● Want to learn chess from one of Scotland's top mentors?
John Dempsey, 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
Acting is in Adam's DNA. His mother, Lorraine, once performed at the Mt.
Gretna Playhouse under the direction of the legendary director Charles
● 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.
● Organic 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
● 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
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