THE YEAR IN REVIEW: MAY TO AUGUST 2020
The Greencastle-Antrim School Board officially put furloughs, teacher and program cuts and the elimination of extracurricular activities on the table during a virtual meeting. "Pre-COVID-19, it wasn't good; post-COVID-19, it's disastrous," Caroline Royer, chief financial officer, said in describing the district's fiscal position. Projected revenues for 2020-21 are $39,999,478 and projected expenses are $42,448,579 for a deficit of $2,449,101.
Greencastle-Antrim High School students — some dressed up, some not — had a different prom experience Saturday night, May 2, with Mask-erade Porch Prom, an event organized by the junior class prom committee.
“It’s going to devastate the district if they move forward.” That was the reaction of Greencastle-Antrim Education Association President Brandon Solomon after last week’s resolution by the school board to consider cuts, including teacher positions, to handle economic hits from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ray Mowen covered his ear as he rang the HOCO Museum fire bell Sunday evening during Bells Across Pennsylvania, a COVID-19 initiative of the Pennsylvania Mayors' Association. Before the statewide bell-ringing, Rescue Hose Co. members lined up and displayed apparatus on the apron in front of the fire station, and people from the Greencastle-Antrim community drove by to show their support for frontline responders.
An informal ceremony Thursday morning on Center Square kicked off the hanging of 89 Hometown Hero banners around the Square and on Baltimore and Washington streets in Greencastle. Installation is continuing this week.
On Friday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf did not include Franklin County in the list of counties moving to the COVID-19 yellow phase. In a letter Saturday, lawmakers who represent the county told Wolf they are doing it anyway and support businesses that choose to reopen.
The Greencastle-Antrim School Board has announced its intention to hire Dr. Lura Hanks as the new superintendent of the district during a voting meeting on May 21, according to a news release.
George Simmers has added a new entry to his "spirited" distilling resume that dates backs to his days as a Greencastle-Antrim Middle School student. Simmers, co-owner of Cold Spring Hollow Distillery in Mercersburg, has teamed up with a WellSpan pharmacist to make hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Borough of Greencastle has been given a five-year reprieve in complying with a state mandate to reduce sediment in stormwater runoff. Last week, the borough received a waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System program — commonly known as MS4.
After two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, a retired Army veteran is enjoying some R&R with his family in Greencastle. Meghin, a 10-year-old German shepherd/Belgian malinois mix, was deployed for more than 27 months in combat zones. Most recently he spent more than nine months in Iraq in 2018 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve with his third and final handler and now owner, James Hines II.
The 2020 Franklin County Fair has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fair was set to be held in early July on Warm Spring Road in Chambersburg.
Georgina Cranston, the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's executive director, is leaving after nearly five years in the position. She will continue to work through June 29 before becoming a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center at Shippensburg University.
Change has been the name of the game for the Greencastle-Antrim High School class of 2020, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. A second graduation plan was outlined for the school board last week after Pennsylvania Department of Education guidance put the brakes on an earlier version for a drive-in graduation ceremony on June 6 at Manitowoc. The new plan spreads graduation from Wednesday, June 3, to Saturday, June 6.
The Greencastle-Antrim School Board officially selected Dr. Lura Hanks as the district's new superintendent at its virtual meeting on May 21.
Beginning Friday, May 29, Franklin County enters the "yellow" phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening structure for Pennsylvania in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wolf announced the move last week, with Franklin joining seven other counties transitioning out of the "red" — or strictest — phase of mitigation efforts, which closed businesses other than those considered "life-sustaining" and asked residents to stay at home.
There was neither a parade down Baltimore Street nor a ceremony at Cedar Hill Cemetery, but Memorial Day was still observed in the Greencastle-Antrim community with a virtual program on WRGG.
What Dr. Robert Crider will miss the most when he retires June 30 as the Greencastle-Antrim School District's chief educational officer are the people — the administrative team, the teachers and the students. What he'll miss the least are state mandates and their associated requirements, reports, timelines and deadlines. After 32 years in education, including 22 years in G-A administration, he said it is time for the next chapter in his life.
The Borough of Greencastle has received a five-year waiver before it must meet state-mandated stormwater runoff cleanup requirements, but it has already collected $630,000 in fees from borough residents, mainly to fund a sediment reduction plan. What to do with that money was discussed during a work session at Monday's council meeting and will be the subject of public workshops June 23 and 30. A decision is expected at the borough council meeting on July 6.
Twenty-five percent of Franklin County's registered voters went to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the primary election, postponed from April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior spring for the Greencastle-Antrim High School class of 2020 was like no other as schools were closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and students completed classes online. And last week, they celebrated commencement activities like no other. High school leadership put together a graduation plan focused on the seniors and their accomplishments while involving their families. Seniors selected individual 10-minute graduation slots from Wednesday to Saturday. A graduation procession capped off the festivities with more than 100 vehicles Saturday afternoon, which began on the Manitowoc parking lot, wound through the main streets in Greencastle and ended at the high school.
Honks of support came from passing vehicles as a group gathered on the northwest corner of Center Square Sunday for a Black Lives Matter rally.
Rod and Kim Eckstine opened The Bean and Biscuit Coffeehouse at 18 E. Baltimore St. in downtown Greencastle on June 3. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, orders are carry-out only.
Emma Strait is ready for her life to start becoming normal again. On May 16, the 15-year-old completed treatment for leukemia after being diagnosed on Jan. 17, 2018.
Franklin County has been given the green light by Gov. Tom Wolf, according to a news release from his office late last week. Pennsylvania's governor announced that Franklin, Dauphin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike and Schuylkill counties are moving from yellow to green under the state's phased reopening system on June 19.
The tenure of Dr. Kendra Trail as the Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent has run the gamut from a solar eclipse to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trail, who joined the district in May 2017, is leaving June 30 to become assistant executive director of Lincoln Intermediate Unit No. 12.
Members of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board met briefly Thursday to address a health and safety plan for athletics related to COVID-19. The board voted unanimously to move forward with a participation wavier for student athletes that outlines health and safety precautions. The district will require the waiver to be signed before students participate in sports-related activities.
Greencastle property owners will be getting back at least some of the money they've paid for the borough's storm water management fee. All borough council members indicated at a workshop Tuesday they want to refund — whether some or all — of the $630,000 that's been collected since the fee was enacted in 2019.
A beloved name in Waynesboro's coffee community is coming soon to Greencastle. Brio Coffeehouse will open a second location next month in the borough, at 112 S. Antrim Way.
Readers are excited to have access to new books again at the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle. The Greencastle library, like those across the Franklin County Library System, closed in March due to COVID-19. Curbside pickup started at Besore earlier this month, and the doors of the library are scheduled to reopen Monday, July 13.
Grace's Free Closet at Grace United Church of Christ, 128 E. Baltimore St., Greencastle, has reopened.
Two months after the potential for deep cuts was announced, due to a projected budget deficit of nearly $2.5 million, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board approved a 2020-21 spending plan Monday evening that is just $665 in the red. The budget, with revenues of $41,348,848 and expenditures of $41,349,513, is supported with a 3.4 percent property tax hike, the maximum allowed.
With the well-being of the entire community in mind and after much deliberation, the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce board decided Wednesday to cancel the 53rd annual Greencastle Sidewalk Days, scheduled for July 10 and 11.
The Echo Pilot's office at 24 E. Baltimore St., Greencastle, has been closed, but the content and publication of Greencastle-Antrim's hometown newspaper will not change. The move consolidates the Echo Pilot and The Record Herald to one physical location in Waynesboro, as both newspapers are owned by Gannett.
Expanding on the business safety order signed by Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in April that requires the wearing of masks in businesses, Gov. Tom Wolf last week announced a new order signed by Levine that takes the mask-wearing directive one step further. With this order, signed July 1 with Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home, according to a news release from the governor's office. The order took effect immediately.
Greencastle property owners will receive some of the money they paid in stormwater management fees back by Sept. 30. The rebate was one of a number of decisions related to the stormwater fund and utility made Monday by Greencastle Borough Council. It comes after two work sessions in June to decide how to move forward since the borough received a five-year waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer system) sediment reduction requirements related to Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts.
The board of directors of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce has named Valerie Meyers interim director. She fills the position vacated by Georgina Cranston, who transitioned to Shippensburg University's Small Business Development Center June 1.
Greencastle-Antrim High School graduate Myles Gayman has signed a rookie contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
Ted Alexander of Greencastle, a man with iconic knowledge of local and Civil War history and a passion for sharing it, passed away July 8 at age 70. He was a charter and board member of Greencastle's Allison-Antrim Museum Inc., founder and coordinator of Chambersburg Civil War Seminars and Tours and chief historian at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.
Greencastle's Sidewalk Days was canceled this year, but one corner of Center Square looked somewhat like it usually does for the annual event. Shoppers from across the region perused the sale merchandise outside ELM Shoes and ELM Department Store on Friday and Saturday. A little farther up East Baltimore Street, the shop hosted a barn sale. Next door, Grace United Church of Christ offered an indoor and outdoor yard sale and grab-and-go lunch on Friday.
Greencastle Borough Council adopted a policy for how its members interact with staff during this month's meeting. The resolution establishes "clear lines of communication and a chain of command," according to Steve Miller, council president, who added many municipalities have similar policies.
The 36th annual Fred Kaley 5K Race will be held Saturday, Aug. 1, with COVID-19 precautions in place.
The Greencastle-Antrim School District is ready to start the 2020-21 school year — both physically and virtually — with a plan reflecting Pennsylvania's green phase of COVID-19 recovery. The district also is prepared to continue instruction if the state reverts to yellow or red. The first day of school is Aug. 24, pending school board approval on Aug. 6.
Out of an abundance of caution for attendees, volunteers and sponsors, the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors made the decision to cancel the seventh annual Craft Beer and Wine Fest, originally scheduled for April 18 and postponed to October.
The Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program that started providing free books earlier this year to young children who live in the Greencastle-Antrim School District is branching out to Mont Alto and Fayetteville, and a grant is being sought to add Waynesboro to the list.
Equipment and hay were lost Tuesday evening, July 21, in fire at an Antrim Township farm building. Rescue Hose Co. Fire Chief Kevin Barnes said it took 60 firefighters a little over an hour to control the blaze, which occurred at about 6:30 p.m. in the 60- by 40-foot structure at 12251 Ridge Road. He said the cause of the fire was accidental.
"This is a big night for Antrim Township," Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corp., said Tuesday as township supervisors and members of the planning commission heard about plans for a fulfillment center that would create 2,000 jobs and a cold storage facility with about 80 jobs. The fulfillment center is proposed along Milnor Road East in the Antrim Commons Business Park off U.S. 11 south of Greencastle near Exit 3 of Interstate 81. U.S. Cold Storage wants to build at a site off Hykes Road near Greenmount Road just north of State Line.
Harold "Marty" Zimmerman III has battled anxiety all his life and is now sharing his personal "weapons" with others in a 30-day devotional. "Battle Fear and Win: A 30-Day Devotional for the Fearful at Heart" was released in mid-July.
Greencastle Borough Council is looking to ban open burning except for recreation and ceremonial purposes, but that hinges on getting a single trash hauler to serve the whole borough, including picking up sticks and limbs.
U.S. 11 just south of the Borough of Greencastle will close for three weeks starting Wednesday, Aug. 19, for a bridge replacement project. Local emergency officials are preparing for the associated detour and delays — and they are bracing for what could happen if Interstate 81, the designated detour route, shuts down while U.S. 11, the other main north-south road through the area, is closed.
Greencastle-Antrim School Board members approved the district's reopening health and safety plan at Thursday evening's meeting. The move sets the stage for students to return to classrooms Aug. 24, for the first time since schools were closed in March due to COVID-19.
Greencastle-Antrim High School junior Nathan Kirkwood was introduced to the school board as the newest student representative at Thursday evening's meeting. Nathan was one of four juniors who ran for the position and was elected before schools were closed in March due to COVID-19.
The Greencastle-Antrim School District will use federal CARES Act funding to continue its Equal Technology Opportunities initiative at the middle school level. Last week the school board approved the use of $178,000 in coronavirus-related grant funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to lease 830 iPads for middle school students and teachers.
Two projects, including a fulfillment center creating an estimated 2,000 jobs, can move forward after receiving variances from the Antrim Township Zoning Hearing Board Thursday evening. Plans for both a fulfillment center for a company that has not yet been identified publicly, and U.S. Cold Storage, which would bring about 80 jobs, exceeded the township's height limit of 50 feet in an industrial zone.
Usually, going back to school means buying new notebooks, fresh pencils, perhaps replacing an old backpack. But this year, it also will entail getting your kid a new reusable cloth mask or two. Students who return to school this year are required to wear face masks at all times while they are indoors, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced Monday.
The doors of Greencastle-Antrim schools opened to students for the first time since being closed in March due to COVID-19 as the 2020-21 school year began Monday morning.
COVID-19 has affected Franklin County in many ways, but it did not relocate it. The county is a microcosm of the rest of the nation in terms of the impact of the coronavirus, "but we will come out better than a lot of places," Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., said during a virtual presentation hosted by the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by F&M Trust Thursday morning. "We're still within a 12-hour drive of 50% of the North American population," Ross said.
About a dozen and a half people came from communities including Greencastle, Waynesboro, Chambersburg and Upper Strasburg for a town hall meeting centered largely on COVID-19 and hosted by state Rep. Paul Schemel and state Sen. Judy Ward Tuesday evening. They were seated with social distancing at the picnic tables in a pavilion at Antrim Township Community Park and afterward the two Republican lawmakers, who represents parts of Franklin County, donned masks to speak with people individually.
A man suffered second- and third-degree burns and four people were displaced by a kitchen fire in Antrim Township Tuesday afternoon. The man suffered burns to his hands and arms in the cooking-related fire, according to Rescue Hose Co. Fire Chief Kevin Barnes. He was treated on the scene by Waynesboro ambulance and Medic 2 personnel then flown to Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.