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Piano Students Perform In Recital January 11, 2019

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Meeting Will Feature Heirloom Apple Expert January 9, 2019

"The only apple I remember from my childhood was the Red Delicious someone gave me at Halloween. I felt ripped off that they didn't give me candy," recalled author and Maine apple historian John Bunker. "(At that time), I thought apples came in only red and green."

After Bunker grew up, graduated from college, and moved to Super Chilly Farm in Palermo, Maine, he discovered apple trees, specifically those ancient specimens that grow in backyards and in far-off fields throughout rural Maine. Appreciating a potential source of free food and seeing as no one did anything with the fruit, Bunker sought for and received permission to collect the windfalls. In the course of his collections, Bunker began learning about apples from the owners and soon came to a surprising realization.

"I realized pretty quickly there were more than red ones and green ones. There were thousands (of varieties)," Bunker recalled.

Thus began a lifetime of fascination with the heirloom apples of Maine. Bunker has spent nearly five decades on Super Chilly Farm, developing an off-the-grid homestead and community-supported agriculture program. He has collected information about as many of the different varieties of apples growing in Maine as possible, and in 1984, he started Fedco Trees to encourage others to plant trees and to fund his travels. Bunker writes about his tree-tracking adventures in the Fedco Trees catalog, and he has published a book, "Not Far From the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and the Orchards of Palermo, Maine."

In addition to scouring Maine, Bunker has visited old orchards in Europe, and he has journeyed to Kazakhstan, which is the home of the ancestors of the modern apple.

"Most of the Europeans who came here had apple orchards," Bunker remarked. "Johnny Appleseed was a real person. Every seed that he planted was genetically unique. From those millions of seedlings that were planted in the United States (by Appleseed and other Europeans), they would graft (preferred types) onto a root stock to give to their neighbor or have a second one. Around the Civil War, we had about 25,000 varieties of apples."

Bunker noted that commercial fruit growers have focused on apples ideal for eating raw, so many of those varieties have either died out or become rare, and folks are missing out. "There are so many uses for apples: cooked, baked, in sauce, or cider," Bunker said. "I eat apples daily. I make sauce every morning. The apple (variety) doesn't look pretty, but it stores well in the cold cellar, and it doesn't need any spices or sugar. But if you ate (that apple variety) raw, it would be awful."

Bunker will discuss apples, particularly heirloom varieties, at the annual Backyard Fruit Growers winter meeting on Saturday, Jan. 19. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, and the doors will open at 9:15 a.m. Admission will be free of charge, but donations will be accepted. Attendees may bring lunch or purchase it at the FFA event held next door. Additionally, empty Mason bee tubes will be available during the lunch break.

While Bunker will be the primary speaker at the event, Tim Elkner will also be on hand to discuss the spotted lanternfly invasion and the current state of the quarantine.

For more information about the meeting, readers may call Backyard Fruit Growers vice president Andrew Weidman at 717-813-1874 or visit www.byfg.org.

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Enjoy Tiramisu This Valentine's Day January 9, 2019

Romantic sentiments are expressed in many ways come Valentine's Day. Gifts may include sparkling jewels or personalized prose, but a homemade dessert from the kitchen can win over some hearts as well.

Even though chocolate may be expected on Valentine's Day, tiramisu can be a welcome and delicious alternative. Tiramisu is an Italian layered dessert, and the name translates to "pick me up" or "cheer me up." Requiring no baking at all, it is an easy treat to offer a sweetheart. This recipe for tiramisu is courtesy of the American Dairy Association.

Tiramisu (Yield: 9 servings)

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 (12-ounce) packages savoiardi lady fingers

1/2 cup cold espresso or strong coffee

1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (optional)

1 tablespoon cocoa for dusting

Instructions:

1 - Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This is the sabayon. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add mascarpone to whipped yolks and beat until combined.

2 - In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone-sabayon mixture and set aside.

3 - Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liqueur, and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet. Do not soak them. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish (or 6 by 9 inches). Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers.

4 - Repeat the process with another layer. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Dust with cocoa before serving.

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Top Innovator To Speak At MLK Breakfast January 4, 2019

American Banker magazine's 2016 Innovator of the Year, John Hope Bryant, will give the keynote address at the 31st annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Breakfast, which will be held on Monday, Jan. 21, by the Crispus Attucks Community Center.

The event will take place at Millersville University's Marauder Court at the Student Memorial Center, 21 S. George St., Millersville. Coffee and conversation will be offered from 6:30 to 7 a.m., and the meal and program will run from 7 to 9 a.m.

For more than 30 years, the MLK Breakfast has aimed to bring members of the community together in a time to reflect and commit to being agents of change and to remember the life and legacy of its namesake.

This year's theme, "Why We Can't Wait: Achieving Economic Equity," will be championed through Bryant's address. Bryant is the founder of Operation Hope, a nonprofit financial inclusion organization, and he was previously named one of Time magazine's "50 Leaders for the Future." He is an entrepreneur, an author, and a philanthropist.

"The 2019 MLK Breakfast Committee, chaired by Phil Wenger of Fulton Bank and composed of local businesspeople, nonprofit partners, and community volunteers, felt that John Hope Bryant's passion for achieving economic equity would be impactful for the 31st annual breakfast," said Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County chief development officer Kristy Aurand. Crispus Attucks is a program of CAP, and it strives to be a leader in efforts to ensure equity for all people who call Lancaster home, Aurand said.

"As we honor and celebrate the great achievements of Dr. King, we recognize our responsibility to live his legacy," Aurand continued. "We are looking forward to (hearing) a message (from Bryant) that encourages urgency in eliminating barriers to economic equity in our community, along with guiding principles on creating systems change. We hope attendees will walk away enthusiastic about continuing this important conversation and ready to roll up their sleeves and work with us toward advancing economic equity."

There is a cost to attend the MLK Breakfast, and reservations are required. Folks may purchase tickets by calling 717-394-6604, ext. 125, or searching for the event at www.eventbrite.com.

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Racing For Environmental Protection January 3, 2019

The Lancaster Group of the Sierra Club will hold its ninth annual Polar Bear 5K Trail Run/Hike at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, in scenic Lancaster County Central Park. The 3.1-mile event is canine-friendly, and participants may bring their leashed dogs to run or walk with them. Approximately 210 runners and walkers registered for the race last January, and 45 well-behaved dogs either ran or walked with their owners. Scores of volunteers also were on hand to oversee the event.

Unique prizes and colorful ribbons will be awarded to the overall top three male and female finishers; the first-, second-, and third-place winners in gender and age categories ranging from under 9 to 80 and over; and the first three finishers in any age group who race with their dogs. There will also be door prizes and dog prizes.

The race will follow the same route as it did during the 2018 event, winding through the park on well-maintained trails with some hills. Participants and spectators may park at 826 Eshleman Mill Road, Lancaster, and ride the shuttle to the Kiwanis Lodge/Pavilion 22, where race-day registration and check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. New this year, anyone who has preregistered may pick up their race packets on Friday, Jan. 18, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods in the Shoppes at Belmont on Fruitville Pike in Lancaster.

There is a cost to register for the Polar Bear 5K Trail Run/Hike. All money raised by this event, which is the Lancaster Group's major fundraiser, will support local efforts to end global warming, which is considered a reason that polar bears and other creatures are at risk of extinction. Funds raised in the 2019 race will help finance the group's popular "green project" grant program, which has awarded grants of up to $500 to 29 Lancaster County organizations over the past three years. The money also will help support the group's free outdoor activities and educational programs that are designed to help people better appreciate, protect, and preserve the environment.

The Sierra Club is a national organization with each state having its own chapter. The Lancaster Group, one of 10 groups that make up the Pennsylvania chapter, has approximately 1,500 members.

For registration forms and more information, readers may visit http://lancastersierraclub.org/home/polar-bear-5k-run-hike-or-walk-your-dog/ or www.lancastersierraclub.org, email sierraclubevent@gmail.com, or find the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sierraclublancaster. Online registration will close on Wednesday, Jan. 16, after which participants must wait to register at the event.

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Public Reservoir Access Completes Season January 2, 2019

The Chester Water Authority (CWA) has completed another season of providing the public with access to the Octoraro Reservoir, a popular destination for fishing, bird watching, kayaking, boating, and other water activities. The Octoraro Reservoir and the surrounding property that is owned by the Chester Water Authority encompasses approximately 620 acres, including 10 miles of shoreline.

Members of the public may visit the Chester Water Authority's fishing headquarters, 212 Spruce Grove Road, Kirkwood, to rent electric motor and row boats, kayaks, and canoes. A bait shop is located on the site. The CWA also maintains a boat launch for public access to the reservoir at the fishing headquarters. The boat launch is open to the public annually from April 1 through Oct. 31.

A wide range of individuals utilize the reservoir and the adjacent land owned by the CWA for a number of outdoor activities, including using the boat launch with their personal watercraft (electric motors only). A number of area organizations also avail themselves of the serene environment. In the past year those organizations have included the Boy and Girl Scouts, Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers, Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, Black Rock Retreat, Camp Oak Hill, Octoraro Watershed Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Audubon Bird Watchers, and others.

The reservoir has also been home to a number of fishing tournaments during the course of the year and was able to provide two Fish for Free days in 2018 on Memorial Day and on the Fourth of July. CWA also hosted the annual Armed Forces Day Event featuring Heroes on the Water and Warriors on the Water. A total of more than 125 active-duty military members, Reserve members, and military veterans, along with first responders and their families, enjoyed a day on the reservoir.

The reservoir has developed a reputation as a good place to catch bass. It is also home to yellow and white perch, white crappie, walleye, perch, catfish, and many varieties of sunfish. In addition, the Octoraro Reservoir is popular location for birdwatching and has been designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

The Octoraro Reservoir is a natural resource that not only provides active and passive recreational opportunities for residents in the region, but also serves as a source of water to the Chester Water Authority's more than 43,500 customers after it is treated and sanitized at the nearby Octorara Water Treatment Plant.

To learn more about Chester Water Authority, readers may visit www.chesterwater.com.

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Bake Sale Helps To Bring Christmas To Christ's Home December 31, 2018

It began with a conversation about foster care, and it blossomed into a church bake sale that raised more than $1,000 to help provide presents for Christ's Home in Paradise. Zephaniah Doutrich, age 8, son of Eric and Nykiah Doutrich of Bowmansville, spearheaded the effort.

On Nov. 4, Zephaniah and his family brought a large number of baked goods with them to church at Bethany Grace Fellowship, 400 Reading Road, East Earl, ready to sell them to attendees by donation to raise funds for Christ's Home for Christmas presents. The sale raised $1,033, which was combined with receipts from another fundraiser for a total of $1,056.

Zephaniah's first efforts to raise funds for children in foster care began in mid-summer after his parents told him and his siblings that they were interested in fostering children. "When we got into the foster care journey, our children wanted to know where (foster children) come from," explained Nykiah. "We sat down briefly and told them some children come from homes where parents don't have the resources to take care of them, and that's what sparked him."

Zephaniah's concern for children in foster care quickly moved him to action. "One Saturday, he was out with his little sister, and he set up a table for a yard sale (because) he wanted to sell his toys," said Nykiah. "He came in, and he said that he prayed for God to send people to buy his toys, but no one came." Nykiah turned the occurrence into a teaching moment by explaining how to advertise a yard sale, but she was curious. "I said, 'Oh, sweetie, why are you selling your toys?'" Zephaniah responded, "I want to buy toys for other children."

From there, the family decided to search for area organizations that support children in need. Nykiah explained that it was important to Zephaniah to make contact with the home. "He wanted to physically buy the toys and go in there and drop them off," she said "Christ's Home in Paradise was one of the few homes that would allow us to do that."

In late August, the family held a special Honk for Foster Care at their home. "People honked and received fresh lemonade by donation," said Nykiah. The event raised $23 and spurred Zephaniah forward toward organizing the bake sale.

In the fall, Zephaniah approached Bethany Grace pastor Adam Nagle. "I told him I wanted to do a bake sale," said Zephaniah. Nagle responded positively to the idea. "I love encouraging (children) to dream of the difference they can make," said Nagle. "I'll serve and stand with any (child) whose heart is captured by a cause and (who has) a plan to do something about it. I was thrilled to help him make this happen." Nagle explained that Nov. 4 was chosen to hold the bake sale because it was National Orphan Sunday, which aims to draw attention to foster care and adoption concerns. On that day, Zephaniah joined Nagle at the front of the church to announce the fundraiser.

The Doutrich family came to the church that day with loads of baked goods for attendees to purchase by donation. "My mom helped me bake some cookies, pumpkin bread, brownies, and gluten-free cookies," said Zephaniah. Nykiah reported that the family prepared 30 loaves of pumpkin bread, three batches of brownies, and about 250 cookies, including monster cookies. Zephaniah explained that monster cookies have colored chocolate candies in them. All the items the family planned to sell had sold out by the end of the second service.

A representative of Christ's Home provided the family with a list of needs for the children and the cottages. "They have nine children there ages 6 to 20," said Nykiah, who added that the toys were purchased and taken to Christ's Home by Dec. 10. "We thought (that this effort) was something small and that we were just being obedient to the Lord, but it just really took off," said Nykiah of the response to the fundraiser and opportunity to purchase the gifts. "We are super happy about it."

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DAR Chapter Places Wreaths At Cemetery December 27, 2018

On Dec. 14, 2018, the Harrisburg Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) placed 230 name-specific wreaths at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery to honor those who have served. These special placements were laid by volunteers, and a picture of each headstone with the wreath was taken to be sent to the relatives who had ordered the placement.

Again on Dec. 15, members of the Harrisburg Chapter of the DAR, along with other DAR members from around the state, attended the memorial ceremony and assisted with laying the thousands of wreaths still to be placed. The Harrisburg Chapter contributed more than 700 wreaths. Through this effort and the efforts of many other organizations and individuals, every grave at the Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery had a wreath during the holiday season.

For more information, readers may contact Jennifer Stratton at jennifer.m.stratton@outlook.com or visit www.harrisburgdar.org.

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Holiday Card Features Student Artwork December 27, 2018

The artwork of Solanco High School 12th-grader Tyler Allen was featured on the Solanco School District 2018 Christmas card. Tyler participated in the annual art competition among high school students to design the district's Christmas card. The title of his work is "Reunion."

At the Dec. 17 Solanco school board meeting, Solanco High School art teacher Candace Rakers presented Tyler to school board members and administrators. Superintendent Dr. Brian Bliss presented Tyler with a framed "first card out of the box." The Solanco Christmas card with Tyler's artwork was sent to every Solanco School District employee, school district superintendents in Lancaster and Lebanon counties, and businesses, organizations, and community members that work with and support Solanco throughout the year. The message inside read "Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a joyful holiday season."

Tyler is a member of the National Art Honor Society and has been the recipient of numerous awards for his work in the visual arts. This past summer, Tyler received a full scholarship to attend the Summer Intensive program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. His rendering of the Robert Fulton Birthplace is featured in the 2019 Southern Lancaster County Historical Society calendar. His work has been exhibited at the Lancaster Museum of Art, the Demuth Museum, and Millersville University, with an expected exhibition in New York City in the spring.

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Christmas Lunch Held December 27, 2018

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BSEL Hosts Party With Santa December 26, 2018

On Dec. 4, Brandywine School of Early Learning (BSEL) hosted its second annual PJ Party With Santa from 5 to 7 p.m. to benefit the Scott Elliott Scholarship Fund. The school invited families to celebrate the holiday season with Santa.

Students gathered to celebrate by writing letters, making crafts, reading stories and meeting with Santa.

The school raised more than $400 for the Scott Elliott Scholarship Fund. Elliott was a member of the BSEL community who lost his battle with cancer on July 16, 2017. He was the husband of Hillary Heebner-Elliott and the father of Trevor and Piper Heebner-Elliott.

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Fire Company Escorts Santa December 26, 2018

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American Legion Post Hosts Christmas Party December 26, 2018

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Boy Scouts Place Wreaths December 26, 2018

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Christmas Tree Recycling Set December 24, 2018

York County Solid Waste Authority (YCSWA) is conducting a free Christmas tree recycling program for all York County residents. The program will run through Thursday, Jan. 31. Residents may bring their trees to the parking lot located directly across the street from the Resource Recovery Center, 2700 Blackbridge Road, York.

In addition to YCSWA's collection site, two businesses will accept Christmas trees. They are Spring Valley Mulch in Dover, which may be reached at 717-292-3476, and H & H General Excavating in Spring Grove, which may be contacted at 717-225-4669. Readers should call these locations for hours and directions.

There is no fee to residents for this program, but residents must remove ornaments, tinsel, lights, and protective bags from their tree. Many municipalities will also offer curbside Christmas tree collection for their residents. Residents are encouraged to call their municipal office to see if the municipality offers a curbside collection program.

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First Day Hikes Planned Locally December 18, 2018

As part of an effort to promote fitness and encourage people to explore the outdoors, First Day Hikes will be offered nationwide on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. People of all ages are welcome to start the new year off on the right foot by taking part in a First Day Hike.

Locally, a First Day Hike will be held at Marsh Creek Lake, 675 Park Road, Downingtown, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. During the guided hike, participants will learn about the history of the park. The hike will start at the butterfly garden, located on the west side of Marsh Creek. For more information or to register, readers may call 610-458-5119.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) volunteer Clyde Godschall will lead a First Day Hike at French Creek State Park, Marsh Creek's sister park. The group will meet at the west boat launch of Hopewell Lake, 785 Park Road, Elverson, at 11 a.m. for a 2-mile hike around the lake and through Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.

"It's a great opportunity to get people outdoors and breathe some fresh air with other folks," said Brent Erb, assistant park manager at French Creek State Park. "It's also a great way to start the new year."

Attendees should dress for the weather and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Leashed, vaccinated pets will be welcome. The event is free, and no registration is necessary. For more information, readers may call the park office at 610-582-9680.

Warwick County Park, 191 County Park Road, Pottstown, will hold a ranger-led New Year's Day Hike from 2 to 3 p.m. Attendees will learn about the natural and cultural history of the park. For more information and to register, readers may call 610-469-1916.

Additionally, Springton Manor Farm, 860 Springton Road, Glenmoore, will host "New Year's on the Farm" from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Attendees can enjoy hot chocolate around the campfire and visit with the site's farm animals.

According to www.stateparks.org, the free New Year's Day hikes will be held in all 50 states, including at 30 state parks in Pennsylvania. Last year, nearly 55,000 people took part in the hikes nationwide, collectively hiking more 133,000 miles throughout the country.

Readers may visit www.events.dcnr.pa.gov for a complete list of First Day Hikes in Pennsylvania.

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Christmas Display Open Through Dec. 30 December 18, 2018

It is not too late for local residents to enjoy the Holiday Lights at Gring's Mill, including a light display, model trains and live musical entertainment. The site will be open Thursday, Dec. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 30, from 6 to 9 p.m., with special musical performances planned each day.

As part of the event, thousands of lights have been placed on the trees, on the historic buildings and throughout the Gring's Mill Recreation Area, located at 2083 Tulpehocken Road, Wyomissing, across from the Penn State Berks Campus. A parking donation per car will be requested at the park gate.

Lights will guide visitors along the walkway from the parking area to a two-story barn, where the live performances will take place in the upper level. Snacks will be available to purchase, and visitors may sit by the fireplace and enjoy the music. A separate building on the bridge, a former generating station that spans the Tulpehocken Creek, houses the Christmas train display.

On Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m., Maggie Spike, who performs regionally and throughout Berks County, will provide the featured entertainment. She will be accompanied by Peggy and Eric Gernerd in performing folk, world and Celtic music. Their special guest will be Tom Montgomery on accordion and keyboards.

Singer/songwriter Peter Errich, who has been writing, recording and performing original music since 1996, and his friend Todd Zarecki, a pianist, will be the scheduled performers on Friday, Dec. 28, at 6:30 p.m. Errich and Zarecki, formerly of the band Shame, will perform music from Errich's albums "The Lost and Found" and "Beneath the Sun."

"Good Time Family Fun, Music and Comedy" with Ray Owen will be featured on Saturday, Dec. 29. Shows will be at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Owen is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and national recording artist who combines good time music and humor. He has toured and appeared with nationally known artists such as Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Alabama and others. He will perform selections from his Kids and Family Show repertoire.

The series will conclude on Dec. 30 with a performance by the Harrisburg Mandolin Ensemble at 6:30 p.m. The ensemble, composed of a quintet of musicians, will perform an assortment of music ranging from Bach and bluegrass to jazz and roots tunes.

For more information or directions, readers may call 610-374-2944, visit www.countyofberks.com/parks or search for "Berks County Parks and Recreation Department" on Facebook.

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First Day Hikes Planned Locally December 18, 2018

As part of an effort to promote fitness and encourage people to explore the outdoors, First Day Hikes will be offered nationwide on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. People of all ages are welcome to start the new year off on the right foot by taking part in a First Day Hike.

Locally, a First Day Hike With Your Pet will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Antietam Lake Park, 230 Angora Road, Reading. The hike, sponsored by the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department, will be about two hours long, with some hills. Dogs are welcome, but they must be on a leash and good with other dogs. Attendees should dress for the weather. For more information and to register, readers may call 610-374-2941, ext. 2611.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) volunteer Clyde Godschall, who is also a hike leader for the Elverson Walking Club and the Berks Community Strollers, will lead a First Day Hike at French Creek State Park. The group will meet at the west boat launch of Hopewell Lake, 785 Park Road, Elverson, at 11 a.m. for a 2-mile hike around the lake and through Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.

"It's a great opportunity to get people outdoors and breathe some fresh air with other folks," said Brent Erb, assistant park manager at French Creek State Park. "It's also a great way to start the new year."

According to Godschall, EWC has been taking part in a First Day Hike for more than 10 years. Members of the Berks Strollers also join in the hike, as well as residents from surrounding communities.

Attendees should dress for the weather and wear sturdy hiking shoes. Leashed, vaccinated pets will be welcome. The event is free, and no registration is necessary. For more information, readers may call the park office at 610-582-9680.

Warwick County Park, 191 County Park Road, Pottstown, will hold a ranger-led New Year's Day Hike from 2 to 3 p.m. Attendees will learn about the natural and cultural history of the park. For more information and to register, readers may call 610-469-1916.

A First Day Hike will be held at Marsh Creek Lake, 675 Park Road, Downingtown, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. During the guided hike, participants will learn about the history of the park. The hike will start at the butterfly garden, located on the west side of Marsh Creek. For more information or to register, readers may call 610-458-5119.

Nolde Forest Environmental Center, 2910 New Holland Road, Reading, will host several First Day Hike events beginning at 1 p.m. Attendees may join the hike of their choice.

A Family Hike for people of all ages and skill levels will cover approximately 1 mile and last about 45 minutes. There will also be a Hike to Rock Outcrop walk that will last one and a half hours and cover approximately 2.5 miles. It will include steep hills. There will also be a separate dog walk group. Dogs must be on leashes. The one-hour hike will cover approximately 2 miles and have some hills.

All walks at Nolde Forest will begin at McConnell Hall. No registration is required. For more information, readers may visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/noldeforest.

Additionally, Springton Manor Farm, 860 Springton Road, Glenmoore, will host "New Year's on the Farm" from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Attendees can enjoy hot chocolate around the campfire and visit with the site's farm animals.

According to www.stateparks.org, the free New Year's Day hikes will be held in all 50 states, including at 30 state parks in Pennsylvania. Last year, nearly 55,000 people took part in the hikes nationwide, collectively hiking more 133,000 miles throughout the country.

Readers may visit www.events.dcnr.pa.gov for a complete list of First Day Hikes in Pennsylvania.

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Ringing In The New Year With Father Time December 18, 2018

Music, mascots, crafts, games, and a cascade of balloons are just a few of the fun things planned for New Year's Eve at Noon at the National Watch and Clock Museum, 514 Poplar St., Columbia. Children and families are invited to ring in 2019 - just a dozen hours early - with Father Time at the fourth annual celebration, set to take place at the museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31.

"This is a fun event geared toward kids and their families," said Abby Krouse, museum admissions and store manager. "There are lots of activities, and everyone always enjoys the countdown and balloon drop at 12 o'clock, which for our event is noon (instead of midnight)."

Joining in the festivities will be local mascots, including Father Time, who will lead a dance party together with disc jockey Stevie.

Children will have the opportunity to make and wear hats crafted out of recycled materials, and a photo booth will be set up for modeling those creations. Columbia Public Library director Lisa Greybill will lead a story time. Additional activities will include a New Year's trivia game, face painting, and family challenges while racing against the clock. Attendees will also be able to create time capsules to remember 2018, jot down resolutions for 2019 to post on a resolution wall, decorate cookies, and more.

The main attraction is the countdown to noon, when about 800 balloons will be dropped from the ceiling of the museum lobby following a rowdy countdown led by Father Time.

Attendees may also explore the museum and its regular exhibits, which include interactive displays.

Advance registration is not necessary. All activities will be included with the cost of general museum admission, which features separate prices for adults, senior citizens, and children ages 5 to 16. Museum admission is free for children age 4 and under. Family rates are also available.

Last year's celebration drew approximately 300 attendees. "Everyone has a great time - they love the music and the games. It's one big party, and what they love most is that it's just for kids," said Krouse. "We do have families come back every year for all of our activities and mostly the balloon drop."

"It's a great opportunity for families to be together and have fun and celebrate the new year coming in," Krouse continued.

For more information, readers may call the museum at 717-684-8261, ext. 211, or visit www.museumoftime.org.

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Spiced Yogurt Muffins December 17, 2018

Make-ahead muffins can be a quick breakfast that is perfect for mornings at home. This recipe for Spiced Yogurt Muffins, courtesy of the National Dairy Council, Dannon, and McCormick, can be made in advance and doled out as needed throughout the week. The muffins also can be made as a treat for office luncheons and may be cut in half for smaller yields.

Spiced Yogurt Muffins (Yield: 50 servings)

6 1/2 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt

4 cups water, room temperature

1 box (5 lbs) Gold Medal Muffin Mix, whole grain variety

3 tablespoons McCormick pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons McCormick chipotle cinnamon

Directions:

1 - Combine yogurt and water in mixing bowl. Whisk until blended. Set aside.

2 - Add spices to dry muffin mix in a large bowl. Add yogurt and water mixture to the muffin mixture. Mix until just blended. Do not overmix.

3 - Using a scoop, portion into greased or lined muffin pans. Bake at 350 F for 24 minutes (or 17 to 20 minutes in a convection oven), until the tops are golden brown.

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