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"A Bulletin For Folks Who Love Mount Gretna. . . Wherever They Happen to Live"
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Mt. Gretna E-Mail Newsletter No. 92, March 3, 2009

Mt. Gretna E-Mail Newsletter

"A Bulletin For Folks Who Love Mount Gretna. . . Wherever They Happen to Live"
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Email: The Mt. Gretna Newsletter

No. 92                                                                                                                 March 3, 2009


Some readers may be surprised to learn that the majority of people who regularly receive this newsletter live in places other than Mt. Gretna. Our most distant subscriber, in fact, lives on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Others live in Europe, Asia and Africa as well as in states and cities located across North America.

That this tiny spot holds such enduring attraction for far-flung Mt. Gretnans -- connected solely by family ties, fond memories or warm affections -- is a tribute to an elusive quality perhaps best captured by the late Marlin Seiders, whose observation we carry across our masthead: "Mt. Gretna. . . not a place, but a spirit."

So, especially at this time of year, when many of us are away, we feel compelled to pass along capsule news summaries that out-of-town readers won't likely have read elsewhere -- items they'll want to know before making their annual pilgrimages back into town in another month or so.

If their re-entry is from the south, by way of Pinch Road, the first thing they'll notice is the devastating toll attributed to gypsy moths on both
Julia Bucher sides of the roadway.

To be sure, not everyone agrees on the causes or the cures, but what everyone does acknowledge is the vulnerability of our trees, one of Mt. Gretna's most precious resources.

Future environmental threats -- whether from insects, disease or drought -- are simply too great a risk to ignore, demanding preventative measures that most would agree are both imperative and urgent.

Close at hand with a wide range of suggestions for municipalities and homeowners alike is a small army of  knowledgeable authorities. They include consulting arborists and commercial tree services, county extension agents, state foresters, ecologists and other professionals. All with information and action plans designed to help protect our trees from further damage.

Meanwhile, lumbermen are continuing to clear more than 17,000 trees that have already been identified for harvest along Mt. Gretna's southern border, including 3,700 in Governor Dick Park.  Pennsylvania State Game Lands forester David Henry says he'll begin planting 1,000 oak seedlings on the game lands' devastated 53-acre tract in a few weeks. "By summer, we expect this to be a lush green area," he told the Lebanon Daily News. "In a few years, the new growth should be about six feet high. Overall, we have created a plan that will benefit wildlife, visitors and residents by removing the dangers associated with the dead trees along Pinch Road, as well as provide a better habitat for wildlife." The area has already been treated with a herbicide to kill invasive species such as mile-a-minute weed and Japanese stilt grass, the newspaper reported.

In Governor Dick Park, workmen have until April 1 to finish cutting the trees on 67 acres affected by the gypsy moths' attacks over the past two years. After logging operations end, park officials will replant the area with native trees and surround them with fencing to protect the seedlings from deer, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal reported. Under a compromise ruling, county commissioners accepted a plan to allow affected trees in another 47 acres of the 1,105-acre park to deteriorate naturally.  

Although Mt. Gretnans returning this spring may be shocked by the acres of formerly wooded land that now has been reduced to tree stumps, broken limbs and raw tracks bearing the imprints of heavy equipment, the devastation is exactly as forester Henry -- a man not given to sugar coating his words -- had told us it would be. "Let's not kid anybody," he said last summer, "the aesthetics won't be pretty."

Indeed, they are not. But along with the stark desolation comes a reassurance: Now more than ever, Mt. Gretnans recognize the vulnerability of their trees and are united in a desire to avoid further damage. The thick forested canopy that once greeted visitors approaching Mt. Gretna along Pinch Road may now be severely impaired. But overarching the damage is a determination to replant, rebuild, and renew for the generations that will follow.

(Dale Grundon photo)



In Other News:
Want to learn chess from one of Scotland's top mentors?  John Dem
Scottish Chess Expert John Dempseypsey, director of Chess Scotland and leader of the Scottish men's team at last year's World Chess Olympiad in Germany, will be here for three months starting in late April, teaching chess to youngsters and adults at all skill levels, including beginners.
Mt. Gretna newcomer Gail Babic, who also competes on the international chess circuit, has details about John's plans for individual or group instruction. Contact her at 717-450-5115 or
click here to send an email.
She says they hope to "cultivate the chess community" in Mt. Gretna. A retired teacher who recently moved to the Campmeeting from the Virgin Islands, Gail points out that studies show "chess not only improves the academic performance of students but also has a very positive impact on fending off Alzheimer's in older people." And, she reminds us, "it's fun and a great way to socialize."
Mt. Gretna borough found itself last month among several municipalities that over a four-year period had received sizable overpayments by mistake from Lebanon's troubled earned income tax bureau. Just how the borough will repay the estimated $221,000 sent in error from 2004 to 2007 hasn't been worked out. But, as the
Lebanon Daily News reported in a story last month, for a town with a $190,000 annual budget, that's a huge sum to make up, even if repayments stretch out over a decade.
Stuff that Amazes Us Dept.: Pianist
Andy Roberts, entertaining dinner patrons at the Timbers for more than an hour on a mid-February night with tunes that included "Basin Street Blues," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," assorted Beatles hits and others -- without glancing, even once, at a single sheet of music.
Dale Grundon, who is to buffet breakfasts what Zagat is to upscale restaurants, each year gives a 5-Fork Rating to the gala affair that's coming up March 21 at Colebrook's
Trinity Lutheran Church. "Start with SOS over hash browns," says the epicurean notable. "Then try the pancakes and scrambled eggs. And don't pass up the mixed fruit table." The pièce de résistance, he concludes, is the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. For breakfast? "What's wrong with that?" asks Dale, truly bewildered by the question. Time: 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Just posted: the Cicada Festival's 2009
online ticket order form. Orders will be processed on a first-come basis, with tickets ($11 each) expected to be mailed starting in late April or early May.  This year's lineup: Aug. 4, Beach Boys tribute (Phil Dirt and the Dozers with Hershey Symphony musicians); Aug. 5, The Vogues; Aug. 6, Shades of Blue Big Band; Aug. 10, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tribute; Aug. 11, Main Street Cruisers oldies band.

Yes, there will be a Kids Art Show again this year. Stepping in to organize the kids show is Faith Mummau, a Mt. Gretnan and also an elementary school art teacher. "Perfect," says art show director Linda Bell, who adds, "I can't tell you how glad I am to find someone so well suited to the job."  Faith and her husband, Brad Ditzler, who is also a teacher, live along Route 117 just east of town.
Adam Harlan, the New York actor who grew up in Mt. Gretna Heights, continues his steady ascent in the theatrical world. His latest play, "My Williamsburg Neighbors Downstairs," premiered (to full house audiences on all three nights) at the
Manhattan Repertory Theater's Winterfest Festival last month.
Acting is in Adam's DNA. His mother, Lorraine, once performed at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse under the direction of the legendary director Charles Coghlan.

Profiled: Heights resident Ella Kramers on the virtues of home workouts with a personal trainer. A former nurse, Ella told the
Patriot-News that those 17-mile treks to the gym got harder last winter after she slipped and fell twice on the ice. The 30-minute sessions cost $60, but the expense is worth it. "I feel my health is the most important thing," she says.
Handy updates for Timber Bridge, Conewago Hill or Timber Hills residents wishing to keep up with municipal news: Drop a note to
Melissa Brown, who edits South Londonderry's quarterly newsletter. She'll add your name to the township's free e-mail distribution list.   
It takes more than pepperoni to keep
Mt. Gretna's pizzeria going during the winter. "Our regular customers have been great," says waitress Rose Bair. (Two regulars, in fact, Reenie Macsisak and Darlene Eckert, pitched in to serve other patrons while Rose attended to family matters following the recent death of her mother.)
Starting this month, the pizzeria (964-1853) is open seven days a week. "Spring's coming," says Rose, who is again serving customers from 11 a.m. on Mondays and from 7 a.m. Tuesday through Sundays.
Keeping the business rolling through Mt. Gretna's slack winter season is always a challenge, but "the breakfasts are really helping," says the popular waitress. "People hear nothing but good things. Newcomers are joining the regulars, and they keep coming back." Because of the waitress' sparkling personality? "Absolutely," says Rose. She adds that Damian and Elidio Orea (her bosses as well as her long-time friends) have now extended the breakfast hours until noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Author Charlotte Valentine will address the Winterites' April 7 meeting, discussing her book "
The Buried Treasure of Mt. Gretna." A frequent summertime visitor and former resident, she will also show a DVD presentation on how her book, a mystery, came to be. Winterite sessions (held on first Tuesdays, October through April, except January), are open to all Mt. Gretnans, at the fire hall, at 1 p.m.

vegetable deliveries may be coming to Mt. Gretna this summer. Heights resident Susan Wood and a few friends are encouraging their Mt. Gretna neighbors to sign up. If you'd like to join them, drop a note to Susan, whose favorite maxims include this reminder: "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother didn't consider food." 

Free self-defense classes for women resume at Governor Dick Nature Center in four Saturday morning sessions beginning March 14. The three-hour classes are for females 16 and older; class size is limited. To register,
email Cornwall police secretary Stephanie Burris, or call 274-2071.

The Mt. Gretna Discussion Group, which holds its 10 a.m. sessions usually on alternate Tuesdays, meets again March 10 in the Mt. Gretna borough board room, just behind the post office. The gatherings are open to all who are interested in learning more about the economy. Moderator Paul Heise--author, lecturer and retired Lebanon Valley College professor of economics -- will also give a four-lecture series, "The Great Recession," starting next month at Lebanon's Covenant United Methodist Church. For details, call 272-0672, or
click here to drop a note to Paul.

Looking for an internship this summer? Gretna Music offers a late-May to early-September position for students pursuing careers in arts management, writing, communications, public relations, marketing or music. Carl Kane will shape exact duties to the intern's specific interests and abilities. The position offers a $3,000 stipend. Details: 717-361- 1508.

Just back from Sweden, Eva Bender will lead a watercolor workshop March 7 at Elizabethtown's
Lynden Gallery. The legendary Mt. Gretna artist, who appeared in 30 consecutive art shows here, will "explore moving from realistic rendering to abstraction, mysterious images in watercolor, incorporating drawing and painting, being open to 'happy accidents' and 'surprises.'" The $95 fee for the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. program includes a lunch of tea sandwiches and desserts. Tel. 717-367-9236 to register. 
Make a barometer from a spaghetti sauce jar? Or a "nature hanging mobile"? Mandy Pennypacker has these and other tricks up her sleeve for adventurers of all ages at Gov. Dick Nature Center March 15. No fee, but call 964-3808 so she'll know you're coming.


So where will the seniors at Lancaster County's Solanco High School take their class trip this spring? Usually, it's to a big amusement park somewhere along the East Coast. But this year, they've opted for a relaxed outing to Mt. Gretna May 26. A school board member, noting budgetary restraints, commended the class for their thoughtful choice, a Lancaster newspaper reported.   



Tracking the history of Mt. Gretna's Carousel

If your memory extends to the days when a carousel whirled in Mt. Gretna, Lebanon researcher Scott Saylor wants to talk to you. Scott's tracking down the history of the carousel, which is about to emerge in a new life this summer as part of a
downtown renewal project in Pottstown, Pa.

What he's learn
Restoring Mt. Gretna's Carousel: It all starts with the animalsed so far is that the carousel, originally built for a park in Cleveland just after the turn of the century, came to Mt. Gretna's former Kauffman Park around 1926. Scott believes that it was relocated to the Mt. Gretna Park, just behind the building that now houses the pizzeria, around 1934. Following the end of World War II, it was sold again and moved to a park near Pine Grove, Pa. Later, it was sold for parts, with most of the carousel animals ending up in California.

Around ten years ago, the town fathers in Pottstown saw an opportunity to make carousel rides the centerpiece of a venture to attract downtown visitors. They bought the dismantled carousel and have been restoring it ever since. This summer, their $2.5 million dream will be realized, the Lebanon Daily News
reported. If you can shed light on the carousel's years in Mt. Gretna, click here to drop Scott a note  or call 717-272-5440.

Questions Readers Ask

[] This past Christmas, Santa was unable to deliver a much hoped-for gift to our nine-year old grandson, James, who requested a Mt. Gretna Cookbook in his letter to Santa.  It happens that he thinks Mt. Gretna cooking is just about the best in the world, and since he is learning to help in the kitchen, he wants to be able to cook the Mt. Gretna way.
We learned that all copies are gone, and there are apparently no plans to print more. Could you ask in your next newsletter if anyone has a cookbook they would be willing to part with? I will be happy to purchase it from the owner or make a donation to the fire company. Thank you.

< > No question about it, there's something magic about that cookbook, which went through three printings as one of the most  popular fire company fundraisers ever. Scott Zellers' favorite recipe was something called "Overnight Eggs." One reader, a restaurant owner, pleaded for help a few years ago in finding a copy. She wanted to add a few of Mt. Gretna's culinary delights to her menu. So if anyone has a copy of "Mt. Gretna Eats" that they'd like to pass along to a young man who'll no doubt treasure it for a lifetime, along with memories of his grandmother and times in Mt. Gretna, please
drop a note to Linda Wilson
Lighting the path for caregivers
For more than two decades, Julia Bucher -- nurse, college professor and author -- has helped people discover surprising sources of strength.

Coaching others, family caregivers especially, is her mission.
Julia Bucher She aids those coping with family members caught up in the throes of chronic illness, guiding them to professional resources, personal strength and an optimism that they can do something about some of the many problems they face. Her work, in association with former Music at Gretna board member and retired Penn State behavioral scientist Peter Houts, has made her one of the country's best-known authorities on the subject of helping families solve the problems and challenges of caregiving.

latest book, co-authored with Peter, will be published this fall. It's yet another link in a series of books once praised by Rosalynn Carter, whose own father confronted the fight against cancer. "I wish there had been a book like this one to help our family," said the former first lady. 

For most caregivers, the biggest fear is that they will "make a mistake," says Julia. Yet once caregivers learn where to get the support and information they need -- and when they need it -- some of their doubts and concerns lessen, particularly about the practical aspects of helping someone at home. "They realize that they can make a difference for the patient as well as themselves. It's often a life-changing experience," she says.

Moving to Mt. Gretna nearly two years ago completes a cycle for Julia. She spent many summers here as a teenager, visiting her great aunt and uncle, Elsie and Harry Stoner (the well-known Ephrata photographer) who owned a Campmeeting cottage on First Street. "I have lots of good memories. And when my husband (architect William Barlow) came to Mt. Gretna for the first time, he fell in love with it, too."

ALYCE G. KRAUSE (1914-2009)

During the nearly 30 years that Alyce Krause lived in Mt. Gretna, she was known as "a wonderful cook, her specialties being soup and old-fashioned Christmas cookies," an
obituary noted following her death at the age of 94 on Feb. 27. She and her husband of 62 years, the late George Krause II, lived on Lancaster Avenue. They had five daughters, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. A native of Lawrence, Mass., she founded the first program for disabled children in Lebanon through United Cerebral Palsy and later served as executive director of that organization. Memorial services will be coordinated by the Miller/Sekely Funeral Home of Elizabethtown.

10 Persons needed for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's next boating safety course March 28 at Governor Dick Park's Nature Center. The training leads to boating safety certificates, required for everyone who operates a boat. The 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. class is free and open to anyone 10 years old and up. But if fewer than 10 sign up, (Tel. 964-3808), they'll cancel the course.
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