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HLAA Chapter Sets Meeting November 15, 2018

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Capital Region Chapter will hold a meeting on Monday, Nov. 26, at 7:10 p.m. in the Community Center at the GIANT Food Store, second floor, 3301 Trindle Road, in the Camp Hill Shopping Center.

Guest speaker Matthew Frampton of South Central Pennsylvania Highway Safety will share about the PA Yellow Dot Program and how individuals can use it. He will also discuss Emergency Contact Information programs.

The meeting is free and open to the public. People who are hard-of-hearing and those they live with are especially invited to attend. The meeting will be captioned in real-time, and refreshments will be provided.

For more information, readers may may visit or call 717-802-6918. Details about the HLAA are available at


MHA Welcomes Executive Director, Seeks Donations November 15, 2018

Kim McDevitt, the new executive director of Mental Health America (MHA), invites the community to donate to the organization during the Extraordinary Give on Friday, Nov. 16. Donations will be used to help reach 1,500 more individuals in Lancaster County with the mental health support and services they need. That is McDevitt's 2019 goal for donations.

What are the mental health needs of Lancaster County?

Kim: In a county where we have a mentality of "pick yourself up by your bootstraps," there are those who need hope or assistance to "find their bootstraps." That is what MHA does. We offer wellness education, group support, and personalized advocacy. And as suicide rates increase at an alarming rate, we also need to continue to be proactive about prevention and education for early intervention.

With all the nonprofits that are social work-related, what attracted you to MHA?

Kim: I've always been drawn to organizations that serve the most vulnerable populations, where there is the most need and I can use my passion and experience to make the most impact. Mental health does not discriminate and crosses all social, economic, and educational boundaries. Likewise, we support anyone and everyone needing to navigate the mental health system for wellness.

How can Lancaster residents help impact mental wellness in our county?

Kim: Donate to MHA of Lancaster County on Nov. 16 to provide funding for our staff to carry out the important work related to advocating for individuals, guiding people through the mental health system, and providing suicide prevention education.

To donate to MHA on Nov. 16, readers may visit and search for "Mental Health America of Lancaster County." Readers may also donate any day of the year at


SCCEMS Medic 94 Marks 35 Years Of Service November 7, 2018

For 35 years, people in the area have been able to depend on Southern Chester County Emergency Medical Services (SCCEMS) Medic 94 for advanced life support services in southern Chester County.

SCCEMS Medic 94 operates independently from an ambulance service. When an emergency call comes in, 911 operators follow a set protocol and dispatch the closest ambulance and, if necessary, Medic 94 as well. Only about half of the ambulance calls will also be Medic 94 calls.

SCCEMS Medic 94, based at Jennersville Hospital and Avon Grove Fire Company, does not transport patients - that is done by ambulance. What it does is provide additional care beyond what the ambulance emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are authorized to do.

"Think of us as the emergency room on wheels," said Bob Hotchkiss, SCCEMS Medic 94 CEO and emergency medical services (EMS) chief. "The paramedics bring advanced life support, medications, IVs, airway equipment and advanced monitoring equipment. We only go out on life-threatening calls."

Oct. 15 was the official birthday for SCCEMS Medic 94, which was originally established as a joint venture between the former Southern Chester County Medical Center, the St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, the former St. Joseph's Hospital in Lancaster and the local volunteer ambulance services in Oxford, West Grove, Avondale and Kennett Square.

Until the advent of SCCEMS Medic 94, if advanced life support care was needed, paramedic units had to travel from West Chester or Coatesville to reach patients with their lifesaving care. The distance involved ate up valuable time that is important in treating a patient with a life-threatening condition.

Cutting that response time by utilizing units in the region has improved outcomes, according to Hotchkiss. SCCEMS Medic 94 serves more than 75,000 people in a 225-square mile region encompassing 18 municipalities, with a fleet of four licensed paramedic units and 18 employees. Last year, SCCEMS Medic 94 paramedics responded to more than 2,700 dispatch calls, working closely with local ambulance services as well as Jennersville Hospital and other area hospitals. SCCEMS Medic 94 also provides community outreach and wellness programs and is an accredited Pennsylvania Department of Health Continuing Education Training Institute.

Hotchkiss said the goals on each call are to stabilize the patient before leaving the scene, provide the right pre-hospital care and ensure a smooth transition from paramedic care to hospital care. In 2017, SCCEMS Medic 94 was recognized as the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council (PEHSC) EMS Service of the Year.

SCCEMS Medic 94 is a nonprofit organization with a community-based board of directors, composed of community members and representatives from the local ambulance services in Oxford, West Grove and Avondale.

As a nonprofit organization, it does bill insurance companies for patient care, but the amount it receives covers an average of just 60 percent of actual costs. To make up the difference, SCCEMS Medic 94 depends on contributions from the municipalities it serves and donations from the public.

"The community supports us in two ways - one is a fund drive," said Hotchkiss, adding that the second way the community supports SCCEMS Medic 94 is by knowing basic first aid practices. "We're the professionals who come out when you dial 911. What the general public does is as important as what we do - that they know CPR and that they know how to control life-threatening bleeding. These are things the public can do that make a tremendous difference."

For more information about SCCEMS Medic 94, readers may visit or


2018-19 LIHEAP Applications Open November 7, 2018

The start of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application process for the 2018-19 season has begun. LIHEAP provides assistance for home heating bills to keep low-income Pennsylvanians warm and safe during the winter months. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners. Crisis and regular LIHEAP applications are available now through Friday, April 12, 2019.

During the 2017-18 LIHEAP season, 344,008 households statewide received nearly $116 million in LIHEAP cash benefits. These households received an average season benefit of $337. LIHEAP benefits are paid directly to the utility company.

Consumers are encouraged to enroll in LIHEAP and to explore other assistance programs available from their utilities and various nonprofit groups. Combined, these many different resources help hundreds of thousands of households and families across the commonwealth every year.

The program's goal is to prevent LIHEAP customers from entering the winter season with shut-off utilities. Eligibility for the 2018-19 LIHEAP season is set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines.

Online applications for LIHEAP can be completed at Paper applications are available through local county assistance offices. For helpful tips on keeping warm throughout the winter while saving money on utility costs, readers may visit

For more information on LIHEAP, readers may visit


Holiday Tree Tips November 7, 2018

Natural Christmas tree aficionados love the authenticity such trees provide during the holiday season. Natural trees also provide a unique aroma that can make holiday celebrations feel more homey. A few simple strategies can help holiday revelers ensure their Christmas trees make it through the holiday season unscathed.

When purchasing natural trees, holiday celebrants, especially those who like to buy their trees in early December, may be concerned about keeping their trees fresh throughout the holiday season. Several tips can help trees last until the final present is unwrapped and the last of the egg nog has been consumed.

The first tip is to buy a freshly cut tree. Whenever possible, people should cut their own trees. This ensures that the tree they bring home is fresh, increasing the chances it will remain so throughout the season. If it is not possible to cut one's own tree, the National Fire Protection Association notes that fresh trees should have green needles that do not come off when touched. Trees that appear to be dried out or those that shed needles when touched should be avoided.

The Tree Care Industry Association advises consumers to protect their Christmas trees as they transport them home. The tree should be wrapped in a plastic wrap so it makes it home damage-free. A damaged tree might not make it through the holiday season.

Pre-cut trees should be cut again before leaving the lot. Pre-cut trees can make it through the holiday season looking their best, but buyers should request that employees cut as much as two inches off the bottom of the tree before leaving the lot. Once trees are cut, sap begins to seal their base, making it hard for them to absorb water. By requesting that between one and two inches be removed from the bottom of the tree at the time of purchase, buyers are ensuring their trees will be able to absorb the water they will need to make it through the season when they get home.

To prevent the base of the tree from drying out, the tree should be placed in water the moment it gets home. Freshly cut trees may initially need the water in their tree stands filled in the morning and then again in the evening. As the season progresses trees likely will not need their stands filled more than once per day.

The tree should be placed away from heat sources. Placing trees away from heat sources, such as radiators, fireplaces, heating vents, and lights, reduces the likelihood that trees will dry out and also reduces the risk of fire.


Making Lighting Displays Safer November 7, 2018

Lighting displays are one of the many things that help make the holiday season a special time of year. Holiday lighting displays present a perfect opportunity for communities and individuals to showcase their festive sides.

Safety should always be a priority when stringing holiday lights both inside and outside a home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) notes that each year between 2009 and 2014, fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 210 home fires that started with Christmas trees. Lighting displays strung on home exteriors also can pose safety risks if homeowners do not exercise caution. Fortunately, various strategies can help homeowners safely decorate their homes' interiors and exteriors this holiday season.

The NFPA recommends celebrants who prefer natural Christmas trees choose ones with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Dry trees are more likely to catch fire than freshly cut trees. Adding water to the tree stand each day will keep trees fresher longer. When placing the tree, avoid placing it too close to heat sources, making sure it is at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, and lights.

All lights, including those going on trees inside a home and those being strung outside, should be inspected prior to being strung. Owners should look for any worn or broken cords and replace any defected lights.

When stringing lights, individuals should always work with at least one other person. This makes it safe for homeowners who must climb ladders to string lights on especially tall trees and/or on their home exteriors.

People should avoid working outdoors in inclement weather. The weather during the holiday season can sometimes be unpleasant or unpredictable. People should check the forecast before stringing exterior lights to ensure Mother Nature will not pose a threat. They should avoid hanging lights if the forecast predicts wet, icy, or windy conditions that can make ladders unstable.

Individuals should turn lights off when going to bed and/or leaving the house. Interior and exterior holiday lights should not be left on when no one is home or everyone inside is sleeping. If left on overnight or when no one is home, lights may contribute to fires that damage homes and may even prove fatal.

Holiday lighting displays help make this time of year special. Following some simple safety procedures when decorating with lights can ensure everyone enjoys a safe and happy holiday season.


Blood Pressure Kiosk Installed November 6, 2018

The American Heart Association recently dedicated a second blood pressure kiosk in Lancaster thanks to support from the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation and matching funds from CVS Health. Carol Culliton of the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation and representatives from the American Heart Association were on hand at Bright Side Opportunities Center on Sept. 12 for a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new blood pressure monitoring kiosk, which is available for public use.

The first kiosk was installed at the Barnstormers' home stadium in July with the support of the Gunterberg Charitable Foundation. The kiosks are also the first American Heart Association blood pressure kiosks to be installed in Pennsylvania. The kiosks provide instructions to ensure the user receives an accurate blood pressure reading and information to interpret their blood pressure reading and make healthy lifestyle choices that can help control their blood pressure.

Users will also have the opportunity to register for the American Heart Association's evidence-based blood pressure control tracker called Check. Change. Control. The program provides users with ongoing information and tips via email and helps them track their progress toward lowering their blood pressure over time using an online tracker. Anyone in the Lancaster community may take enroll in the Check. Change. Control. program by visiting and entering campaign code GCFBP.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure. For more information about controlling high blood pressure and other healthy living tips, readers may visit


Tips For Sharing The Road Safely November 5, 2018

The country's roadways are for all to enjoy. Tens of millions of cars take to the roads every day, but they are not the only mode of transportation allowed on the road. Cyclists and pedestrians also make use of streets when sidewalks or biking paths are unavailable.

Although biking and walking are inherently safe activities for millions of people per year, motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians can all take steps to make roads safer for everyone.

Everyone should follow the rules of the road. Whether riding a bike or driving a motor vehicle, the rules of the road are the same. That means heeding traffic signals, signage, right-of-way, speed limits, and more.

When using the roads, people should avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs motor skills, which are necessary to walk and operate cars and bicycles safely. Many accidents and fatalities on the roads can be traced to alcohol consumption. Individuals should not drink and drive or drink and ride. Pedestrians who need to walk heavily trafficked areas would be smart to limit their alcohol consumption as well.

Pedestrians and cyclists can make themselves more visible to motorists in various ways. Wearing bright-colored, reflective gear when walking or riding and installing reflective lights on bicycles are ways to be more visible.

Drivers should remain alert at all times when behind the wheel. Motorists should be focused on the road at all times, avoiding distractions such as smartphones and in-vehicle entertainment systems. Such devices can dramatically reduce motorists' reaction times, greatly increasing the risk of accident. Drivers should slow down when cyclists, runners, and other pedestrians are nearby.

Drivers should pass safely and give room. They should not pass too closely when driving near cyclists and pedestrians. Drivers should always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Whether driving, riding a bicycle, or walking, everyone should work together to share roads safely. For more information, readers may visit


Support Group To Meet November 2, 2018

The Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute Bladder Cancer Support Group will hold a meeting at the Hershey Medical Center on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 10 a.m. The meeting is open to the public. Attendees should use the main entrance and go upstairs to room T2500.

Dr. Eugene Lengerich will be the guest speaker. He is an epidemiologist who develops, tests, and disseminates evidence-based strategies for the clinic and public health.

For more information, readers may contact Theda at 717-531-3028 or


WellSpan Slates Programs November 1, 2018

WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital will host a variety of classes. Unless otherwise noted, readers may register for the programs by calling 717-721-8790.

WellSpan will offer two HealthTalks in November. Admission is free, but registration is required by calling 855-237-4222.

The Fourth Trimester: Recovery and Wellness for the New Mother will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at The Exploratorium at Ephrata Public Library, 550 S. Reading Road, Ephrata. Jane Hearren, WellSpan certified nurse midwife, will talk about the physical and emotional changes that occur after childbirth.

Heart Disease: Plumbing vs. Electricity will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Fieldcrest Great Room at Brethren Village, 3001 Lititz Pike, Lancaster. Dr. Tatjana Sljapic, WellSpan cardiologist, will talk about the causes of and treatments for heart disease.

Also in November, chefs will compete to make best carb-smart dishes at Cooking for Diabetes: The Carb-Smart Chef Challenge. The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in the Farm Crest Community Room of Fairmount, 1100 Farm Crest Drive, Ephrata. Attendees should use entrance 2.

Three local chefs will offer a cooking demonstration at 6:30 p.m., preparing carb-smart, healthy dishes. The meals will be judged by selected audience participants.

The event will also feature products and tools that may help people to better manage their diabetes. Exhibits will be open from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The event is free, but registration is required by calling the Wellness Center at 717-721-8790, ext. 0.

The Wellness Center of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital will host two diabetes education classes. Registration is required.

Taking Charge of Your Diabetes will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, Nov. 12 to Dec. 17, in the conference rooms of the WellSpan Ephrata Health Pavilion, 175 Martin Ave., Ephrata. The classes will provide people who have diabetes with essential day-to-day skills for better blood sugar control. The program will include 10 hours of group instruction, an initial assessment with a registered dietitian and a registered nurse, and a follow-up. A family member or friend may attend as a support person. The cost will vary by insurance provider.

A Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Prevention Program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Nov. 14, 21, and 28, at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center, 63 W. Church St., Stevens. The program will focus on the effects of pre-diabetes on the body and how preventive strategies such as healthy eating, portion control, label reading, physical activity, and behavior change can have a positive influence on one's health. There is a fee to attend.

The Bariatric Surgery Support Group will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center. The support group provides education and support for both people who are preparing to undergo bariatric surgery and people who have undergone bariatric surgery. Participation is free. To register and for more information, readers may call 717-721-8795.

The WellSpan Ephrata Community Health Foundation will hold its 31st annual Starlight Gala - Masquerade Ball. The event will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Lancaster Country Club, 1466 New Holland Pike, Lancaster.

The gala will feature musical entertainment, dinner, dancing, and both silent and live auctions. Items up for bids will include original artwork, trips, dining, and sports memorabilia.

For tickets or sponsorships, readers may call 717-466-2440 or visit There is a fee to attend. Proceeds will benefit the Nursing Education and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program.

WellSpan will offer a variety of wellness classes in November. Registration is required.

A Basic Life Support/CPR training will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center. Topics will include adult and pediatric CPR, two-rescuer scenarios, the use of a bag mask, and foreign body airway obstruction. The classes will also include instruction on the automated external defibrillator (AED). There is a fee.

Heartsaver Adult, Child, and Infant CPR with AED Training will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center. Attendees will learn CPR and relief of choking for adults, children, and infants. The class will include instruction on the AED. There is a fee.

Heartsaver First Aid will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center. The American Heart Association First Aid course is designed to meet the requirements of child care workers and emergency response team members. Participants will learn how to respond to and manage an emergency. Topics will include stopping bleeding, applying bandages, and using an epinephrine pen. There is a fee.

WellSpan will also host a Cancer Support Group meeting from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 at the WellSpan Ephrata Cancer Center, 460 N. Reading Road, Ephrata. The group will share information, offer support, and provide resources and strategies for people living with cancer and for their caregivers. The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month. Meetings are is free and open to the community. More details are available by calling 717-721-4835.


Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic Planned November 1, 2018

PAWS and The Dogs' Den will hold a low-cost vaccine and microchipping clinic for cats and dogs on Sunday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at PAWS, 9803 Jonestown Road, Grantville.

Distemper, rabies and Bordetella vaccinations will be administered by Dr. Kathryn Papp for a fee per vaccine. Microchips will also be available for a set price, which includes registration.

All pets must be on a leash or in a pet carrier. Breeders will not be serviced. For more information, readers may call 717-469-7325 or 717-957-8122, ext. 5, or email or


Parkinson's Symposium Planned November 1, 2018

The second annual Parkinson's Symposium, presented by Parkinson's Circle of Care Alliance, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Emerald Foundation, 2120 Oregon Pike, Lancaster.

The keynote speaker will be Jimmy Choi, an advocate and competitor on "American Ninja Warrior." Other speakers will include Dr. Stephen Gollomp, neurologist and movement disorder specialist; Scott A. Mitchell, attorney, who will discuss how health and disability issues affect planning for the future; and Joyce Libby, financial adviser. The informational speakers will focus on topics concerning medical, financial, and governmental programs.

Vendors will be set up, offering information on items of interest and help.

There is a fee, with a lunch option available. Space is limited. Parking is limited on-site, and carpooling is suggested. Additional parking is available across the street. To register by Friday, Nov. 16, readers may visit Eventbrite or More information is available by emailing or calling 717-568-8448.


Health Insurance Enrollment Opens October 31, 2018

Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs through Saturday, Dec. 15, with coverage beginning Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. Pennsylvanians looking to enroll in a health insurance plan for next year can compare plans and sign up on, and returning enrollees can shop for a plan.

Individuals seeking information on enrollment assistance or primary health care can locate a local community health center using the Need Health Insurance Help link at or by calling 866-944-2273.


Diabetic Eye Disease Facts Posted October 31, 2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million adults in the United States are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years. One of the many damaging effects that diabetes can have is on vision. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults.

November has been declared by Prevent Blindness as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month to educate the public on the effects of diabetes on vision, risk factors, and treatment options. Prevent Blindness offers a variety of free resources dedicated to the education of diabetic eye disease at

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are constantly high and can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, and blindness. The National Eye Institute states that people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than those without diabetes. Additionally, African-Americans have a 40 percent higher frequency of severe visual impairment caused by diabetic retinopathy as compared with whites, as well as twice the rate of blindness.

Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of this disease including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. A leading cause of blindness in American adults, diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina - the seeing layer of the eye. Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a complication of diabetes caused by leaking blood vessels, which leads to fluid accumulation in the macula, the center of the retina used for central vision, and can cause central vision to become blurry. Cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye, which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye and can cause vision to become blurry. Glaucoma is characterized by optic nerve damage and possible loss of side vision, usually caused by increase in fluid pressure inside the eye.

For more information on diabetic eye disease, readers may call Prevent Blindness at 800-331-2020 or visit For a free listing of organizations and services that provide financial assistance for vision care, readers may visit


Contact Lens Safety Tips Posted October 31, 2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. Many consumers may not be aware that contact lenses are medical devices and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Additionally, the FDA states that contact lenses are not over-the-counter (OTC) devices and companies that sell them as such are misbranding the device and violating Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations by selling contact lenses without having a valid prescription.

Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit eye health organization, recommends several tips for contact lens care. Individuals should always visit an eye doctor to be fitted for contact lenses before use. Contact lenses should always be worn under the supervision of an eye doctor.

Before handling contact lenses, hands should be washed with soap and water, then rinsed and dried with a lint-free towel. Contact with water should be minimized, including removing lenses before going swimming or in a hot tub.

Individuals should never sleep in contact lenses unless authorized by an eye doctor, as this may increase the risk of infection, according to a new report from the CDC.

Contact lenses should not be rinsed with or stored in water (tap or sterile water). Contact lenses should be worn and replaced according to the schedule prescribed by an eye care professional. The contact lens case should be kept clean and replaced regularly, at least every three months.

Old solution should not be reused or "topped off" in the lens case. A cracked or damaged lens case should not be used. Lens cases can be a source of contamination and infection. Individuals should never trade or share lenses.

Contact lenses should be removed, if the eyes become red, irritated, or painful. If vision issues continue, individuals should contact an eye doctor immediately.

For more information on contact lens safety, readers may call 800-331-2020 or visit


CILCP To Host Town Hall Event October 26, 2018

A town hall meeting will be held by Pennsylvania Relay, Pennsylvania Captioned Telephone Relay Service and the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania (CILCP) on Friday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at CILCP, 207 House Ave, Suite 107, Camp Hill. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Attendees will learn more about programs and services that allow individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf/blind or who have difficulty speaking to communicate over the phone. There will also be information on how CILCP provides programs and services to assist people with disabilities.

Captioning and ASL interpreters will be provided. To request another reasonable accommodation, readers may contact Amy Strawser at or 412-944-7424 by Thursday, Nov. 1. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to register, readers may contact Cheryl Deitz at or 610-209-3207 (voice/text) or Strawser by Nov. 1.


Fall Prescribed Burns Scheduled October 25, 2018

The fall prescribed burn season has begun at Fort Indiantown Gap in Annville. The burns, intended to reduce the risk of wildfires, will be conducted on approximately 4,000 acres, as conditions permit, through Wednesday, Nov. 21, between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Local residents may notice smoke originating from or in the vicinity of the installation while burns are being conducted.

A prescribed burn is a commonly used forestry management technique that reduces the amount of combustible material naturally existing in the wilderness. It is performed only when conditions such as humidity, wind, and temperature are ideal for managing fires. Prescribed burns are not conducted unless all required conditions are met.

Fort Indiantown Gap, headquarters to the DMVA and Pennsylvania National Guard, offers more than 17,000 acres and 140 training areas and facilities for year-round training. It balances one of the region's most ecologically diverse areas with a military mission that annually supports 19,000 Pennsylvania National Guard personnel and more than 130,000 other states' Guard, military, law enforcement, and civilian personnel each year. It is the only live-fire, maneuver military training facility in Pennsylvania and is the busiest Army National Guard training center in the nation.

For more information, readers may visit Individuals may also call the community information line at 717-861-2007 to hear a recorded message with dates and times of community activities and training events.

Fort Indiantown Gap is now enrolled in AlertPA, a mass notification service by CodeRED. Individuals may subscribe to get alerts delivered straight to their phone and/or email whenever the installation is conducting prescribed burns or training that may result in increased noise levels. Readers may sign up for AlertPA at, then subscribe to Fort Indiantown Gap community notifications under Additional Notifications. Notification settings may be adjusted as needed at any time.


Law Enforcement Wave Started October 24, 2018

Municipal law enforcement agencies throughout southcentral Pennsylvania have joined the Pennsylvania State Police and more than 200 municipal agencies to conduct the first targeted aggressive driving enforcement wave through Sunday, Nov. 25. As part of the Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project, the first wave aims to reduce the number of aggressive driving-related crashes, injuries and deaths on roadways throughout the state. Any aggressive driver stopped by police will receive a ticket.

The enforcement wave focuses on red light running, the Steer Clear law, tailgating and speeding. Motorists exhibiting other unsafe behaviors such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely or practicing other aggressive actions will also be cited.

For more information, readers may visit


Church Honors First Responders October 23, 2018

Ridgeview Mennonite Church in Gordonville hosted a banquet on Oct. 17 to honor and thank the volunteer first responders of Gordonville and Intercourse fire companies and Gordonville EMS, along with their families. The event began with a meal.

After the meal, the first responders demonstrated their skills by presenting a rescue simulation. The first responders rescued two trapped persons in a flipped van and interacted with someone playing the part of a victim's father arriving on the scene.

The event concluded with a candy drop from the high basket of a ladder truck.


Winter Driving Safety Tips October 22, 2018

With the winter season approaching, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) shared the agency's plans for winter services and highlighted tools members of the public can use through the winter and how they can prepare for the coming season.

PennDOT's top priority is safety, and that guides winter preparations and operations. To help the public prepare for the season and share information about winter services, resources are available at The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT's 11 engineering districts.

The public can also access travel information on nearly 40,000 roadway miles year-round at, and during the winter, they can find plow truck locations and details of when state-maintained roadways were last plowed. The information is made possible by PennDOT's Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the more than 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing where a truck is located.

The 40,000 miles for which PennDOT is responsible translates into 96,000 snow-lane miles - enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. A snow lane is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes, which means a 1-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal 4 snow-lane miles. The department maintains roughly the same number of miles maintained by the state in New York, New Jersey, and all the New England states combined.

With $228 million budgeted for this winter's statewide operations, PennDOT deploys about 4,500 on-the-road workers, has more than 620,000 tons of salt on hand across the state, and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter. Winter maintenance is a critical and difficult task, and drivers should always think safety first and be sure that they are giving plenty of room to PennDOT operators and other motorists.

When winter weather hits, PennDOT's primary focus is on interstates and expressways, and equipment may be redirected to those routes during significant winter events. The more traffic a roadway has, the more attention it will receive from plows, so motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.

If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 440 crashes resulting in one fatality and 221 injuries on snowy, slushy, or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

In addition to planning for winter travel conditions, motorists should prepare their vehicles for the season. Tires should be checked often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire tread depth to perform on ice and snow. A quick way to check tread depth is to insert a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down. If the entire head can be seen, the tires are worn and traction will suffer. If the driver lives in an area prone to heavy snow, he or she may want to consider using dedicated snow tires or carrying a set of tire chains. At a minimum, all-season tires should be rated for use in mud and snow.

Once vehicles are travel-ready, drivers should be prepared for winter or vehicle emergencies, especially if long-distance travel is planned. PennDOT urges motorists to carry an emergency kit. An emergency kit should include items such as nonperishable food, water, first aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, a cellphone charger and a small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families may have. Drivers should consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children's games.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 860 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

For more information on PennDOT, winter preparations, and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, readers may visit

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