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In Other News
 Polar bear ambles coming this month and next at Governor Dick Park.
First, "How to identify trees by their buds," at 12:30 p.m.
tomorrow (Jan. 10). Next, "Spotting owls and other nocturnal
creatures" at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 (followed by hot chocolate around the
fireplace.) For details: write for a copy of the park's latest e-mail newsletter: email@example.com.
 Odd Questions Dept.: Mt.
Gretna Pizzeria's engaging Rose Bair, who's worked alongside owners Damian
and Elidio Orea for the past dozen years, says her two favorite questions
from callers are (1) "Do you folks carry pizzas?" And "Do you
put cheese on your pizzas?"
(That tops our previous favorite, asked at the Information Center nearly
every summer: "Do people really live in these cottages?")
 Bright Idea Dept.: Maureen MacDonald, who's run the post office in
neighboring Lawn for the past 16 years, came up with a "Free Box,"
placed just inside the door so neighbors can drop off their old magazines for
others to also enjoy. Some patrons deposit unwanted issues the same day they
arrive, she says. It's an idea everybody loves -- in a village even tinier
than Mt. Gretna.
 News about organic produce from a Lancaster farm co-operative, which may make Mt. Gretna deliveries next summer if enough
people sign up, was the best-read item in last month's newsletter.
Heights resident Susan Wood says order-sharing among two-person families is an increasingly
The 25-week program offers locally-grown, freshly harvested and certified
organic produce plus eggs, chicken, bison sausage, yogurt, raw milk, honey
and maple sugar.
 Urging township supervisors to approve plans for a new residential community
outside Lititz, a developer charmed officials last month by promising that
his development would have a "craftsman cottage feel, similar to Mount
Gretna," a Lancaster newspaper reported.
 The Cicada Festival's opening act Aug. 4 may be a familiar name,
but it's one that no audience here or anywhere else has seen before.
Organizer Ceylon Leitzel says the idea of blending Phil Dirt and the Dozers
with musicians from the Hershey Symphony in a Beach Boys tribute evolved over
the past several years.
"It's never been done before," says Ceylon, "and it'll happen
for the first time at the 2009 Cicada Festival."
With the lowest-priced tickets in town ($8 last year but likely to rise in
2009 due to greater costs for entertainers and reduced donations last year),
the popular family entertainment series depends entirely on volunteers,
ticket sales and donor contributions.
Other Cicada 2009 offerings will include The Vogues (with original lead
singer Bill Burkette) Aug. 5; Baltimore's Shades of Blue Big Band Aug. 6; a
Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tribute Aug. 10; and the Main Street Cruisers,
an oldies band well-known in the Lehigh Valley, Aug. 11.
Order forms will go online once organizers have settled on this year's ticket price. When
the ticket office opens in June, volunteers will process orders on a
first-come basis. Since many buyers order all five shows in the series,
performances often sell out early.
The all-volunteer staff urges patrons to add generous donations to their
orders whenever possible, since ticket revenues fall short of the festival's
 He may not know much about American football, but when it comes to
Mt. Gretnans' Superbowl Sunday favorites, Damien Orea's an expert.
This year, the impresario of Mt. Gretna's Pizzeria (964-1853) will offer on
Feb. 1 two all-tax-included Superbowl Specials: Two large cheese pizzas and a
dozen wings for $22 -- or, for less hearty appetites -- a single large cheese
pizza with 12 wings for $13.99.
Damian and his dad Elidio run one of the most imaginative pizza shops
anywhere in the county: Six days a week, starting at 7 a.m., they whip up
breakfasts with everything from baked oatmeal to eggs-any-way-you-like-'em,
delighting locals and making this THE spot to catch up each morning on
all the goings-on in town.
At mid-day, they switch the menu to an assortment of about 50 Italian specialties
-- everything from salads, lasagna dinners, cheese steaks and chicken tenders
to pizzas (pepperoni's the favorite!).
And this month they rang in the new year with a traditional pork and
sauerkraut dinner. Not exactly your average pizzeria. Not by a long
 The Winterites resume their first-Tuesday-of-the-month-at-1 p.m.
gatherings at the fire hall Feb. 3. Next: a Maggie Stroh retrospective,
honoring their 1950 founder, with shared memories from those who knew
her. The programs continue through April with discussions on native
plants, their importance to the environment, and the author of a mystery
novel set in Mt. Gretna.
 Wondering whatever became of your canoe? If you left it at the lake
last September, it's probably now spending the winter alongside the borough's
maintenance building, about half a mile down the road.
Notices posted last spring announced that abandoned canoes would be removed
in September to make way for a clean-up, fix-up project.
Officials will decide what to do if canoes they hauled away remain unclaimed
by fall. Meantime, if you're wondering about yours, call secretary Linda Bell
 Never in doubt and unfazed by forecasts from her more famous
cousins Punxsutawney Phil and Octorara Orphie, Penny the Penn Realty
groundhog will be back in town Feb. 2, proclaiming winter's end and heralding
the coming of spring.
Exactly who is Penny? Nobody knows for sure, but noted Lebanon custom
clothing designer Kate Smith did get a "furry outfit" order from
Mt. Gretna several years ago.
And Penny, always freshly coiffed, has been showing up ever since --
dispensing coffee, smiles and frosty greetings to surprised travelers along
Afterwards, she makes her annual trek across the highway to face tough questions
from critical five-year-olds in Carol Mather's nursery school class. They're
not sure who Penny is either, but they're smart. Many have been to
Disneyworld and have developed finely honed instincts for distinguishing
what's real from what's stuffed.