approximately 23 megawatts of renewable energy that powers state capitol buildings in Harrisburg.

Covanta has operated the SRMC since 2007 and was critical in the turnaround of the facility, completing upgrades that allowed the facility to operate in a reliable and environmentally-sound manner. LCSWMA purchased the SRMC in 2013 from the City of Harrisburg and made significant investments and capital improvements to further enhance facility performance, along with improving customer service and aesthetics of the site.

The new agreement stipulates investments and upgrades to the systems at both Energy-from-Waste facilities to ensure continued safe and reliable waste processing and energy production for many years to come.

LCSWMA's integrated system and Covanta have won numerous awards over the years, including the Gold Excellence Award in WTE from the Solid Waste Association of North America and Top Plant honors from Power Magazine for the turnaround of the SRMC. The two facilities are also recognized as Star worksites in the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). VPP Star status is the highest honor given to worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems.

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Medication Take-Back Program Posted January 9, 2018

The York County Solid Waste Authority has purchased a secure medication take-back box for the Lower Windsor Township Police Department, bringing the number of participating police departments in York County to 17. The public may deposit unwanted medications anonymously in the take-back boxes during police department lobby hours, except on holidays.

This partnership program provides a secure disposal option for unwanted medications from residential sources at no cost to the public or law enforcement. The secure medication take-back box, purchased from MedReturn, works like a mailbox: once medications are deposited, they cannot be retrieved and are contained in a locked compartment accessible only by law enforcement.

The heavy-duty green metal box bolts to the floor and wall. Medication collected in the take-back box program will be delivered by law enforcement to the Authority's waste-to-energy facility for environmentally safe destruction. Law enforcement also maintains the box and secures medications that are received until they can be destroyed.

The Authority has invited all York County police departments to participate and has established medication take-back boxes in nearly all police departments across the county. The Authority purchases a box for each interested police department and provides free destruction of medications at the York County Resource Recovery Center, the Authority's waste-to-energy facility located in Manchester Township.

The Authority's waste-to-energy facility is equipped with state of the art combustion technology and air emission controls for destruction of unwanted or expired prescription or over-the-counter medication. The facility's operator, Covanta York Renewable Energy, also supports this program.

Residents interested in dropping medication at a take-back box location should remove their personal information from containers before depositing them in boxes. Only residential prescription or over-the-counter medications are accepted, along with pet medications. Pharmacies, hospitals and other commercial sources of medications are not eligible to participate. Syringes and other "sharps" are not accepted in this program.

For more information, readers may visit www.ycswa.com. As the program expands to other locations, the Authority will announce them to the public. The following police departments are participating:

Carroll Township Police Department, 555 Chestnut Grove Road, Dillsburg, open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; City of York Police Department, 50 W. King St., York, open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Fairview Township Police Department, 145 Limekiln Road, Suite 600, New Cumberland, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Hanover Borough Police Department, 44 Frederick St., Hanover, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Hellam Township Police Department, 44 Walnut Springs Road, York, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Lower Windsor Township Police Department, 2425 Craley Road, Wrightsville, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Newberry Township Police Department, 1905 Old Trail Road, Etters, open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Northeastern Regional Police Department, 5570 Board Road, Mount Wolf, open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Northern York County Regional Police Department, 1445 East Canal Road, Dover, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Also, Penn Township Police Department, 20 Wayne Ave., Hanover, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Southern Regional Police Department, 47 E. High St., New Freedom, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Southwestern Regional Police Department, 6115 Thoman Drive, Spring Grove, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Spring Garden Township Police Department, 340 Tri Hill Road, Spring Garden Township, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Springettsbury Township Police Department, 1501 Mount Zion Road, York, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; West Manchester Township Police Department, 380 E. Berlin Road, York, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; West York Borough Police Department, 1700 W. Philadelphia St., York, open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and York Area Police Department, 33 Oak St., York, open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Authority facilitates responsible solid waste management through an integrated system that emphasizes waste reduction, reuse, recycling and resource recovery. The Authority is the owner of the York County Resource Recovery Center in Manchester Township. The Resource Recovery Center manages York County's household and commercial waste, as well as some manufacturing waste.

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Agency Seeks Volunteers January 8, 2018

The York County Area Agency on Aging is looking for volunteers to help provide the A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls program to older adults in York County.

A Matter of Balance is a program designed to help people manage concerns about falls and increase physical activity. It is conducted in eight, two-hour sessions that feature group discussion, problem-solving strategies, videos and gentle physical exercise. Older adults learn positive coping methods to reduce fear of falling and remain active and independent. A Matter of Balance coaches help participants become more confident about managing falls by showing ways for participants to increase their strength, reduce falls and protect themselves if they do fall.

Volunteer coaches should have good communication and interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, dependability and a willingness to lead small groups of older adults. Coaches also must be able to lead low- to moderate-level exercise.

To become a coach or for more information about the program, readers may contact Megan Craley at 717-771-9610, ext. 1017, or mmcraley@yorkcountypa.gov by Monday, Jan. 15.

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Community Memorializes Individuals January 3, 2018

On the first day of winter, Dec. 21, 2017, Chester County officials, Decade to Doorways personnel and agencies that support people experiencing homelessness in Chester County held a memorial for 16 homeless and formerly homeless individuals who passed away in Chester County during 2017. The community came together in front of the historic Chester County Courthouse in West Chester for the memorial event. Dec. 21 was Homeless Persons Memorial Day.

Lauren Campbell, Decade to Doorways administrator, began the service with opening remarks. The program included a candlelight vigil, a reading of the names of the individuals who passed away and two musical selections by Catherine Friedman, executive director of Friends Association, and local musical artist Alexandra March. Attendees were given the opportunity to share memories about individuals being memorialized.

Since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has sponsored National Homeless Persons Memorial Day annually on the first day of winter. The event, now observed in more than 150 cities and counties across the U.S., aims to memorialize the men, women and children who died on the streets or in emergency shelters each year and recommit to ending homelessness in order to prevent such deaths in the future.

Decade to Doorways is a 10-year initiative that coordinates the efforts of people in Chester County working to combat homelessness, including government entities, service providers, educators, health care professionals, faith communities, funders and businesses, with the end goal of making homelessness rare, brief and non-reoccurring by 2022. To learn more about Decade to Doorways, readers may visit www.decadetodoorways.org.

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Parks Department Programs Set December 28, 2017

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. Programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster, unless otherwise noted.

Programs are open to people of all ages, unless otherwise stated. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration should be completed by noon on the business day prior to the program by calling 717-295-2055 unless otherwise stated.

On Dec. 12, 2017, the department began a new online registration system allowing participants to register and pay for activities, sign up for pool passes, reserve garden plots, and view pavilion and camp site availability. Users will need to create an account by visiting https://apm.activecommunities.com/lancastercountyparks/Home. Individuals may search for activities by keyword, age, day, time, location and more. They can also register for multiple activities at once.

Animal Survival During Winter for people of all ages will be held on Saturday, Jan. 6, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Attendees will learn how animals survive the harsh conditions of winter. After a brief presentation, participants will explore park trails and look for signs of wildlife and winter food sources. Participants should dress for the weather and wear walking shoes.

Kindness Rocks! for people of all ages will take place on Jan. 6 from 1 to 2 p.m. Participants will paint rocks with messages to brighten someone's day and take the rocks to gift or place in their communities. Rocks, paints, and brushes will be provided. Participants should dress for a painting project.

A Winter Hike for participants of all ages will take place on Sunday, Jan. 7, from 2 to 3 p.m. on the Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail, 99 Champ Blvd., Manheim. A naturalist will lead an afternoon of exercise and scenery. The group will meet in the parking lot.

Let's Go Tracking for individuals of all ages will run from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Attendees will follow in the footsteps of animals, become familiar with locating and identifying tracks, scat and other clues indicating animals are active and surviving the winter. Participants should dress for the weather.

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Transit Authority Posts Survey December 27, 2017

The South Central Transit Authority (SCTA) is asking for the public's help in providing feedback about transit services provided by Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority (BARTA) and Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA). SCTA has created an online Community Survey for public input. SCTA is creating a Transit Development Plan (TDP) for the region, and as part of the plan SCTA wants to gather public input and suggestions to help update its vision for future public transit service. This vision will be based on input from BARTA and RRTA customers and other members of the Berks and Lancaster communities about needs for travel by public transportation.

The survey is located on the SCTA, BARTA and RRTA websites under the Transit Development Plan link. Readers may visit www.sctapa.com, www.bartabus.com, or www.redrosetransit.com. There is an English and Spanish version available. Surveys will be accepted until the end of December.

The consultant team NelsonNygaard Consulting Associates is conducting a thorough analysis of existing transit operations and conditions for the TDP. In November, Nelson/Nygaard conducted on-board rider surveys to gather data from existing BARTA and RRTA customers. With all this data, the consultants will identify potential opportunities for service improvements and provide recommendations that improve mobility in the region. Once completed, the TDP will include an analysis of current and projected community characteristics, a review of existing and projected service needs and the development of service improvement proposals based on service and community needs and funding availability. The TDP is scheduled to be completed in late spring 2018.

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Tax-Aide Program To Offer Free Service December 26, 2017

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program will again offer its free tax service for taxpayers of all ages, especially adults age 60 and older, during the tax season. There is no fee, and AARP membership is not required.

With the help of a team of IRS-certified volunteers, the Tax-Aide Program helps to make filing taxes easier. Last year in York County, more than 60 volunteers helped 3,500 taxpayers file their federal, state, and local income tax returns at 14 sites.

Taxpayers should bring photo identification for themselves and proof of the Social Security or ITIN numbers for anyone on the tax return, including children or other claimed dependents. Also, last year's tax return is helpful if it is available.

Tax-Aide volunteers can prepare most personal income tax returns, including those with basic self-employment income. Volunteers are not trained to do business returns such as corporate, partnership, limited partnership, farm income, or rental income. These types of returns are out of scope for the Tax-Aide Program.

To make an appointment, taxpayers may contact several locations throughout York County. Locations include Messiah United Methodist Church in York, 717-771-9042; York Alliance Church, 717-771-9042; Union Fire Company in Manchester, 717-771-9042; Aldersgate United Methodist Church (UMC) in York, 717-771-9042; White Rose Senior Center in York city, 717-843-9704; Red Land Senior Center in Lewisberry, 717-938-4649; Dover Township Library, 717-292-6814; Eastern Area Senior Center, 717-252-1641; Shrewsbury Grace UMC, 717-993-3488; Hanover Church of the Brethren, 717-633-6353; Golden Connections Community Center in Red Lion, 717-244-7229; and Windy Hill on the Campus in Spring Grove, 717-225-0733.

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Outgoing Hero Fund President Honored December 19, 2017

John "J.D." DiBuonaventuro, the board president of the Chester County Hero Fund, stepped down after 17 years in that position on Dec. 6. His fellow board members held a sendoff that included a surprise visit from a several of his relatives, a cake, and two framed keepsakes with photos and memorabilia.

The Chester County Hero Fund is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to the families of paid and volunteer first responders who suffer injury or death in the line of duty. It has been needed more than a dozen times since its inception in 2001. The organization's board of trustees, an 11-member group that includes representatives from all of the county's first responder and law enforcement agencies, must approve each recipient, and the fund picks up expenses beyond what insurance typically covers.

The task of replacing DiBuonaventuro fell to a search committee that included County Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh, District Attorney Tom Hogan, and Robert Kagel, who heads the county's Department of Emergency Services. At the Dec. 6 meeting, the board named James Vito as DiBuonaventuro's successor.

Vito, who retired a year ago as Chester County's chief county detective, had logged 37 years in the district attorney's office.

A graduate of West Chester University, Vito attended college with the knowledge that he wanted to pursue police work. The criminal justice program had just been introduced at what was then West Chester College, and Vito participated in one of its first internships, a stint that landed him in the office of the county detectives.

He began his law enforcement career in 1976 with the West Goshen Police Department and moved to the county detectives three years later. As he worked his way up in the ranks, he played a key role in many county law enforcement initiatives, including the creation and development of the Computer Forensics Unit, the Crime Scene Forensics Unit, and the Child Abuse Unit. Vito was also one of the leaders in developing an active threat/mass casualty protocol for the entire county.

In addition to voting in Vito as president, the Hero Fund board elected Butch Dutter as treasurer and re-elected both Welsh as vice president and Neil Vaughn as secretary. It also made DiBuonaventuro an honorary trustee.

The Hero Fund is an all-volunteer organization, operating on a budget that ensures that the donated funds all go to the intended recipient. For more information, readers may visit www.chestercountyherofund.com.

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CASA Welcomes New Advocates December 19, 2017

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster County recently swore in 10 new volunteer advocates. CASA volunteer advocates are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children with the belief that all children deserve safe, nurturing, and permanent homes. CASA volunteers believe that growing up in a safe home is a fundamental human right.

Friends, family members, and CASA supporters witnessed Judge Jeffrey J. Reich swear in the new volunteer advocates during a ceremony on Dec. 7 at the CASA office on North Duke Street in Lancaster. The new volunteers are Wayne Acker, Lititz; Martha Dixon, Lancaster; Cathy Duke, Lititz; Jasmine Jackson, Lancaster; Mary Beth Kritzer, Leola; Adalmarie Maldonado, Lancaster; Michael Quear, Nottingham; Jordan Raudenbush, Ephrata; Awa Stateson, Lancaster; Angelina Stillman, New Holland; and Jacquelin Stoner, Willow Street.

The unprecedented swell in the number of new cases being assigned by dependency court judges necessitated the addition of a fourth training class. Instead of asking prospective volunteers to wait until February 2018 for the next class, CASA decided to add one more in 2017. The new class of volunteer advocates brings the total number of trained CASA advocates in Lancaster County to 279. CASA volunteers have served 586 children since the first case was appointed to CASA in January 2010.

Before being sworn in, the newest volunteers completed 30 hours of in-class training facilitated by CASA staff, with presentations from Children and Youth Agency staff members, various attorneys with whom CASA volunteers work, a judge, and local service providers and professionals.

For more information about becoming involved with CASA, readers may call 717-208-3280, email casa@CASAlancaster.org or visit www.casalancaster.org.

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Summer Internship Program Announced December 19, 2017

For nearly 40 years, the mission of the Fourth Congressional District Internship Association has been to give local college students an opportunity to take part in the democratic process. In keeping with that tradition, the association has announced the application process for its 2018 summer internship program.

Any undergraduate college student who is a resident of the Fourth Congressional District of Pennsylvania and has completed his or her freshman year of undergraduate studies by the beginning of the internship is eligible to apply. The application deadline is Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

Taking place from May through August, the internship program will allow several area college students a chance to learn about public service through full-time internships with Congressman Scott Perry. Each intern will spend five weeks in Washington, D.C., assisting with legislative projects and will also spend five weeks assisting with constituent casework in one of Perry's district offices in Gettysburg, Wormleysburg, and York.

The interns will be able to receive a weekly stipend during the internship experience. While they work in Washington, D.C., intern housing will be provided at no charge at George Washington University. Housing will not be provided while the interns work in the district offices.

Interns are selected based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated commitment to the ideals of public service. The selection of interns is made on a nonpartisan basis.

Internship applications can be downloaded at www.4thdistrictintern.org.

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Agency Honors Volunteers December 19, 2017

Barbara Clark, Julie Geyer, Bill Tileston and Suzanne Piccolo have been honored as York County Area Agency on Aging's Volunteers of the Month for their service and dedication to York's older adults.

Clark, of Hellam Township, volunteers as an APPRISE counselor as well as an ombudsman. Clark is a retired human services professional with more than 20 years of experience working with seniors and families. She says her mother's teachings about the importance of giving back and treating people with dignity and humanity were her inspiration to volunteer.

Geyer, of New Oxford, helps out the agency as a friendly visitor, a financial counselor and a Matter of Balance coach. Because of her personal experience as a long-distance caregiver for her father, Geyer worried about others taking advantage of seniors. This concern inspired her to volunteer.

Tileston, of York Township, assists as a financial counselor, among his other volunteer activities. His work history is in finance and accounting. Tileston says that he has the time and abilities to help others. He believes that volunteers are very important because they help meet critical, local needs in the community, especially when funding sources are increasingly smaller.

Piccolo, of Springettsbury Township, volunteers with the APPRISE program and special events. Piccolo retired after 32 years with York County Children, Youth and Families agency. She believes this is why she wants to continue giving back to the community by assisting her peers with Medicare.

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Tree Recycling Program Available December 19, 2017

The York County Solid Waste Authority's free Christmas tree recycling program for all York County residents will continue through Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Residents may bring their trees to the parking lot located directly across the street from the Resource Recovery Center in Manchester Township. In addition to the Authority's collection site, the following businesses are accepting Christmas trees: Spring Valley Mulch in Dover, which may be contacted at 717-292-3476, and H & H General Excavating in Spring Grove, which may be contacted at 717-225-4669.

Those recycling trees are asked to remove ornaments, tinsel, lights and protective bags from their trees. Many municipalities now offer curbside Christmas tree collection for their residents. More information is available by calling the municipality's office. Dedicated loads of Christmas trees collected in municipal programs will be accepted at no charge during regular business hours at the Authority's Small Load Drop-off Facility at the Resource Recovery Center. Trees collected will be taken to H & H General Excavating in Spring Grove to be recycled into mulch.

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Parks Department To Host Programs December 19, 2017

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. Programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster, unless otherwise noted.

Programs are open to all ages, unless otherwise stated. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration should be completed by noon on the business day prior to the program by calling 717-295-2055 unless otherwise stated.

Munchkin Science will be held from 11 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Jan. 2, 16, and 30 and Feb. 13 and 27. The program, open to children ages 3 to 5 with a parent, will feature a different theme on each date. Participants will explore the wonders of science with a naturalist.

A Winter Wildflower Walk will take place on Thursday, Dec. 21, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Muhlenberg Wildflower Meadow, 548 Golf Road, Lancaster. A naturalist will lead a walk in the meadow during the winter solstice to enjoy the wildflowers in their final beauty. Participants should park in the grass in the Muhlenberg Wildflower Meadow parking lot.

Household Elf for Brownie Girl Scouts will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 27. After a game in which girls simulate the lifestyle of peers in less fortunate settings, Brownies will explore ways in which their families may live more sustainably. From making environmentally-friendly cleaning products to discovering ways to cut energy and water usage, girls will receive tips and bring them home to their families. Badges are not included. Registrations are due by Friday, Dec. 22.

Home Scientist for Brownie Girl Scouts will run from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 27. Brownie Girl Scouts will complete requirements for the Home Scientist badge with a series of activities. A naturalist will assist as girls explore static electricity, make ice cream, inflate balloons without using a breath, and more. Badges are not included. Registrations are due by Friday, Dec. 22.

Bird Study Merit Badge for Boy Scouts will be offered on Friday, Dec. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A naturalist will assist scouts in completing requirements for the Bird Study Merit Badge. Participation in the Christmas Bird Count for Kids on Saturday, Dec. 30, should allow Scouts to complete the remaining requirements. Attendees should dress for the weather and bring a water bottle, a packed lunch, a field notebook, binoculars, and a bird field guide if possible. Registration and prepayment is due by Wednesday, Dec. 27.

Christmas Bird Count for Kids, for all ages, will take place on Dec. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants will form teams for the event, an abbreviated version of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which was founded in 1900. Volunteers from the Lancaster County Bird Club will teach participants how to use binoculars; loaners will be available if needed. LCBC members will lead the teams on a 90-minute walk in Lancaster County Central Park to identify birds. After the walk, each team will report its results and record the data online. Participation is free.

Fun and Fascination ... With Rocks and Fossils! will take place on Wednesdays, Jan. 3 and 17, Feb. 7 and 21, March 7 and 21, and April 4 and 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. Each session will have a different theme related to geology. The geology series will be interrupted for a visit to the sugar shack - Pavilion 11 - on March 7. The series is specifically designed for children ages 6 to 10; younger children may attend if they accompany their parents and older siblings.

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Parks Program Schedule Set December 12, 2017

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. Programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster, unless otherwise noted.

Programs are open to all ages, unless otherwise stated. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration should be completed by noon on the business day prior to the program by calling 717-295-2055.

Munchkin Science will be held from 11 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Jan. 2, 16, and 30 and Feb. 13 and 27. The program, open to children ages 3 to 5 with a parent, will feature a different theme on each date. Participants will explore the wonders of science with a naturalist.

Leaf Print Ornaments will take place on Sunday, Dec. 17, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Using natural materials, flour, and salt, participants can make personal holiday ornaments or keepsakes to take home. A naturalist will provide materials and directions.

A Winter Wildflower Walk will take place on Thursday, Dec. 21, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Muhlenberg Wildflower Meadow, 548 Golf Road, Lancaster. A naturalist will lead a walk in the meadow during the winter solstice to enjoy the wildflowers in their final beauty. Participants should park in the grass in the Muhlenberg Wildflower Meadow parking lot.

Household Elf for Brownie Girl Scouts will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Dec. 27. After a game in which girls simulate the lifestyle of peers in less fortunate settings, Brownies will explore ways in which their families may live more sustainably. From making environmentally-friendly cleaning products to discovering ways to cut energy and water usage, girls will learn valuable hints and bring them home to their families. Badges are not included.

Home Scientist for Brownie Girl Scouts will run from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 27. Brownie Girl Scouts will complete requirements for the Home Scientist badge with a series of fun activities. A naturalist will assist as girls explore static electricity, make ice cream, inflate balloons without using a breath, and more. Badges are not included.

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Township Marks Project Completion December 12, 2017

On Dec. 5, the Township of Derry and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) celebrated the successful completion of the West Caracas Avenue Parking Lot Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) project.

During the event, water was poured over the parking lot to simulate a rain event and demonstrate how the newly installed BMP features work to manage stormwater and protect the local waterways. In addition, Joe Adams, southcentral regional director, DEP; John Foley, chairman, Township of Derry board of supervisors; Sen. John DiSanto; and Matthew Bonanno, P.E., Civil Practice Area Leader at the project's design firm, Herbert, Rowland, and Grubic Inc. (HRG), spoke about the long-term benefits and ingenuity of the project.

The DEP awarded the township a $200,000 Local Stormwater BMP Implementation grant to help fund this project, which represented almost half of the total cost of the improvements. The nearly 40,000-square-foot parking lot now includes 11,500 square feet of porous asphalt and 3,510 square feet of vegetative islands, trees, and landscaping, allowing for groundwater recharge, improved water quality, and a reduced volume of stormwater runoff. This approach is designed to entirely infiltrate stormwater runoff from a 100-year storm event. Additionally, the project serves as a public demonstration project and includes informational signage to help educate the general public on the parking lot's stormwater BMP features and the benefits of infiltration to water quality.

In addition to environmental benefits, the project increased parking efficiencies with better access management and a greater number of parking spaces. The parking lot frequently accommodates Downtown Hershey Association's Life on Chocolate events that take place in ChocolateTown Square Park and in the lot itself. Due to its central downtown location, the parking lot also serves visitors to downtown restaurants, the Hershey Story museum, the Hershey Theatre, and local shops.

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Village Park Awarded Grant December 11, 2017

Rep. Keith Greiner recently announced that West Lampeter Township has been awarded a $250,000 state grant for rehabilitation and further development of Village Park.

Improvements covered under the grant will include the renovation of a basketball court; construction of a parking area, pedestrian walkway, volleyball court and stormwater management measures; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; and lighting.

In addition to infrastructure and equipment improvements, the grant will also be used to improve ADA access, landscaping, signage and other related site improvements.

Township officials, who are working to raise the $3 million needed to complete the project, plan to break ground in 2019.

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SEPTA Cards Available For Seniors December 11, 2017

To ensure seniors can ride free on all SEPTA transit services, Rep. Harry Lewis Jr. is offering people age 65 and up the opportunity to get a free SEPTA Key Senior ID card without traveling to Philadelphia. Instead, they may visit Lewis' office in Downingtown during normal office hours.

Lewis held an event at the Villages of Hillview on Nov. 8 to help residents with their applications to SEPTA. Since more than 170 applications were submitted that day, Lewis will also be providing the service at his office.

The Key card enables seniors to ride free on transit services including bus, Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, trolley and the Norristown High Speed Line. Regional Rail fares for seniors will continue to be $1 for rides within the commonwealth.

While Pennsylvania seniors who possess a valid unexpired driver's license or state-issued ID are automatically eligible to participate in the program, people who do not want to use either form of identification can register and have their picture taken for the SEPTA Key Senior ID card. The SEPTA Key cards will be mailed at a later date.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, readers may call Lewis' office at 610-269-1289.

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