Every dog has his day. But not every dog has his own Twitter account with nearly 20,000 followers. Continue reading Lucky Levi: How a chained, rescued dog became “the official dog of Pennsylvania”
It’s where LeAnn Martinez goes to find “a moment of sanity.” Dauphin County’s Memorial Lake State Park is where she connects to nature.
Amid a worldwide pandemic, she’s not alone. Pennsylvania, with one of the largest state park systems in the country, shattered recreation records in 2020. Continue reading It’s All Uphill: State park benchmarks go wild amid pandemic.
There’s never been a better time to get lost in a book.
“An ironic positive side effect of the pandemic is that people are falling back in love with reading,” said Alex Brubaker, manager of Harrisburg’s Midtown Scholar Bookstore. Continue reading Pandemic Plot Twists
Stacy Schroeder was lying in bed one night, unable to sleep because of all the home organizational projects on her mind.
That’s when she had a lightbulb moment. Continue reading Home Sweet (Organized) Home
Usage of the Capital Area Greenbelt has soared upwards of 400% since the pandemic.
“It may sound crazy, but it’s a believable number,” said Dick Norford, spokesperson for the Capital Area Greenbelt Association (CAGA).
That means that as many as 2 to 4 million people hit the Greenbelt in 2020 to ease their cabin fever, get outside and work out their pandemic stress by walking, running, biking or even rollerblading.
And colder temperatures don’t have to put the brakes on healthy habits. Continue reading Snowball Effect
For nearly 30 years, Marian Elby has been a regular visitor at central Pennsylvania prisons.
“People need someone,” said Elby, 77. “Ever since I was little, I had a heart for those who didn’t have.” Continue reading Being a Spark
Thirty armed militia members started walking down a hill, across the Gettysburg Battlefield, toward him.
It was the 4th of July, and it was the first time all day that Scott Hancock felt his heart beating out of his chest. Continue reading Monumental Issues
Hometown pride is something that touches your soul.
That’s what Donovan (“Dono”) Krebs felt when he met longtime Hummelstown resident Mike VanGavree. And that’s why he accepted VanGavree’s offer to become head brewer at Rubber Soul Brewing Co. Continue reading Hometown Soul
All records were shattered by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s recent donation campaign. Continue reading “Epic” Campaign Helps Central PA Food Bank Prep for Thanksgiving
Nov. 4, the day after the presidential election, could be the most divisive day in modern U.S. history.
That’s according to a nonprofit organization called “Braver Angels.” But they’re flying in the face of adversity. Continue reading On the Side of the Angels
Chris Lauer decided to walk across the country.
The Minnesota native set off with not much more than a backpack and camping gear, bound for Philadelphia. But about 1,000 miles down the road, his four-month journey hit a snag on Route 30, in south-central Pennsylvania.
“I fell in love with Gettysburg and stayed,” Lauer said.
The financial picture is a little rosier today for capital region arts organizations.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced $20 million in grant funding Tuesday for the state’s cultural and arts institutions, including a combined $308,978 headed to eight Dauphin County organizations. Continue reading Arts Aid
If Dauphin County were a city, it would be in the top 30, nationwide, for breweries per capita.
Based on population, and with more breweries set to open, it would take the next round of national beer statistics by storm. Nearby, Lancaster is already in the top 25.
Jason Meckes did his homework when he helped design Visit Hershey & Harrisburg’s (VHH) new Brew Barons Beer Trail, which launched in mid-July. Continue reading Banking on Beer
Only in 2020 could “Restaurant Week” involve a month-long celebration of takeout.
Tuesday kicks off “Harrisburg Takeout Month,” organized by the nonprofit Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District (DID). It replaces Harrisburg Restaurant Week, in its 12th year in the capital city. Continue reading Takeout Turnabout
Norris Flowers was 12 years old when he launched his life-long career in the tourism industry.
Fifty-five years later, he’s seen a lot—but never anything like the pandemic crisis of 2020. Continue reading Vacation, Staycation
Lucas Brownback is sitting on a cash crop.
“We’ve been preparing and hoping for a year like this—we just wish it wasn’t under these circumstances,” said Brownback, a second-generation farmer who co-owns and operates Perry County’s 300-acre Spiral Path Farm with his brother, Will. Continue reading Agriculture Restructure: Farmers shift gears amid the pandemic
Rick Hill thought he’d be playing golf every day, enjoying retirement.
“I was incredibly bored, and my wife said, ‘You might as well get another job,’” said Hill. “The stars aligned… I was introduced to Goodwill and its mission, and at that point I knew I didn’t want to do anything else but work for Goodwill the rest of my life.” Continue reading Goodwill to All
One of Harrisburg’s longest-running summertime traditions, the Harrisburg Mile, will go on in 2020 despite the pandemic.
“We’re trying to provide a summertime event that feels like the joy that the Harrisburg Mile usually brings to the city,” said Rosie Turner, the YMCA’s director of marketing and communications. Continue reading Harrisburg Mile Gets the Green Light
A body in motion tends to stay in motion.
Sound familiar? It’s part of Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion.
Physics aside, it’s also a credo many runners live by. Continue reading Run On: Amid pandemic, many find therapy on the run.
Breweries in the ‘Burg offer an experience.
That’s the premise behind the Brew Barons Beer Trail, launched today by Dauphin County’s tourism bureau, Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH). Continue reading Brew Barons Beer Trail Launched
Janice Black was in a unique position to recognize the scope of the COVID-19 crisis—and to do something about it.
The 25-year president and CEO of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) also has a background in healthcare and nursing. Continue reading Pandemic Pinch
“I miss the human connection—that’s why I became a teacher. Right now, going online to talk with them is the highlight of my day,” said Tricia Donley, a high school English teacher.
That ability to adjust—even though it’s difficult—is one of the keys to our collective mental health through the pandemic, according to experts. Continue reading An Experience in Resilience
Cereal, peanut butter, pasta, sauce and other essential household staples are inside the brown cardboard emergency food boxes.
But it’s innovative “outside-the-box” thinking and “extremely generous” acts of charity that are powering and placing the ingredients inside. Continue reading Hunger Pains
Fractures and breakdowns in the global supply chain—a pandemic-laced crisis—may actually present opportunities for south central Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector. Continue reading Chain Reaction
By the time you’re reading this, the Pennsylvania Distillers Guild will have produced some 2.4 million 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer, predicts Rob Cassell.
“To me, I feel like what you’re seeing happen between public-private partnerships and businesses converting to creative solutions is like what our grandparents talked about happening during World War II,” said Cassell, guild president and master distiller at North Philadelphia’s New Liberty Distillery. Continue reading Kindred Spirits
In the midst of today’s COVID-19 pandemic, record unemployment figures, and economic uncertainties, are there comparisons to the Depression era? Continue reading Depression Reflections
The face of a little boy is captured in Kathy Anderson-Martin’s memory. His eyes followed her, as she put milk on the table—the table holding grocery items his family was about to receive—and he started licking his lips. Continue reading Satisfying the Hunger
“Public enemy number one” is how Shannon Powers refers to the spotted lanternfly.
Powers, press secretary for Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture, said the invading insect is an $18 billion threat to the state’s economy—specifically products and jobs related to the grape, apple, hops and hardwood industries.
And April is when the spotted lanternfly hatches. Continue reading Unwelcome in Our Woods
“People appreciate seeing partnerships,” said Wade Leedy, co-owner of Fourscore Beer Co., Gettysburg, along with his brother Drew.
Indeed partnerships are hopping at three of central Pennsylvania’s newer hot spots for beers and cheers: Fourscore, plus Liquid Noise Brewing Co., Marysville, and Hook & Flask Still Works, Carlisle. Continue reading Three Cheers, Beers
Dan Healy is anxiously awaiting a shipment of hydrogen peroxide. It was due to arrive at Harrisburg’s Midstate Distillery sometime today.
You read that right. Hydrogen peroxide isn’t something the head distiller and co-owner normally orders. But then again, he’s normally producing whiskey, vodka, rum or gin. For about a week, he’s switched to production of hand sanitizer instead. Continue reading Community Spirits
Every Saturday morning for the past 30 years, Marjorie Lebo has organized Harrisburg-area runners and routes. This past Saturday was no exception.
And she suggested a route familiar to many Harrisburg-area runners: the Capital 10-Miler route, paying tribute to one of Harrisburg’s two major March races recently canceled due to coronavirus concerns. Continue reading The Run Goes On
Gwen Loose was hiking with a friend on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) when a question crossed her mind.
While Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery are considered the founders and fathers of the A.T., “Who was holding down the fort at conference headquarters?” she wondered. Continue reading Trailblazers
When Tina Weyant began her position as founding executive director of the World Trade Center (WTC) Harrisburg nearly 30 years ago, there was no internet. Continue reading Window to the World
It’s possibly the most-listened-to podcast produced in the Harrisburg area.
“When we first started, we didn’t know how it would be received,” said Angie Spencer. “We figured there would be an appetite, but we’ve been blown away.” Continue reading Run Hear
Michael Doub describes it as a hunger.
He has a need to know more. He wants to know the truth about a single, vital subject—the history of slavery in the United States. Continue reading Michael’s Mission
David W. Blight wrote his first book about Frederick Douglass 30 years ago and never dreamed there would be another—let alone a full biography. However, “some lives are, in a way, made for biography,” Blight said during a recent interview. Continue reading A Voice for the Ages
Eight-year old Alexi is hiding in a closet with his younger brother.
It’s a game they often play called “invisibility cloak” because, as Alexi says, “Being invisible is the best superpower.”
But the real story is that their mother locked them in the closet for their own safety. Ultimately, domestic violence drove them into homelessness. Continue reading I’ll Be Your Voice
The roof leaked all the way to the basement when Nam Doan purchased the property on Reily Street in Harrisburg.
“It was a wreck,” Doan, 38, said.
After six months of intense work, he transformed the century-old property into Midtown’s newest restaurant, the Red Boat. Continue reading All Aboard the Red Boat
It’s not every day that your teenager texts you uplifting messages like, “I’m extremely proud of you,” and “You’re a hell of a human,” and “Love you, Dad.”
Those texts “were like fuel,” said Mike McCauley, which inspired his run throughout the first weekend of November. And it was the run of a lifetime by the 55-year-old Mechanicsburg dad, a run dedicated to his 17-year-old son Lachlan. Continue reading Son Run
Ben* became homeless when his Carlisle landlord kicked the family out of their rental home. As a result, the family of seven—Ben, his wife and their five children—lived out of their minivan for six months. Continue reading When a Car Becomes a Home
Sue Pera lives by the motto, “Strong women drink strong coffee.” Continue reading Silver Cup
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
The day that her husband pushed her into a wall was the day that Cherie Faus-Smith left. Continue reading Style and Substance
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. Continue reading Electrifying Art
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. Continue reading Bull’s-Eye in a Bottle
Sandra Spicer-Sharp said it was one of her proudest moments as a mom.
Her son’s artwork, created on parachute cloth, was laid out on the grass…ready to be installed as part of the Harrisburg Mural Festival. Continue reading Meet the Artist: Brandon Spicer-Crawley
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know the Eastern hellbender is now our official state amphibian. Continue reading Sign of the Salamander
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. Continue reading Fit Takes Flight
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. Continue reading Taste of History
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
John Naylor started an Instagram account to document all the plastic he was pulling out of the Susquehanna River and into his canoe. Continue reading Spring Cleaning
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
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
A white dog, dripping blood, came into the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area as a cruelty case.
Living in a backyard, he got loose just before his scheduled surrender to the society. While on the run, he was shot in the face. Coincidentally, his name was Bullet. Continue reading Have Yourself a Monster Little Christmas
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
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
When the West Shore Theatre’s marquee went dark, one thing was for sure. It wasn’t going to stay dark for long.
The community rallied, making it known that they wanted the show to go on at this New Cumberland landmark. Continue reading The Show that Never Ends
“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
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
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
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
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
Their friendship got off to a “rocky start.”
A mutual friend introduced Travis Haines to Kyle Stapp, an experienced rock climber, about five years ago. Continue reading On the Rocks
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
Domingo Mancuello says people constantly call him an “old soul”—and he’s the first to admit that they’re right. The pianist’s specialty—ragtime and popular music from the 1890s to 1940s—puts Mancuello’s “old soul” directly in the spotlight. Continue reading The Old Soul Ragtime Show
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
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
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