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The Mt. Gretna Newsletter

Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."       Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)

No. 144                                                                                                          November 1, 2013

In stark simplicity, a message that whispers 

    The last falling leaves of November open a new chapter in Mt. Gretna life. It is not so much that we have lost summer, or that the beauty of fall has faded, or that the first hints of winter have begun to settle in.

   Rather, a door swings wide in November, opening onto something new to appreciate.

   Small towns may have the best vantage point. The approach of winter brings gifts that warm hearts and lift spirits.

   Some who live here year- round may have grown accustomed to familiar sights and sounds of people amid natural surroundings, but not inured to their presence. They add a glow that enriches the shortening days. All have become central to our world, a sturdy, dependable reservoir that fortifies the central core of a satisfying life. Call it the bonus of small town living.

   It is a quality that many newcomers sense, almost immediately.

   On more than one occasion in past weeks, visitors have come to Mt. Gretna for their first visit. They are like startled explorers, suddenly immersed in a world they never expected to find. You see them wandering through streets in the Chautauqua and walking up lanes in the Campmeeting, emerging from a hike along the rail trail or enjoying the pleasure of meandering through open fields near the lake­. Sometimes with cameras, walking alone. Sometimes in pairs, holding hands. But always with an awakened awe, a sense that something they've missed for a long time has suddenly been rekindled. Something repressed but not forgotten, something that penetrates deeply with unyielding fervor into the soul.  They come from places like Philadelphia, or Baltimore or New York City. Busy cities that offer variety, abundant choices and diversions but rarely an oasis for reflective moments.

   Most haven't a clue that something called the Jigger Shop thrives in the summer, with long lines of people, soaking up the sheer joys of  June, July and August in Mt. Gretna. Most find the vacant Playhouse a curious oddity of an air-conditioned world. None of what we who live here would consider intrinsic to Mt. Gretna life really is on display.      

   Yet they come.  

   Drawn by something that has no commercial appeal. Neither coffee shops nor donut emporiums nor drug stores.  

   As a magnet for people in the off-season, it is something no enterprising merchant would ever dream up.  Something born with neither business plans nor profitability projections. Yet something that has always been here. Something that does not respond to the sound of constantly ringing cash registers.

   Something more closely aligned, perhaps, to the sound of a beating heart. It is now, in this increasingly silent time, that we get close to what those who came here a century ago must have felt.

    And it is in such moments that we glimpse what it is that makes Mt Gretna special, and what we want to endure.

    It speaks to those who come for the first time, and also to those of us who have made it our home.

    In the ongoing zoning deliberations, amid currents that could abolish that which protects for future generations what others cherish today, it whispers a message stark in its simplicity: That which is irreplaceable must at all costs be preserved.

   The debate will continue at a meeting of the South Londonderry Township supervisors at the fire hall in Campbelltown, Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 pm. 




Bridge repairs close one road and open another

   "When one door closes another opens," said Alexander Graham Bell. That uplifting thought may be one to keep in mind as you navigate the roadways in and around Mt. Gretna in the days ahead.

Red shows truck and thru-traffic detour route during the bridge construction project. Roads outlined in green will be open to local traffic. Blue indicates the section of Rte. 117 that will be closed from Timber Bridge to Colebrook. Work begins in January and, weather permitting, will be finished in about six weeks.  (Adapted from PennDOT map)

A part of Rte. 117 will be temporarily closed early next year, starting from a point just west of Timber Bridge to Colebrook.
    But the good news in recent days is that a tiny bridge Mt. Gretnans regularly use to visit friends and favorite restaurants near Cornwall has just re-opened.
      West of town, a 2.6-mile section of Rte. 117 (shown in blue, inset) will close for a construction project soon after the first of the year.
   That will allow contractors to repair an ancient bridge that hardly anyone notices but almost everybody uses near the site of the Mt. Gretna Authority.
   Weather permitting, the $300,000 project to replace the span should wind up in about 45 days, opening the road to motorists sometime around mid-February.
    Detour signs will direct trucks and through traffic around Routes 322 and 241 (Mt. Wilson Road). Local motorists will likely find only minimal disruptions to their usual traffic patterns.
   Rte. 117 will still be open to local traffic from Rte. 72. All other roads highlighted in green (in above map) will also be open to local traffic. Many Mt. Gretna residents headed to and from Colebrook will likely take the familiar (Butler and Mine road) path they use during Art Show weekends.
   Detour signs will be posted three weeks before the project begins to give regular travelers advance notice. Closing Rte. 117 west of Mt. Gretna, however, won't take place until Jan. 2, officials say.
   So much for the bad news. The good news is that a route that residents often use to visit former Mt. Gretnans now living in Cornwall Manor -- and a shortcut to popular restaurants like
Tony's Mining Company -- has reopened.

After over a year, the signs are down and the tiny, but vital, link to Cornwall is now open.

    Finishing touches have just been completed on the $200,000 project to replace the bridge alongside Cornwall Iron Furnace, a Pennsylvania historic site.
   That's welcome news for motorists and nearby residents, who depend on quick emergency access by  Cornwall Fire Company volunteers, just a few hundred yards away but on the other side of that bridge.

   The route had been shut for over a year, diverting all traffic, including emergency vehicles, past Cornwall Elementary School and Cornwall Borough headquarters into a four-way intersection that depends on a precarious blend of dubious timing, three stop signs and uncertain driver judgment -- a challenge that can intimidate first-time visitors.

   Now, for Mt. Gretnans, at least, an unfettered path to Cornwall has been restored.    FOR the first time that anybody can recall, Mt. Gretna has two candidates vying for election to a two-year term on borough council.
   Lois Herr, formerly a candidate for Congress who moved here in 2011, is challenging incumbent Angela Shea, who was named to fill the post formerly held by the late John Hambright.

   "Mt. Gretna was a place I always admired," Ms. Herr told a reporter. "I would like to see it stay as it is today."

   Ms. Shea is an accountant who has never run for office, the Lebanon Daily News reported.

   In neighboring West Cornwall Township, David Lloyd, a Mt. Gretna resident who heads Ephrata Area Rehab Services, Inc., is challenging incumbent supervisor Russell Gibble, an independent contractor who has held the post for more than 30 years. The candidates hold opposite views on several issues, including a Regional Comprehensive Plan the supervisors rejected earlier this year, the newspaper reported.


     SOUTH Londonderry Township supervisors will hold a special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Campbelltown Fire Hall (2818 Horseshoe Pike) to review a zoning ordinance that will shape the future of the entire township -- including Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge, Mt. Gretna neighborhoods that lie north of Rte. 117.     

   Just when the supervisors will cast their vote has not yet been decided. But officials say it could come during this session or later.

   "It's up to them," says township manager Tom Ernharth

   Officials have moved the 7 pm meeting from the township municipal building to the fire hall to accommodate what they expect will be larger than normal crowds.  

    At a township planning commission meeting in September, committee members rejected 8-0 requests to change a 55-acre parcel owned by Eastern Enterprises and designated as Conservation zoning to Low Density Residential. The commissioners also denied a similar request by the owners of Soldiers Field, a 6.4-acre tract that once served as the parade grounds for troops preparing for the Spanish American War and World War I.  

   Under Conservation zoning, up to 20 multifamily units or 19 single family homes could be built on the Eastern Enterprises property and up to four single-family homes on Soldiers Field.  Although the owners are expected to continue their opposition to the proposed zoning change, opinions expressed by Mt. Gretna residents at recent meetings held in the township have been overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying the planning commission's 8-0 vote. 



   "IS MUSIC the key to success," an article on the New York Times' best-read list last month, prompted a letter to the Times' editor from Gretna Music founder Carl Ellenberger, who pointed out that the piece "is sure to elicit 'du'uh's' from my older generation who grew up with a piano in the living room and school orchestra rehearsals."
   In his commentary, Dr. Ellenberger noted:

"Ancient Greek and Medieval educators knew that Music was one of the four 'sciences' of the quadrivium critical to understanding and living in the universe. Paradoxically, as younger generations dismiss the value of music education, neuroscientists like Nina Krause continue to validate the concept. Imagine how different Congress would be if members had played in a high school band or sang in a chorus? When asked about his most influential teacher, Nobelist (Medicine) Thomas Sudhof replied, 'my bassoon teacher, Herbert Tauscher, who taught me that the only way to do something right is to practice and listen and practice and listen, hours, and hours, and hours.'"

   Dr. Ellenberger's blog, lively and instructive (even if you're not a musician or lover of classical music), appears regularly on the Gretna Music website.








  HE came from St. Louis, Mo. 46 years ago to teach school at Cedar Crest High, just a few miles from Mt. Gretna. It didn't take long for others to discover his passi, and in due time he became head coach of the varsity swimming teams.

   Over the next 36 years, John Davis led his teams -- both boys and girls -- to 349 dual meet victories, coached 29 academic All-Americans, 12 swimming All-Americans, 14 first team Pennsylvania All-State honorees, 31 second team honorees and 150 others who were All Conference first team honorees.

  Along the way, he coached swim clubs in both Hershey and Annville and founded another club at Cedar Crest. As he neared retirement in 2003, Mr. Davis was honored with the Cedar Crest Athletic Award -- on top of a string of other accolades that included a merit award from the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.

  Following his retirement ten years ago, they named the school's swimming facilities after him, now the John W. Davis Natatorium. It was there that he coached students who won spots at 16 top schools, including MIT, Duke, Dartmouth, Bucknell, Tennessee, Michigan State, Penn State and Pitt.   

   This month, another honor awaits this Lakeview Drive resident: induction into the Central Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremonies will take place Nov. 11 in Lebanon.

    EXPERTS sometimes turn up in your own backyard, especially in Mt. Gretna.   The New York Times' "Ask An Expert" series recently featured Chautauqua resident Julia Bucher, an associate professor of Community Health Nursing at York College of Pennsylvania.
   Her  responses to reader questions appeared in "Advice for Caregivers of Relatives with Cancer."
  Ms. Bucher is married to architect Bill Barlow; they moved to Mt. Gretna from Lancaster in 2007.  She is a co-author of an American Cancer Society  book on caregiving.

Ms. Wein with Piper Warrior flight instructor & friend 

FOR a glimpse into how Mt. Gretna sometimes figures as a backdrop in novels, check out this interview Elizabeth Wein (inset, left) gave to blogger Sarah Laurence during a recent book tour for her latest novel, Rose Under Fire.
   Drawing on her teenage summers with grandmother Betty Flocken in the Heights,  Ms. Wein transforms Lebanon, PA into "Mt. Jericho" and Mt. Gretna into "Conewago Grove." She also renames Campbelltown's Reigle Field, where she got her American pilot's license, as "Justice Field."
   Rose Under Fire
, her seventh novel and like
Code Name Verity before it, is a spell-binder that reviewers say will make you want to keep a box of tissues nearby as you turn the pages.
   Small World Dept.: During her recent book tour in Canada, the USA and Australia, Ms. Wein met a Vancouver bookstore owner who asked her to sign a copy for her friend Barbara Buck. Ms. Buck's mom Joan once lived right across the street from grandmother Flocken in the Heights.



    FINALLY, Timber Hills has a sign of its own. Situated on grounds that predated the Chautauqua and Campmeeting, the community didn't see rapid residential development until the 1950s and 60s. And it was the last to gain its own sign to help bewildered visitors sort out a sometimes confusing mix of Mt. Gretna's seven distinctive neighborhoods scattered over three distinct townships and an independent borough.
   Thanks go to Maureen Gettle, right, a former New Jersey nurse who discovered Mt. Gretna in 1970, and the helpers she rounded up from throughout Mt. Gretna. They included (from left) Kathryn Gettle, Merv Lentz, Ellen Nicholas and Ed Neidigh.
   "We'd see obviously lost cars circling the same streets several times, not knowing where they were," says Ms. Gettle
  She called upon Ms. Nicholas, a Mt. Gretna Heights watercolor and acrylics artist whose family ties to Mt. Gretna extend across five generations.
   Daughter Kathryn got things started by first sketching out a few ideas. Then Ms. Nicholas, an exhibitor in the first Mt. Gretna Art Show, came up with several alternative designs before everyone, including South Londonderry Township officials, settled on one that combined squirrels, deer and other playful woodland creatures peeking out from behind tall lettering against a green and cream-colored background. Everyone on the team felt it expressed Mt. Gretna best.
   Ms. Nicholas, a former art teacher, said, "We didn't want anything that looked commercial. That's not Mt. Gretna."
   Nor did they want anything that looked like a place where people took themselves too seriously.  "That's not us, either" added Ms. Gettle.
    The whole project took about a year from start to finish, with no taxpayer funds needed. Ms. Gettle bought the materials, and friends from Mt. Gretna's six other neighborhoods joined in with ideas, talent and labor. "It's the Mt. Gretna spirit," she said, "the way we do things around here."


    WITH a magnifying glass, the iconic symbol atop her cap may give a clue. Wearing a Jigger Shop hat alongside her husband Tom (with the de rigueur sunglasses of a genuine Florida Old Salt) is Carol Mayer, next to another couple with t to Mt. Gretna.  

   Now making their home in The Villages, near Orlando, the Mayers caught up with Le Sorelle cafe owners Judy and Ken Shertzer, attending a business conference and visiting Disney World.  
    The Shertzers took a break from their weekend duties at the cafe but soon scurried back. Business is booming at their popular little restaurant, now with winter hours Fridays-Sundays for breakfast and lunch and occasional special dinners.
   (Insider's tip: Come Fridays to beat weekend crowds waiting in line to get a seat where blueberry pancakes are the house specialties.) 
   The Mayers enjoy seeing Mt. Gretnans who are Down South. Drop them a
line if you're headed their way. But not in summer. When it gets hot, they hope to scoot back here.




Where future firefighters come from

   Try this test: Identify the kid most likely to become a Mt. Gretna firefighter someday. If you picked the mesmerized youngster next to fire company president (and town mayor) Joe Shay, you'd probably be right. But Toby Trieskey, who loves trucks, is only one of eight youngsters who seemed ready to join Station 38 firefighters the moment they got their own fireman's hats and sat inside a real fire engine last month.
   Mt. Gretna Nursery School visitors included teachers Joanne Gingrich and Vickie Kracke with their 4- and 5-year old students Sylvia Schach (alongside Toby), Grady Bost, Josie Winters, Olive Fretz, Sophie McGough, Eva Zimmerman and Conner Danz. All were guests of firefighters Josh Thies, top right, Tim Yeingst and his dad Brad (lower left and right) and Samantha Sutcliffe (top left).   
   Good thing Ms. Sutcliffe (the fire chief's wife and a firefighter herself) stopped by. It's a whole new world these days. On their walk over to the fire house, one youngster had asked, "Will there be Fire Ladies there with the Fire Men?"

Only a few left, says high school senior Avery Dowd. Brother Bob is Mt. Gretna's former fire chief


32  Fire Company 2013 coffee mugs left when we last checked. Not surprising, since they're a top "All Things Gretna" collector item. A kiosk bulletin last spring offered a first-year 2001 mug at $100  -- ten times its original price.
   Best places to buy them: Gretna Computers, next to the Mt. Gretna Pizzeria (which had only eight left last week) and the Hideaway, which had six. At Collins Grocery in Colebrook, the mugs were completely gone. 

  Brainchild of former Mt. Gretnan Tom Miller and Chautauquan Scott Zellers, the mugs are perennial sell-outs. Mr. Miller, now living in North Carolina, intends to keep buying them until "the project runs out or I run out of gas."
    But there's no sign of that yet. He has two from each year and offers a grouping of the first 10 years' mugs to any Mt. Gretna buyer for $500. He expects that his daughter will someday donate the others to an auction that will benefit a Mt. Gretna non-profit.

    "People love Eleanor Sarabia's designs," says Mr. Miller, who notes that her original pen and ink sketches also now decorate a wall at the fire house. Looking for another Christmas gift? Pick up a copy of Vittles, Virtues and Vultures,  latest edition of the Mt. Gretna cookbook, on sale at the computer shop, Collins Grocery and Resource Island (the Cleona teachers' supplies store operated by Mt. Gretna Emporium owner Stacey Pennington). Email for quantity discounts. Proceeds of each $12 sale go to the firefighters.

Flowering dogwood, redbud, white oak, white pine and Norway spruce trees to be planted on the Chautauqua grounds next spring, thanks to a $2,020 TreeVitalize grant. Mike Sherman seeks volunteers; contact him for details at


300,000 Miles. It's a number most people will never see on their odometer, but Chautauquan Gordon Keeney knows the secret to keep a 20-year-old truck running: "Treat 'em like a lady," he says, "treat 'em with respect."   

   A home remodeler who has transformed the cottage that he and wife Charlene discovered in 1992 and encircled with an outdoor railroad they decorate at Christmas, the Fourth of July and for Halloween, Mr. Keeney, at 60, is a man who knows how to do a lot of things.

"Treat 'em like a lady, treat 'em with respect"

   He started playing drums around age 11 and wound up with a band, "Humble Gathering," that often opened sell-out concerts for groups such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jefferson Airplane and The Temptations.
  He's now a drummer for
Soul House, currently appearing at the Hotel Hershey's Iberian Lounge.
   Here in Mt. Gretna, he's known as a home remodeler with a cheerful disposition, a liking for people and their pets, and a goal to please both customers and music-loving audiences.
  As for his truck, a 1994 Toyota Hi/Lux, he had hoped to keep it running for 500,000 miles, but a few rust spots have now developed and the motor burns oil. So that may curtail his plans. Yet he knows how to treat trucks tenderly. He once kept one running for more than 358,000 miles.
   Drive them sensibly, he says. "Never start off racing the motor when its cold, running it like crazy or doing anything stupid. Do everything it takes to keep it going. That's how I drive my truck. It's important to me," he says.
   The Toyota is a second-hand find he discovered on eBay seven years ago, when it had already been driven over 100,000 miles. He flew to Florida to pick it up but found it dripping oil and water. "Everything they said it was, it wasn't," he said.
   The embarrassed seller, handling the sale as a favor for a friend, offered to pay his return air fare back to Pennsylvania. But Mr. Keeney, a south Lebanon native who needed the truck for his home repair business, finally agreed to a price and made the 1,100-mile trip back home without any problems. Shortly afterward, however, the engine needed to be replaced. That taught him a valuable lesson, "Don't believe everything they tell you on eBay."
   Nevertheless, it's a truck he's grown to love, like the music he loves in a town that he loves and a wife whose nickname is one that appears on a license plate he chose for her,"Babyluv." That probably explains why -- after he remodeled the cottage to add a tea room for Charlene, install insulation, put in a new heating system, add a 75-ft wraparound porch and make dozens of other improvements in a never-ending quest for perfection -- they named their Pennsylvania Avenue cottage "Heaven."  




.Clarence D. Ulrich, 1933-2013

   Clair, a United Methodist minister who lived in the Campmeeting from 1995 to 2005, died at Cornwall Manor Oct. 28 at age 80. Throughout a 46-year career in the ministry, he had been a pastor at numerous United Methodist churches, including ones in Avon, Brunnerville and Reading as well as locally at Shirks Church, which he served during his years in Mt. Gretna.  

   A graduate of Lebanon Valley College and the United Theological Seminary, he was also president of the Lebanon County Council of Churches and the Warwick Ministerium. Friends like Ben Wiley, a Campmeeting neighbor, recalled him as a man with "a ready smile, a friendly word and a helping hand."   

   Surviving are his wife Polly, three children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild. An obituary appears  online.  

. Joseph N. Uhler, Jr. 1919-2013

   Joseph N. Uhler, a former Mt. Gretna resident who founded Lebanon Valley Offset and as CEO guided it from its beginning with a staff of six to become, with 250 employees, one of the most highly regarded printers in the Northeastern United States, died Oct. 23 at the Mennonite Home in Lancaster at age 94.  

   He and his wife Mildred had three children, seven grandchildren and six great- grandchildren. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in April.  

   Mr. Uhler had grown up in Lebanon and graduated from high school there in 1936. He served during World War II with the Army Map Service where he discovered what would become a life-long love of graphic arts.  

   Following his retirement in 1981, the Uhlers moved from what an obituary writer described as "their beloved Mt. Gretna" to Arizona where they remained for the next 20 years until they returned to Pennsylvania in 2001. His obituary appears online



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Music links diverse cultures 

November Nocturne: a hike to Gov. Dick Tower combines a hunt for Big Foot, followed by bonfire and refreshments. 6 pm. $3 per person, $10 for families., NOV. 1:
First Fridays may be officially over but not yet at The Timbers Restaurant where popular vocalist Cathi Chemi rekindles the flame near the cozy fireside bar with musicians Steve Rudolph and Pat Paulsen, taking place alongside photographer Dave Adams' latest works, 6 to 9 pm.

Salute to American Hymnists." Harmonia Association members including Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney join in this tribute to those who helped shape America's spiritual growth. A program of audience singing, organ solos, piano and organ duets and vocal trios at Zerr Chapel, Cornwall Manor, 2:30 pm.  No admission fee.

Art Studio Tour includes artists David Adams, Susan Afflerbach, Mary Kopala and Ruthann Santry displaying their works at
La Cigale Gallery; Elizabeth Stutzman and Fred Swarr at their private studios in Mt. Gretna, and former resident Barb Fishman, long associated with Mt. Gretna, at her new home studio in nearby Cornwall. All are part of the 25-artist Lebanon Valley Studio and Gallery Tour 10 am-5pm Saturday and Noon to 5 pm Sunday.


Just as Mt. Gretnans Chuck and Rhoda Long did last year, many folks will flock to the Fire Company buffet at the firehouse.  

At this spot, on this occasion, there's positively no better place to blend comfort food and comfortable friends, including some you may meet for the first time. All for a donation you stuff in a firefighter's boot ($10 or more per person suggested, since the idea, after all, is to raise money for the firefighters' $400,000 goal).  

Trust us, in terms of a "feel good" feeling as you walk through the door, this beats the Hershey Hotel's ritzy Sunday Brunch hands down. Hours: 8 am to noon.   

Final Bluegrass session of the year at Gov. Dick Nature Center. 1 to 4 pm.


"From Beans to Brew:" How a guy survived a corporate downsizing and built a thriving business for himself and his wife. Tales from Central Pennsylvania magazine Readers' Choice award-winning St. Thomas Roasters coffeehouse in Linglestown with Geof Smith (whose mother Joan lives in the Campmeeting) at the Winterites, 1 pm. in the fire house. All are welcome.    


Toddlers in Tow; play, create, observe and explore on Gov. Dick trails, 10 - 11 am. For ages 1 to 5. 

Intercultural Journeys, which brings diverse cultures together through music, commands Gretna Music's winter venue. Created by the Philadelphia Orchestra's Israeli-born cellist, the group's first tour in 2001 astounded audiences throughout Israeli and Arab villages. "Before, you were my enemy," an Israeli woman told an Arab man she had met for the first time. A
dinner and lecture precede the 7:30 pm concert at Elizabethtown College's Leffler Chapel.  


10th Annual (but who's counting) Fire Co. No. Soup Cook-Off. Sample the recipes of 14 top soup wizards (like 2012 entrant Glen Yanos, inset), then cast your vote for the 1st, 2d and 3d award winners. Scott Galbraith entertains. 12 to 2 pm at the fire hall. $10 donation benefits the fire company. 


Third annual Bouldering Competition at Gov. Dick Park. Starts 8 am with first climb at 9. Rain date: Nov. 17. $20 per person.  

SATURDAY, Nov. 23:

Vendor Show & Sub Sale at the fire hall, 11 am - 2 pm. Place sub orders by Saturday, Nov. 9 (either at the fire company breakfast Sunday, Nov. 3 or leave a message, 964-3511). Extra subs will be available on the day of the sale says Joe Shay, who also personally takes sub orders.    

 Looking ahead:

Annual House Tour to benefit
Cornwall Iron Furnace, 10 am - 4 pm. Tickets $15 advance, $20 day of tour.  717-272-9711

Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Carol Singing, an open house at the Princeton Avenue residence of Peter Hewitt and Walter McAnney (opposite the post office). Mr. McAnney, organist, will be joined by pianist Thelma Strauss. All are invited to attend and bring food to share, 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Please
email Rhoda Long for suggestions of what to bring.


Don't forget:

Mt. Gretna's new year-round calendar appears online, a service of the Mt. Gretna Arts Council. Email listings and updates to Jennifer Veser Besse at   




When the power goes out,

Call Met-Ed


   Met-Ed gives top priority to outages affecting the greatest numbers. Your call helps pinpoint the scope of an outage and may also speed repair crews to Mt. Gretna.  

Make the call even if your neighbors have also reported the outage.  

    Why do lights often flicker during storms? It's Met-Ed's adaptive relay system which gives power lines a chance to "self-heal," says Met-Ed's Karen Baxter. "We use it only during storms. Under the old system, a fallen branch caused a fault, and a truck would be sent to fix it.  

   "With the new system, if the line goes out for a couple of seconds, it tries to self-heal. Yes, it's annoying because the power can be off just long enough to have to reset your clocks, but it can save three hours if you must wait for a line truck," she says.
NOTE:  In extreme weather conditions, the Mt. Gretna Fire Company provides emergency shelter during power outages lasting more than three hours. Bring medications and medical equipment; a sleeping bag or blanket and pillows; food; books and games to help pass the time; and, if the stay is likely to last several days, a change of clothes. Sorry, no facilities for pets.



Other newsletters of interest:

Mt. Gretna Updates -- Issued as warranted to alert local residents to such conditions as temporary road closings, utility repairs, shelter advisories for adverse weather, lost pets and other matters affecting residents of the seven neighborhoods served by the Mt. Gretna post office. Send an e-mail request, with "LOCAL UPDATES" in subject line, to

This Week in Mt. Gretna -- Issued during the summer; a week-by-week listing of local events, sent by e-mail on request. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail 

Mt. Gretna Arts Council Newsletter -- Now available only online (no mailed copies). Updated to include news concerning groups dedicated to the arts in Mt. Gretna, Calendar of Events, Summer Premier and Arts Council scholarships.Click here


Gretna Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events, schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List" at FOUNDER Carl Ellenberger's blog (highly recommended): Check for updates online at
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online at 

Mt. Gretna Bible Festival Newsletter -- Mailed in the spring and fall without charge. Send request to Bible Festival, P.O. Box 408, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.

Governor Dick Park Newsletter -- Online and by e-mail. See 

Cornwall Police Department E-Mail Bulletins -- issued as warranted to update residents on events of community interest, including crime alerts. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail request to 

South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at 

Campmeeting Newsletter -- Available online and mailed to residents of the Campmeeting.

Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed to Heights residents. Contact Michelle Shay,   



   This community newsletter is purely a retirement pastime, with no attachment to any group or organization nor any political or commercial ax to grind. It produces no income. I write it simply because I enjoy the process of gathering and reporting the news. I think it's good for the brain. Moreover, it keeps me in touch with interesting people who abound in Mt. Gretna.   

  At 73, I don't have the time or energy to cover everything. Some topics are better left to daily newspapers, TV and other media. I try to write about things that people have not already read. Yet since the majority of readers live outside Mt. Gretna, I sometimes summarize local newspaper stories. I focus almost exclusively on Mt. Gretna and depend on readers to alert me to news, including obituaries, of interest to people with local ties.

     In preparing each issue, I keep in mind the late Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas, who felt listeners had invited him into their homes. I also value Rotary International's Four-Way Test of the Things We Think, Say or Do: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" While that may not be a practical standard for ordinary journalists, I find it useful. I consider it a good guide for writing a community newsletter, and for living a life. But I'm not perfect. I just do the best I can.  

    I aim to get this newsletter out on the first day of each month unless I'm traveling, ailing or simply swamped by family responsibilities that take higher priority. And yes, the day may soon be approaching when I will have to shed these duties and leave them to someone else. Any volunteers?   

   With the new year I can foresee at least a couple of months when I will have to skip an issue. One comes in February, when I will be traveling in the period crucial to my usual deadlines. Another may come next December, when I expect to be traveling again.  

   People who help gather the news, take photos, edit and proofread this newsletter are invaluable. Their special skills include an empathetic understanding of others, an in-depth knowledge of Mt. Gretna history and traditions, and a passionate devotion to seeing that Mt. Gretna will continue to offer future generations what Robert Coleman himself first discovered. Although most live in this community, others are in New York City, St. Paul, Minn., and Camp Hill, Pa.   

     Should you have difficulty seeing the pictures or adjusting text size to fit your screen, click on the "click here" hyperlink just above the masthead or click on the online version -- -- which appears through the courtesy of friends at Gretna Computers.  

   That online archive sometimes proves helpful to those who plan to move here and want to know more about a community which the late Marlin Seiders called "not a place, but a spirit."


  Roger Groce

 P.S. This newsletter uses a commercial distribution service, Constant Contact, to send email copies to about 2,000 people around the world.



              The Mt. Gretna Newsletter Constant Contact All-Star Award Winner 2010, 2011, 2012

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