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Mt. Gretna E-Mail Newsletter No. 43 January 6, 2005

SUMMERTIME BEAUTY, WINTERTIME TREACHERY
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It makes you just want to stay indoors, curled up by the fireside with a good book.

Those gentle sloping curves and valleys that lend enchantment to Mt. Gretna’s roadways in spring, summer and fall can turn treacherous in winter.

Which roads are most dangerous? Where are the area’s top troublespots? What unexpected hazards make roads here seemingly more perilous than roads elsewhere?

Readers we polled recently agree: ALL roads leading to and from Mt. Gretna can be risky almost anytime, but especially in winter. Dodging deer is daunting enough. Yet when temperatures slip below freezing, underground springs and water cascading down hillsides can spawn black ice. Canopies formed by trees along Route 117 shield the road from sunlight, so ice forms quicker and lasts longer. And roadways that even PennDOT admits are dodgy have shoulders that most say are unusable and others claim are downright unsafe. All conditions that wintertime --- its crystalline beauty notwithstanding --- makes worse.

The top troublespots, say our readers:

1. “Hunter’s Bottom,” that grade west of Colebrook north of the Patrick Road and Route 117 intersection. South Londonderry police chief Steve Hitz says even a light snow or a little freezing rain there almost guarantees accidents.

2. Those ramps leading to Route 117 from both sides of Route 72. Cars come down the ramps too fast and “end up sliding across the traffic island or running up the embankments,” says Cornwall police chief Bruce Harris.

3. Butler Road, especially the hill alongside Philhaven Hospital and that final curve leading northward to Route 322. “We look out from the hospital's top floor and watch the accidents,” says a Philhaven employee whose husband was hit head-on at that curve when a car skidded out of control.

4. The bottom of Pinch Road, in the heart of town. On snowy nights, it’s easy to slide past the stop sign and into the middle of Route 117, says Kathy Snavely. Residents living along Pinch say that every year at least two cars headed toward town miss the curve at Boehm Avenue and wind up in the ditch.

5. That sloping curve three tenths of a mile from the Route 72 exit at the eastern tip of Route 117. An underground spring seemingly feeds onto the roadway, forming patches of black ice that pop up without warning. Although the road curves to the right, it’s banked to the left, says Joyce Ebright. Val Sarabia once slid into a 360-degree turn there, missing a stopped police cruiser only by inches.

6. The intersection of Old Mt. Gretna Road and Mt. Wilson Road (Route 241). “It’s always bad, just worse in the winter,” says south Annville police chief Ben Sutcliffe.

7. The curve just west of Mt. Gretna’s water treatment plant along Route 117. Ginny Minnich says she’s grateful nothing was coming from the opposite direction one morning when her car skidded into a complete circle.

8. Another risky spot, year ‘round, is the intersection of Pinch and Cider Press roads. Motorists traveling along Cider Press are supposed to stop. But as several terrified drivers have lived to tell, they sometimes don’t. Until state officials decide to post four-way stop signs, readers suggest coasting toward that intersection with one foot lightly poised over the brake.

9. And just about everybody worries about the potential for tragedy along Route 117 near the dam, at Lake Conewago’s deepest end. “I’ll bet there’s not 10 feet between the road and the water at one point,” says Bill Care. Old timers recall that a guard cable once kept cars from skidding into the lake. Someone took it down one year. Nobody ever replaced it.

Chief Harris says in bad weather the entire 10.2 mile stretch of Route 117 from Colebrook to Campbelltown can be treacherous. Drifting snows are a problem north of town, particularly along Butler Road and portions of Route 72. Even wind-whipped sections of Timber Road, near Soldiers Field, can be tricky. Cindy Andrews Sheffy spun around that icy roadway with daughter Emily, then three, in the back seat. When her car finally came to rest inside the former parade grounds, Cindy was terrified, the car was unharmed, and Emily, beaming a big grin, was clapping her hands and saying, “Do it again, Mommy, do it again.”

Yet the more people we talked to, the scarier this story got. Everyone had at least one harrowing experience to relate, even though all agreed that snow removal crews here are top notch. The trouble begins one you leave town. “Just tell people to slow down, says Cynthia Condrack. “Then tell them to slow down again.”


BUZZARD BUSTING’S GENTLER SIDE
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Recent dispatches from coordinator Max Hunsicker to a communitywide vulture-chasing team might, we suspect, be instructive to all Mt. Gretna residents. They reflect the care our volunteers follow in rousting the birds from their roosts with the least possible disruption to non-feathered residents.

1. About a half hour before darkness, powerful lights prove effective in getting the birds to move. Our volunteers use them whenever possible. But, like people, some in the flock are stubborn. “There’s even evidence that some may have snagged a pair of Ray Bans,” says Max. For those, a loud bang may be needed. But the rule is always, “lights first, noisemakers second.”

2. Trained volunteers resort to high altitude explosive charges, known as bird bangers, only when necessary. Max says he sometimes hears bangers going off after dark, but they’re likely not from volunteers trained to know that once darkness sets in, the birds are not going to budge. “If you know of someone shooting after dark, please pass on that wisdom,” he says.

3. USDA officials advise against allowing the vultures to get “comfortable roosting here during the day.” Since lights are ineffective in daylight, volunteers sometimes must use noisemakers such as screamers to move them along, but sparingly, says Max. “We don’t want to raise havoc all day long.” He notes that whenever they shoo birds away in the morning, fewer return that night.

4. The vulture relocation campaign is having an impact. “It’s obvious the birds are seeking new roosting sites outside Mt. Gretna,” says Max. But he believes that throughout the season new waves of birds continually appear. “We need to remain vigilant and move them along,” he says. When the effort began four years ago, officials estimated the flock at 600 birds. It’s now down to about a quarter of that size, they say.


IN BRIEF (45 words or less)
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[] Mary Hernley’s missionary daughter and family in Indonesia are safe. Mary and her husband traveled there this week. They’ll return in February. By spring, she’ll be back along Route 117, selling flowers and spreading smiles --- part of what Mary calls the “cheer-up business.”

[] Organizer Chris Kaag plans another Memorial Day weekend triathlon here May 28. It will benefit the Myelin Project (probing neurodegenerative disorders such as those that crippled the 28-year-old Kaag himself seven years ago). Last year’s race attracted 470 contestants, raising over $16,500.

[] Governor Dick Park officials expect they’ll need a part-timer to tackle maintenance and lawn-mowing chores around the Nature Center. The park board’s Carol McLaughlin invites those interested in the job to call her at 272-9841.

[] USDA officials haven’t worked out details yet, but they plan to seek permission from Lake Conewago’s owners to trap those pesky beavers. See Tom Bowman’s “Beavers Prove a Gnawing Problem in Mount Gretna” (http://www.pennlive.com/patriotnews/)

[] Mt. Gretna artist (and Elizabethtown College professor) Lou Schellenberg is showing some of her recent works at New Castle’s Hoyt Institute of Fire Arts through Feb. 25. Her paintings “imply man’s presence and influence” in a thematic exhibition of Pennsylvania landscapes. See http://hoytartcenter.org/exhibitions/index.html

[] Timberbridge homeowners elected Ned Gibble president of their association. Vice president David Lillenstein says Met Ed will erect an entranceway lamp along Route 117. Township officials meanwhile honored the homeowners’ request to exempt Mt. Gretna’s newest neighborhood from streetlight requirements within the 21-home development.

[] What makes those July organ concerts successful? Partly because folks like Sandy Roman plan for them in January. She’s now busy lining up willing donors of fruit, cheese, cookies, crackers. . . even cocktail napkins. Sandy especially welcomes new volunteers. Contact: sroman@paonline.com or 964-1133.

[] Gretna Music’s special jazz concert at Elizabethtown College Feb. 5 features bassist Eddie Gomez and pianist Mark Kramer, improvisational experts with a knack for blending classical, jazz and world music themes. Details: 361-1508 or see http://mtgrenta.com/music

[] Forester Barry Rose, mulling over thorny issues such as invasive plants, overpopulated deer and overly dense forests, expects to present his recommendations to Governor Dick Park’s board next month, or maybe in March. The board usually meets monthly, on the third Thursday.

[] Lebanon County work-release crews will pick up Christmas trees at the Route 117 collection site after the Feb. 1 deadline. Only trees, please. Not tree bags or other synthetic materials, since they grind everything into mulch.

[] Marie Smoker, a Mt. Gretnan since 1965, celebrates her 98th birthday Jan. 29. A fire company volunteer and Winterite, she’s a minister’s wife, an extraordinary creator of shoofly pies and tapioca pudding, and a loving guidepost for three children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

[] Mt. Gretna’s firefighters are adding an amphibious unit to their ever-expanding capabilities. Their new Argo 8-wheel-drive ATV climbs over rocks, trails and into water, equipped with a nine-horsepower outboard motor. Can’t wait to see it? Log onto www.ARGOatv.com

[] Controlling invasive plants, especially in places like Mt. Gretna, is the topic of a program at Lebanon Valley’s Agriculture Center Mar. 24. Botanist Autumn Sabo will answer your questions, starting at 7:00 p.m. A botanist named Autumn? You know it’s gotta be good!


A SMATTERING OF SPLATTERING?
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Plans are afoot for the annual "Grundonmobile Day" ceremony to be held this winter. We have it on good authority (Max Hunsicker himself) that “The Most Secret and Benevolent Lodge of the Loyal Order of the Grundonmobile Society will hold its annual vigil on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2005. On that day, Dale Grundon will bring the Grundonmobile out of its winter den and park it beneath one of Mt. Gretna's towering Pine trees. If the Grundonmobile passes the day without being bombarded by a Vulture, winter will be officially over, and spring shall commence forthwith. However, if the Grundonmobile is pooped upon, there will be six more weeks of winter.”

More to follow, promises Max


NUMBERS
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16 File drawers filled with choral music performed over the years at Mt. Gretna’s Bible Festival. Ester Mefferd (964-3123), cataloging 60 to 100 copies of each work, says they’re available for loan to other church choirs.

20 Miles per hour: top land speed of the fire company’s new eight-wheel-drive ATV. With a front-end winch and outboard motor, it holds six persons on land and four on water. Firefighters will haul the unit in an enclosed trailer that Lawn’s ambulance unit offered, says appreciative chief Ben Sutcliffe, “at a very reasonable price.”

34 Homes sold here last year, says Mt. Gretna Realty’s Fred Schaeffer. That compares with 50 sold in 2003. Prices in 2004 ranged between $77,000 and $352,750 for an average of $181,657, up seven percent from the previous year.

103 Cottages (out of 205 in Mt. Gretna borough) that officials consider as occupied by “permanent” residents. But the count is elusive. Some owners declare residency in other states. Others officially remain on the tax rolls here but spend winters elsewhere. How many? No one knows. But dwindling earned income tax returns played havoc with the borough’s 2005 budget.

1,404 Telephones in Mt. Gretna’s 964 exchange. Verizon expects the number of landline customers could drop sharply when its new cell tower begins operating (sometime next month, or by March at the latest). A Verizon spokeswoman says that fewer than half of Pennsylvania’s homes now use those quaint telephones that are connected to a wall by cords.


QUESTIONS READERS ASK
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[] What’s the story behind “Mt. Gretna Aristocrat” cocoa? I bought a package at Weaver’s Nut Store in Ephrata, and it’s wonderful. Pure cocoa!

<> Wilbur Chocolate, the Lititz candymaker now owned by giant Cargill, Inc., once produced the brand. But nobody at the factory could say when or how it got started. Wilbur finally stopped manufacturing “Mt. Gretna Aristocrat” about 10 years ago and shipped its cocoa presses to Brazil. A sister company in Holland now produces something that’s “close to the original,” says a spokesman. Except for Wilbur Buds (which some die-hard Lititz denizens swear are better than Hershey’s Kisses), the firm makes almost no candy for retail sales today. Most of Wilbur’s 150 million pounds of annual chocolate output goes to companies like Nabisco, Kraft and Bryers. Even the famed Wilbur Buds account for less than one percent of sales.

[] I've been finding ladybugs everywhere at our house recently. . . about 50 of them in or on our hot tub the week before Christmas. I didn't realize they knew the backstroke! One of my students said he had seen a box at the top of the fire tower labeled Ladybug Project. Know anything about this?

<> No one’s sure about the box atop the tower, but biologist Chuck Allwein says a specific series of ladybugs was released to control woolly adelgid, a parasite that attacks hemlocks. Naturalist Dale Grundon adds that “it seems to be an annual event.” Ladybugs often hover around the Lodge’s second floor windows at this time of year, he says. And horticulturalist Ginger Pryor sheds light on why the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) appears more often in winter: Introduced by the USDA to control aphid and scale insects nearly 25 years ago, they did a great job. But in 1993, an Asian freighter docked at New Orleans may have accidentally introduced a slightly bigger variety that survives in winter. Ginger warns they can bite and become a household nuisance. Vacuuming is one way to trap them. Light traps that draw the insects into boxes is another. For more ideas, see “Trapping Systems for Flying Insects” at http://www.ars.usda.gov


ENGAGING QUALITIES
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Mt. Gretna lost several beloved members of the community over recent weeks.

John C. Wenzler passed away Dec. 18. No one, we suspect, lived his life with greater respect both for the dignity of others and for The Golden Rule. His obituary cited his role as a cofounder of Mt. Gretna’s art show. Yet his grasp of this community’s artistic potential extended even further. Dr. Carl Ellenberger tells of how Johnny, then director of Chautauqua’s summer programs, came to see him one day in 1974, asking if Carl would present a music program in the Community Building the following year. Carl invited a few friends from the Eastman School of Music, Interlochen and Harrisburg’s Symphony Orchestra. They performed, and a standing-room-only audience applauded. The musicians enjoyed it so much they decided immediately to do it again the next year. Thus was born Music at Gretna, now one of the nation’s premier music festivals. The history books properly say that Carl Ellenberger was its founder. But Johnny Wenzler, a modest and gentle man, was its spark.

John Briody, a man who loved people, passed away Dec. 29. A newspaper account (http://www.ldnews.com) sums up his life and works, particularly his work as managing producer of the Gretna Playhouse, his many restaurant ventures (including Briody’s, now known as the Hide-A-Way), and his founding more than 40 years ago of the Timbers Dinner Theater. It was there that most of us got to know him and his family, including members of a staff who seem (and treat others) like family. What does he leave behind? A special place that beckons friends year ‘round. But more than that, an example of how --- with a touch that is consistently kind, caring, and welcoming --- successful businesses can be built.

There were other losses as well. James K. Hunley, who sometimes spoke at community summer programs and displayed his extensive collection of items from the days of National Guard encampments here, died Dec. 27. And John M. “Mike” Dunn, M.D. passed away Dec. 13. He was the husband of Polly Dunn, whose Columbia Avenue cottage has been in the same family for more than a century. Whether they dwelled among us year ‘round or only in summers, all are reminders of the kaleidoscopic qualities, talents, and passions that combine to make life so special. . . and life in Mt. Gretna so engaging.

[Note: The full text of a moving tribute to Johnny Wenzler by Carl Ellenberger, and formal obituary notices for others whose passing is noted above, will be sent by e-mail to all who ask. Drop us a note: rtgroce@hotmail.com.]


BRAIN BUSTERS
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Tired of too-easy crossword puzzles? Seeking a rigorous mental workout to stave off the doldrums of winter? Try these thorny brain-busters:

1. Where do geocahing enthusiasts from around the world trek to finally reach their destination of Bull Rock?

2. Name the only Central Pennsylvania town whose fire hydrant hose threads match exactly those used in New York City.

3. Which American town was honored in the early 1900s with the visit of that noted German engineer and scientist Karl Imhoff, inspecting a state-of-the-art waste digester that was among the first to be designed using the principal of Imhoff’s Law?

4. What town near an old Indian burial ground inspired Chet Williamson’s 1989 novel “Dreamthorp”?

5. Identify the site where noted mycologist Charles McIlvaine, author of “One Thousand American Fungi,” gave summertime lectures from beneath a mushroom-shaped canopy and occasionally ate fungi he’d asked his housekeeper to cook so he could determine their poisonous qualities.

6. Which town on the North American continent is nearest the body of water known as Lake Duffy?

7. In what Eastern U.S. town will visitors find the spot designated as Emerson Park?

8. In which area of the U.S. did a Korean War-era radar station (with a geodetic benchmark of 1,120 feet) become famous as a “great place to find a husband”?

9. At the turn of the century when Philadelphia finally had to enlarge its disposal system, where did the City of Brotherly Love’s undersized manhole covers finally wind up?

Final hint: Our uncommonly canny readers will by now have surmised that these mind-numbing questions all have the same answer. If you’re still puzzled, however, look for a clue in the title of this newsletter.


SPONSORS’ MESSAGES {::}
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This community newsletter has utterly no profit motive whatsoever. But it strikes us that we might be missing the chance to help stimulate extra revenues for worthwhile groups that benefit us all. So we’ve invited a few sponsors to share brief messages occasionally. In exchange, they promise to share a portion of their profits with the fire company and arts council --- broadly based organizations that save lives, promote culture and benefit everyone who lives here. If you know of a business that might want to be an occasional sponsor, please drop us a note. We promise to keep such messages short, like these:

{::} Need someone to check your cottage while you're away? Bob Sims of Your Watchful Eye pledges 10% of his $30 monthly fees from new clients will go to support Mt. Gretna's Arts Council. Tel. (717) 665-7348 or 575-2375. E-mail: robert@yourwatchfuleye.com.

{::} A reminder that Tuesday nights are Mt. Gretna Fire Company night at Farmer’s Hope Inn along Route 72, just north of the turnpike. Mention that you’re from Mt. Gretna, and owners Tim and Terri Brown will donate 10 percent of your bill to our firefighters. Tel. (717) 664-4673 or 273-4500.

With kindest regards,

Roger Groce

P.S. Please remember to tell us your OLD e-mail address when letting us know that you've switched to a new one. That simplifies life for us enormously. Thanks to all who help by sharing copies of this letter with friends and relatives. And a reminder that thanks to Keith Volker, you’ll find back issues of this bulletin posted on the Internet at http://mtgretna.com/news.
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A Special Note to Our Website Readers: Before preparing each newsletter, we often dispatch a special alert to our e-mail address list inviting everyone to send ideas for topics of interest and upcoming events. We attempt to make that alert as informative as the newsletter itself. Here is the “Call for Articles” that preceded this issue:

Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 11:51 AM
Subject: Coming up: Another Mt. Gretna Newsletter (Pls. Forward)

Winter’s just begun, and the signs are ominous.

Already we’ve had a plowable snow, and some wary denizens swore they glimpsed a light dusting yesterday as early morning temps hovered in the teens. Despite today’s welcome warm-up, what we’re hearing from our official prognosticators --- including a stalwart brigade of woolly bears --- doesn’t sound promising.

Yet beneath winter’s frosty forecast rustle the stirrings of another spring --- still a long way off, but nonetheless rumbling below the surface. We’ll report on that in our next issue, now revving up for another e-mail edition. So if you have news to share, questions to ask, or general tidings of goodwill, send your dispatches forthwith to us at rtgroce@hotmail.com.

We welcome all contributions and promise to assemble them into what we hope will be a more or less readable report that informs, enlightens and occasionally amuses. Our readership continues to grow, both among those huddled in wintry Mt. Gretna and those who’ve flown to sunnier climes. Whether here or there, all share a palpable tug on the heartstrings whenever someone says “Mt. Gretna.”

Meanwhile, some items to help bring us all up to date:

First and foremost. . . and somewhat disappointingly. . . comes news that the long-awaited opening of Mariano and Damien Acquino’s new enterprise continues to hit snags with regulatory authorities in Harrisburg. Their plans to open a pizza shop at the historic site in the middle of town got turned down. So now the Acquinos, a father and son team making their first entrepreneurial venture and betting heavily on the American dream, have set in motion plans to win approval for another type of business --- one that would re-create a grocery store and delicatessen in our midst. Alas, the Department of Labor and Industry is dragging its heels on that one, too. So the father and son team, doing all they know how to do to satisfy the regulators, can now do little more than wait. . . and hope. All in Mt. Gretna who value having a store conveniently close, and who depend on persons of goodwill and strong determination to make such services a reality, wish them well.

Meanwhile, those hungry beavers that had been chewing up trees along Lake Conewago seem to be in recess. Borough secretary Linda Bell says fewer munch marks are now evident. USDA authorities have been alerted and are ready to swing into action. But, so far, it appears the furry infiltrators have gone into hibernation.

Still lurking, however, are the dangers of wintertime driving in and around Mt. Gretna. We’ll have a report. If you have a favorite troublespot to watch out for --- one that led to a harrowing experience for you or someone you know ---- please drop us a line. Several readers have already alerted us to what might be called Mt. Gretna motorists’ Top 10 roadway hazards to watch out for, especially when winter sets in. If you have a spine-tingling tale to talk about --- especially along Route 117, Pinch or Butler roads, or anywhere else in the vicinity --- please drop us a note. Stories our readers have passed along so far suggest that when black ice starts forming or snow begins falling, curling up with a good adventure book by the fireside is the only safe way to travel.

We also hope to have news of changes coming to a venerable Mt. Gretna institution, the latest in our community-wide campaign to relocate some of the world’s most stubborn buzzards, and a brain-busting quiz especially for cottage-bound winterites seeking an alternative to crossword puzzles and Jeopardy re-runs.

And we’ll note, with sadness, the passing of John Wenzler, one of Mt. Gretna’s gentlest citizens --- a quiet man whose kindnesses and respect for others were well-known, but whose contributions to this community, owing to his modest nature, may have escaped the lasting appreciation he surely deserves.

All this and more coming up in our next issue. Please send your notes, news and notices to us now, while they’re fresh in mind. Meanwhile, our very warmest greetings of the season and best wishes for the year ahead.

Kindest regards,

Roger Groce

P.S. A special note of thanks to all who helped keep everyone in our community informed through regular reports in this newsletter during the past year. Lest anyone think Mt. Gretna’s CyberGazette is merely the handiwork of one person, we humbly pause --- with enormous gratitude --- to recognize a few of the many friends who helped assemble the news and shape the notes that have appeared here over the past year:

They include such folks as Bill Care and Linda Bell at the borough office, Merv Lentz in the Campmeeting, and police chiefs Bruce Harris, Steve Hitz and Ben Sutcliffe. Also West Cornwall Township’s Carol McLaughlin, Rose Mary Kays at South Londonderry Township, and Cornwall police secretary Shirley Trimmer (who coordinates the neediest family campaign each year). Thanks, too, to folks like photographer/naturalist/artist Dale Grundon, mayor Joe Shay, and fire company volunteers from throughout the region as well as Keith Volker, who faithfully posts back issues of this newsletter on the web at http://mtgretna.com/news.

Also helping us keep up with events are post office staffers Steve Strickler and Cathy Dugdale, Jeff and Deborah Hurst in the Campmeeting, Jim Bates at Met Ed, rails-to-trails chief John Wengert, Susan Wood (always on top of things in the Heights), and a host of community-minded folks throughout our many neighborhoods. They include Chuck and Charlotte Allwein, historical committee recorder Dick Smith, 89-year old Grace Garrett (who described what it was like to live through the Campbelltown tornado), Chautauquan John Smith, artist Eleanor Sarabia who chronicles the Mt. Gretna scene on canvas, Timberbridge resident and devoted Mt. Gretnan Joyce Ebright, beaver-spotter Barney Myer, lake director Phil Schneider, fire company volunteer Karen Lynch, community volunteer Judy Weimer, Chautauquans Bob and Linda Wilson (who alert us to late additions to Bible Festival concerts), Conewago Creek preservationist Matt Royer, tennis tournament director Dan Moyer, gift shop operators Joe and Reenie Macsisak, Big Band bash organizers Ceylon and Karen Leitzel, Pat Walter (who gave us this summer’s best-read “snake-in-the-family-room” story, men’s club secretary Cynthia Condrack, summer programs coordinator Kathy Snavely, Conewago Hills and Cicada correspondent Laura Feather, man-about-town John Hambright, Chautauqua committeeman Larry Roush, Gretna Music’s Susan Kinderdine, chorister Cheryl Burke, Stephanie Lamont and sister Tiffany Lamont Winters of Le Sorelle, photographer Madelaine Gray, the Timbers’ genial Tap Roberts, Super Pumpkin Thatcher Bornman, Realtor Fred Schaeffer, Segway spotter Kelly Wilson, Peggy O’Neil (always with a sparkling slant on everything, anytime), house tour organizer Emi Snavely, venerable volunteer Mary Ellen Kinch, fire company fundraiser Scott Zellers, flower lady Mary Hernley,13-year-old Abby Cook and 11-year old Nicole Roberts (who helped organized the Halloween band in this year’s parade), oldest triathlon competitor Paul Enck, former mayor Hoagy Hogentogler, former Mt. Gretnans Sue and Al Pera, Carl Ellenberger (whose skills with the written word approach his extraordinary command of both music and medicine), the historical society’s Fred Buch and Pat Atwood, Dale Good at PennDOT, Verizon Wireless’ Jack Thomas (the man who’ll turn the switch to open our long-awaited cell tower in March. . . maybe February), the garden club’s Sue Loehr, spring premiere organizer Janice Balmer, Lee Meyer (our courteous Lebanon planning commission contact), motorhome travelers Evelyn Duncan and Pat Pinsler, longtime Mt. Gretnans Peg Hicks Byford and Marion Campbell, Gretna Theater president Nancy Besch, artists Barb Fishman and Shelby Applegate, playwright Eton Churchill (who also alerted us to the looming invasion of Brood X cicadas), superchefs Elaine Baum and Becky Briody, the engaging Nancy Mitchell of Mt. Gretna’s new design center, historian Jack Bitner, Max Hunsicker (one of this community’s most talented writers), Bible Festival organizer Tom Meredith, the Cicada’s Peter Hewitt, organist Walter McAnney, Gretna Productions’ Will Stutts, Gretna Music’s Michael Murray and dozens and dozens of others whose kindnesses, abilities and graciousness remind us, again and again, of just how fortunate we are --- all of us --- to share in the Mt. Gretna experience.