Forging a Path

Anastasia Joy* calls it the skeleton in her closet.

“I didn’t tell anyone about that part of my life until the FBI got involved,” said the 25-year-old Harrisburg-area resident. Continue reading Forging a Path

Style and Substance

The day that her husband pushed her into a wall was the day that Cherie Faus-Smith left.

“It was a feeling of shock and fear,” she said. “The back of my head hit the wall, and two things ran through my mind—my son was in the house, and I was afraid of what Phil* might do next.”

Overall, one in three women experience severe physical violence by a partner. Last year, 122 people died as a result of domestic violence in Pennsylvania. Continue reading Style and Substance

Electrifying Art

Amie Bantz is constantly doodling.

“I never thought it would take off, but it’s evolved into my style,” said the 25-year old Carlisle High School art teacher.

Her latest doodles combine iconic images of Carlisle into a playful landscape across an unlikely canvas—one of the town’s electrical boxes. Continue reading Electrifying Art

Bull’s-Eye in a Bottle

Tina Weyant has a distinct childhood memory—helping her grandfather, a distiller in Germany, put labels on bottles.

Her grandparents lived on a property encompassing an old monastery with a cellar under the church. It was surrounded by vineyards.

Today, Weyant, 57, has come full circle. For the first time since childhood, she again is surrounded by vineyards. She and husband Jeff own Cumberland County’s first vineyard winery, the Winery at Long Shot Farm. Continue reading Bull’s-Eye in a Bottle

Sign of the Salamander

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know the Eastern hellbender is now our official state amphibian.

It’s the largest salamander in North America and actually does live under rocks. Although it’s not endangered, its population is declining. So why should people care about a big nocturnal salamander, also nicknamed the devil dog, the mud devil and, my personal favorite, the snot otter? Continue reading Sign of the Salamander

Fit Takes Flight

June 22, according to Ashley Mentzer, will be “the best fitness day ever.”

Except, when she says it, it sounds like “ev-aaahhh.”

Mentzer, organizer of the 2nd Annual Thrive Fit Fest, said that fitness should be approachable and fun. She pointed to a publicity photo.

“This is what fitness looks like—all different shapes and sizes and body types,” she said. “We’re real people.” Continue reading Fit Takes Flight

Taste of History

Gettysburg reminds Lori Korczyk of Epcot.

Just like the Disney park’s microcosm of world cultures, Gettysburg’s downtown streets are dotted with eclectic and ethnic restaurants, from Thai to Mexican, Italian to Irish, plus plenty of American eateries that blend cuisines—like melting pots—with culture and history.

Korczyk saw an opportunity to establish Savor Gettysburg Food Tours (SGFT) six years ago, to appeal to foodies and history lovers alike. Continue reading Taste of History

Changing the Game

Loretta Claiborne didn’t walk or talk until the age of 4.

Born partially blind with intellectual disabilities in 1953, Claiborne was one of seven children raised in York by a single mother. Public school brought bullying, name-calling, anger and fighting.

The odds were against her. Sports, however, transformed her life. Continue reading Changing the Game

Let Them Eat Little Cakes

Nicole Baer’s home-based cupcake business was so popular that her kitchen wall oven was on nearly all day, every day, and she still couldn’t bake enough cupcakes to fill orders.

That all changed when she opened Ann’s Cupcakery on Mechanicsburg’s Main Street last fall.
Continue reading Let Them Eat Little Cakes

Fight for Your Might

When Rob Whitaker of Camp Hill began taking classes at Harrisburg’s Thrive Fit Co., he couldn’t physically complete a class.

“I was not fit at all,” said the 34-year old financial planner. “But when you come from a non-fitness background like I did, you want to be surrounded by positive people.” Continue reading Fight for Your Might

Marathon Made

Trailblazing runner Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to compete in the Boston Marathon, once said, “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

Harrisburg-area residents can do exactly that this month when the 44th Annual Harrisburg Marathon winds through the city. Continue reading Marathon Made

Angels Among Us

Mickey Minnich wears a silver bracelet inscribed with the phrase, “One day at a time.”

It’s a reminder, he said, to stay focused on the moment, helping one family at a time as they face cancer. Over the past 15 years, his organization, Vickie’s Angel Foundation (VAF), has raised more than $2.6 million, helping more than 1,500 families throughout a nine-county area of central Pennsylvania. Continue reading Angels Among Us

Glorious Feeling

“Why does September seem sunny as spring?” asks one version of the classic Hollywood song, “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Stosh Snyder, whose favorite musical of all time is “Singin’ in the Rain,” likely has the answer. Continue reading Glorious Feeling

A Loss, A Purpose

Lesa and Brennan Brackbill of Hershey have endured something no parents should—the death of a child.

Now they’re determined to create a lasting legacy by advocating for changes to Pennsylvania’s newborn screening laws that could have prevented their daughter’s death. Continue reading A Loss, A Purpose

All Afloat

Kelly Martin was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis more than 25 years ago.

So, when the 53-year-old Middletown woman heard about floatation therapy from a co-worker—and found a discount for Camp Hill’s Dissolve Float Spa on Groupon—she decided she had nothing to lose. Continue reading All Afloat

Through It All

Each spring, about 3,000 people set off on the journey of a lifetime.

That’s how many attempt to “thru-hike” the entire 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, about 750 people—one in four—succeed. Continue reading Through It All

Gaining Momentum

Tracey Wakeen says that everything she does revolves around her mission statement, written in marker at the top of her office’s dry erase board: “Unlocking true potential by strengthening all women in body, mind and spirit.” Continue reading Gaining Momentum

Sweet Break

Brittle Bark could quite possibly be the happiest place in all of central Pennsylvania—especially during the holiday season. Tucked into a tall corner storefront along Main Street in Mechanicsburg with a brightly decorated seasonal front window, the chocolate and candy shop has earned a sweet reputation over the past 10 years. Continue reading Sweet Break

Home Safely

As primary caregiver for her father—diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease—Stephanie Weimer always knew his whereabouts thanks to a tracking device on his cell phone. About two years ago, he drove himself to a routine doctor’s appointment and became disoriented while driving home. “He was lost, and the tracking device didn’t work because his cell phone had gone dead,” Weimer said. Continue reading Home Safely

Medical Journey

People often talk about “finding their calling in life.” Dr. Domingo Alvear’s began in his native Philippines, inspired by a country-doctor uncle who let his nephew tag along as he made house calls in a bouncing Jeep. Six decades later, Alvear is retiring after both a long career as a pediatric surgeon in Harrisburg and as a founder of the nonprofit World Surgical Foundation (WSF). Continue reading Medical Journey

Born to Run

Fred Joslyn ran on his wedding day. And on the days his three children were born. Joslyn, in fact, runs every day. No exceptions. If there’s a face of Harrisburg’s running community, Joslyn’s is it. Continue reading Born to Run