NEWS

THE YEAR IN REVIEW: SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2020

Echo Pilot
SEPTEMBER — The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet was replaced this year with a casual outdoor annual meeting in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines. The meeting was sponsored by 1st Ed Credit Union, which was represented by, from left, Amy Bortner, Kelly Daugherty, Sara Hollinshead, Danae Diller and Amanda Dickson.

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 1

A discovery during a father-and-son "adventuring" trip to Martin's Mill Bridge in Antrim Township on July 29 and a bit of detective work have reunited a Greencastle man with the class ring he lost 45 years ago. Jeremy Knowlton of Heathsville, Va., found John W. Thomas Jr.'s ring while metal detecting in the east branch of the Conococheague Creek, as his son, Shrade, splashed in the water nearby.

Sept. 3

Thousands of drivers will have to wait an extra two days before resuming their travels on U.S. 11 south of Greencastle. The road, traveled by about 13,000 vehicles a day, was scheduled to reopen Wednesday, Sept. 9, after being closed since Aug. 19 for a bridge replacement project. It is now scheduled to open Friday, Sept. 11.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a second renewal of his 90-day disaster declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic Monday. He originally signed it March 6 following the announcement of the first two presumptive positive cases of the virus in the commonwealth.

Sept. 10

Five people were charged last week in connection with a fatal drug overdose in a Greencastle apartment early this year. Trevor Witmer, 25, was found dead in a bedroom of his South Carlisle Street apartment on Jan. 28.

More:G-AMS newcomers get together for sweet treat

Greencastle-Antrim Middle School students who are new to the district got a sweet welcome with a serious purpose last week. A treat at Mikie's Ice Cream usually caps a field trip to local places of interest for the newcomers group, but off-campus outings are limited under the school district's COVID-19 reopening health and safety plan. So, Marty and Dawn Boscolo, who own Mikie's Ice Cream and Green Cow Gift Shop, brought the makings for ice cream sundaes — vanilla ice cream, chocolate and strawberry syrup, whipped cream and homemade waffle cone bowls — to the middle school cafeteria on Thursday, Sept. 3.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District will "drop anchor" Sept. 30 and evaluate what is working and what isn't with its approach to education during the COVID-19 pandemic, but adjustments have already been made since school started Aug. 24. Much of the discussion at the Sept. 3 board meeting was related to COVID-19 in one way or another, from a possible access road on the school campus to technology.

Sept. 15

A. Duie Pyle, a West Chester-based transportation and distribution service company, opened the doors of a logistics center just south of Greencastle in Antrim Township on Sept. 8. The center, along U.S. 11 across from Corelle Brands, is expected to eventually employ around 125 people.

The latest Grove all-terrain cranes outfitted for the military are departing from Shady Grove and setting out to U.S. Army missions throughout the world. The Grove GMK4060HC (HC for heavy crane) is specifically engineered for military use.

Sept. 17

The traditional holiday events will not be held in Greencastle this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce is planning different ways to celebrate the 30th annual Heritage Christmas with the theme "Naughty or Nice?"

The Greencastle area now has another spot to get a cup of coffee. Brio Coffeehouse Inc., a well-established and popular coffee shop in downtown Waynesboro owned by Rodney and Janelle Cool, has branched out to a second location at 112 S. Antrim Way in Greencastle.

Sept. 22

The Greencastle-Antrim School District's No. 1 priority as the delayed fall sports season gets underway amid the COVID-19 pandemic is "trying to do the best thing for our kids," according to Vicki Ritchey, athletic director. Golf teed off earlier this month, but the rest of the opening action is this weekend and next week.

A Sulfur, Okla., trucker is facing numerous citations after his tractor-trailer ran over and heavily damaged the stone area around the flagpole on Center Square early Sunday morning, according to Greencastle police.

Sept. 24

A memorandum and survey dated Sept. 16 and sent to Greencastle residents concerning a number of topics was not sent by the borough and contains misleading information. The mailing mentions the borough’s stormwater utility, garbage collection, council meeting rules of order and a potential fire tax.

Cumberland Valley School of Music has expanded into Greencastle and acquired Growing with Music, 42 Center Square, Greencastle.

Sept. 29

The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet was replaced this year with a casual outdoor annual meeting in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines. Chamber members gathered Thursday evening in a pavilion at Antrim Township Community Park to socialize and hear remarks from Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corp.; Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.; and state Rep. Paul Schemel.

The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce has announced that with the recent court ruling regarding the constitutional liberty to gather, plans for the 2020 Heritage Christmas season have been re-evaluated. Formerly canceled, activities around Center Square on the first two Friday nights in December — Dec. 4 and 11 — have been reinstated.

OCTOBER — The Race for Education was still fun, but different from years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCTOBER

Oct. 1

Safety equipment protected members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School football team from more than just physical injuries at last week's football game. The Blue Devils are cleared to take on the Waynesboro Indians this Friday after possibly being exposed to COVID-19 during their season opening win at Susquehanna Township Sept. 25.

The annual Apple Festival at the Greencastle-Antrim School District's environmental education center is the latest community event to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebration of all things related to apples and the fall season will not be held at Tayamentasachta this year.

Oct. 6

State Rep. Paul Schemel, a Republican whose district includes Greencastle and Antrim Township, tested positive for COVID-19 last week and his offices will be closed to the public until Friday, Oct. 16.

The Greencastle-Antrim community is divided on whether all high school students should return to in-person school four days a week, children go home from school happy most of the time and the kids don't like masks, but are good about wearing them. Those are a few of the results of a survey of parents, students and staff members conducted in conjunction the Greencastle-Antrim School District's "drop anchor" day on Sept. 30. That date was set to look at what's working and what's not since schools reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic and to make changes as necessary.

Oct. 8

The resignation of Lorraine Hohl, borough manager, was accepted by Greencastle Borough Council members at Monday evening's meeting. Several council members jokingly voted "no" before accepting, with regret, her resignation effective Oct. 22. Hohl resigned for health reasons.

More than 30 people packed the room at Monday night's Greencastle Borough Council meeting in relation to a group calling itself "Citizens for Transparency" and a survey sent to some borough residents last month. Most of the people who signed the letter accompanying the survey, as well as other residents, addressed council members about issues in the letter and survey. The letter was signed by Charles Eckstine and Frank Webster, past council presidents; Brian Harbaugh, business owner; and Albert W. Miller and Jan Shafer, property owners.

New guidance from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary of health, is a game-changer for spectators at Greencastle-Antrim sporting events. While the Kaley Field stands still won't be packed for Friday night football, all student athletes can now have at least a couple of spectators per game beginning Friday, Oct. 9.

Oct. 13

Rich Murphy is used to "doing for others" and found it humbling when a new furnace and air conditioning system were installed in his home on Oct. 8. "He puts friends and family first ... he puts his life on the back burner," said Tim Stenger, owner of Premier HVAC Services of Greencastle. The furnace was provided through the Lennox International Feel The Love program, while Premier HVAC contributed the air conditioner and installation.

Literacy and creativity at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School got a boost last week with a $10,000 donation from VerStandig Media.

Oct. 15

More than two dozen alleys connect streets in Greencastle and most local residents know how to navigate them. However, many of the alleys don't have names or signs, which can cause problems for emergency responders or visitors unfamiliar with the area, according to Lorraine Hohl, borough manager. Work has been underway for months to name all the alleys in Greencastle and Greencastle Borough Council will consider an ordinance to make the names official at its Nov. 2 meeting.

The Greencastle Christmas Parade — scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 — has been canceled. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is not approving road closures, and many regular participants would not be able to attend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new release from VerStandig Media, parade sponsor.

Oct. 20

The Greencastle-Antrim School District reported its first case of COVID-19 in a letter to families on Sunday. The district was informed Sunday that a middle school student has the coronavirus, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, said in the letter.

Greencastle-Antrim kindergarten students circled the track at Kaley Field just as fast as their little legs could carry them. Fifth-graders took a more leisurely walk as they sported shirts in the school colors blue and gold. The elementary and primary school principals and assistant principals rode around the in-field in a tricked out golf cart wearing silly costumes, wigs and sunglasses. Friday's Race for Education was still fun, but different from years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More:Leah's Legacy Operations Center provides bags of hope for women in recovery

Just months before she died of a fentanyl overdose, Leah Straley called her parents from a sober living home and excitedly told them about the Christmas gift bag she received from a church group. The 26-year-old died on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2018, and in her memory, her parents, Mike and Robin Straley, recreated that Christmas experience with Leah's Legacy Bags. The purple bags — Leah's favorite color — are filled with personal care items, pens and notebooks, snacks, socks and other items and are intended to provide hope, joy and love to women in sober living homes and support groups.

Oct. 22

U.S. Rep. John Joyce, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 13th Congressional District, hosted a rally in support of President Trump's re-election in Franklin County on Tuesday. The event, held at Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle, also featured conservative Congressmen Jim Jordan and Warren Davidson, both of Ohio.

Oct. 27

Two more cases of COVID-19 have been detected at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School — bringing the total to three. The superintendent is asking families to screen children before they go to school and to help with the emotional side of the virus.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District's expenditures related to COVID-19 are an estimated $1 million for the current school year. The 2020-21 budget includes $400,000 set aside for expenditures related to coronavirus health and safety. Many of the other COVID-19 costs for the current year have been covered by federal and state grants, but that may not be the case next year, Caroline Royer, chief financial officer said during a review of the numbers at the Oct. 15 school board meeting.

Oct. 29

The Greencastle Shade Tree commission has oversight of more than 650 trees valued at just over $2.5 million. Jeremy Layman, chair of the commission, relayed the results of an inventory completed a number of months ago to his fellow borough council members at this month's meeting.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School continues to climb. Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, notified families of a fourth positive at the school in a letter Wednesday morning.

NOVEMBER — Polls were 'busy, busy, busy' on election day. Pam and Gary Shatzer voted at Greencastle Baptist Church, where they are shown with poll worker Lucy Filino, center.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 3

Greencastle-Antrim Middle School eighth-graders began two weeks of online learning Monday due to COVID-19. "We hope that this two-week time will settle the increased cases for what seems to be a targeted population in our Greencastle schools," Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, wrote in a letter to families on Friday. Hanks announced the move when there were four positive cases among eighth-grade students, as well an eighth-grade teacher. Two more eighth-grade cases were confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total to six students.

Nov. 5

"Busy, busy, busy" is how poll workers described election day at a sampling of locations in Greencastle and Antrim Township on Tuesday. The results of the presidential election were still up in the air as the Echo Pilot went to press, but high numbers of local residents made their voices count whether in person or via mail-in ballot.

Franklin County is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. The county now is in the "substantial" category for community transmission, meaning more than 100 out of 100,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the most recent seven-day reporting period.

More:Art students restore Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial emblems

Nov. 10

Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Art Club donned masks and picked up paint brushes Nov. 4 to restore the emblems at the Greencastle-Antrim Veterans Memorial. There is an emblem for each branch of the military in front of the granite memorial outside Greencastle Borough Hall.

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board is seeking applicants to fill the seat of Mike Still, who is moving out of the district due to work.

Greencastle-Antrim’s Weber Long and Claire Paci were among the top performers Saturday at the PIAA state championships. Long, a junior, placed third in the Class AA boys race for the second straight year, covering the challenging 3.1-mile course in 16:47. Paci, a freshman, shined in her state debut, placing fourth in the Class AAA girls race in 19:08.

Nov. 12

Greencastle-Antrim High School has moved to all-virtual instruction through the Thanksgiving holiday because of COVID-19. As of Monday afternoon there were seven positive cases at the high school and dozens of other students had been exposed to the virus.

The Greencastle Police Department is merging its professional approach with a community project by collecting the '10 Most Wanted' contributions in a round-up to benefit the Greencastle Food Pantry.

The Greencastle-Antrim High School girls' soccer team went undefeated in the regular season, finishing with a 14-0 record. "I caught lightning in a bottle," said Coach Chris Noblit. The Blue Devils defeated Cocalico 2-0 in the PIAA District 3 Class AAA quarter finals Nov. 4 before falling 1-0 to Lampeter-Strasburg in the semi-final game on Nov. 7.

Nov. 17

Greencastle's Christmas tree, donated by the Kennedy family, arrived on Center Square Thursday and is being decorated this week by GW Electric. There is no tree-lighting ceremony this year due to COVID-19, but the tree will be illuminated by this weekend, according to Valerie Meyers, interim executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

COVID-19 is now affecting all four buildings in the Greencastle-Antrim School District, with positive cases among younger students reported late last week. Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, announced the first cases at the primary school, a first-grader, and the elementary school, a third-grader, in a letter to families on Thursday. On Saturday, the list grew with one student each in kindergarten and first, second and third grades.

The first COVID-19 ramifications for Franklin County winter sports have arrived. On Friday, Greencastle-Antrim Athletic Director Vicki Ritchey announced that the district will not field a high school or middle school wrestling team.

Nov. 19

Saundra Wingert said God tapped her one the shoulder after she heard there would not be a community Thanksgiving service in Greencastle this year. After much debate, the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium had decided to sideline the long-standing tradition because of COVID-19 safety concerns and restrictions. Wingert received the blessing of the ministerium and organized a virtual community Thanksgiving service that was taped Nov. 12 at Trinity Lutheran Church.

The first drop off Monday at the Operation Christmas Child central collection site at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church was 483 shoeboxes filled by members of Genesis Church, which meets at Shalom Christian Academy. A short time later, Diane Martin of Greencastle stopped by the church to get two empty shoeboxes to fill with her daughter, Erin, something they've done together for more than 10 years. Whether it is 483 or two, the shoeboxes being collected through Monday, Nov. 23, will be among the tens of thousands packed by local residents for needy children around the world. Last year, people from Franklin County and part of Cumberland County filled about 34,000 shoeboxes for the Samaritan's Purse project.

COVID-19 is disrupting operations in the Borough of Greencastle, with the public works department sidelined, the borough office closed and modified schedules with limited public contact at the waste water and water treatment plants.

Hagerstown police, with the assistance of Greencastle police, arrested another suspect Monday in the Oct. 14 shooting death of a Waynesboro man. Hagerstown police had Brock Jerome Smith, 31, of Hagerstown under surveillance Monday when authorities thought they spotted him getting into a car. Greencastle police were called to assist when the vehicle got off Interstate 81 onto Route 16, also known as East Baltimore Street in Greencastle, authorities said. Smith was taken into custody without incident around 12:20 p.m. Monday in the 400 block of East Baltimore Street.

Nov. 24

The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly in the Greencastle-Antrim School District. In-school exposures have now occurred at Greencastle-Antrim Elementary and, at Thursday's school board meeting, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, said high school instruction will remain virtual until after Christmas vacation.

Charles Ford told Greencastle-Antrim School Board members he is "a mass transportation specialist with a focus on delivery ... a school bus driver." Board members cited Ford's enthusiasm, personality and unique perspective as they came to a consensus at Thursday's meeting for him to fill the seat left vacant in their ranks by the resignation of Mike Still, who is moving from the district.

DECEMBER — Santa Claus sat in a red antique pickup loaded with presents at Heritage Christmas Friday evening in Greencastle. The Jolly Old Elf sported a mask and was socially distanced from the children lined up on The Life Center parking lot for pictures. He's pictured here with Bristol Bard and her mom Brittany.

DECEMBER

Dec. 1

COVID-19 came close, but it could not sideline the Christmas celebration in the Greencastle-Antrim community. The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce originally thought the 30th annual Heritage Christmas would have to be canceled, but a modified version of the celebration will be held downtown on Friday evenings along with outdoor activities at the High Line Train Station on South Jefferson Street and Allison-Antrim Museum on South Ridge Avenue.

Dec. 3

The community helped the Greencastle Police Department in its roundup of the 10 Most Wanted — food items for the Greencastle-Antrim Food Pantry.Donations of canned goods and other non-perishables covered tables, chairs and the floor of the lobby at the police station, with an estimated 10,000 items collected.

State Sen. Judy Ward, a Republican whose district includes Greencastle and Antrim Township, is working remotely after testing positive for COVID-19. “Today I was tested and received results that I am positive for COVID-19," Ward said in an email Monday evening. "I believe it occurred at a Thanksgiving gathering. I am grateful that my symptoms are minor."

Dec. 8

Greencastle-Antrim High School and the Special Olympics have set up an inclusive opportunity for students. The school has formed a Unified Indoor Bocce program beginning his winter. The program is co-ed, and combines students with and without disabilities.

More:Author shares lessons from saints who have 'walked through the valley of depression'

Dec. 10

Diana (Stottlemyer) Gruver did not plan for her book "Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints Who Struggled with Depression and Doubt" to be released during a pandemic. But lessons from the lives of the revered figures speak to the depression and anxiety many people are feeling today, according to the 30-year-old Greencastle resident, whose book came out Nov. 24.

Earth-moving is expected to begin on the first work day in 2021 for a 1.9-million-square-foot fulfillment center in the Antrim Commons Business Park. Eric Watts of NorthPoint Development told Antrim Township supervisors Tuesday evening the company expects to close on a deal with a client by the end of the year and to mobilize on the project Jan. 4. A non-disclosure agreement prevents Watts from identifying the client for the fulfillment center, which is expected to eventually create 2,000 jobs.

Greencastle residents will pay the same in property taxes, less in storm water management fees and more in sewer fees under budgets approved Monday evening.

Dec. 15

Santa Claus sat in a red antique pickup loaded with presents at Heritage Christmas Friday evening in Greencastle. The Jolly Old Elf sported a mask and was socially distanced from the children lined up on The Life Center parking lot for pictures. "Everyone is doing their best to be safe and look out for one another," said Valerie Meyers, interim director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce. Some features of the 30th annual Heritage Christmas were the different, but the spirit was the same as the celebration was held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than three dozen new ramps on sidewalks across Greencastle have been installed to improve Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility. The project, funded largely by a Community Development Block Grant, wrapped up last week.

Dec. 17

Three days of performances are going into the Greencastle-Antrim High School winter concert that will last about 45 minutes. That observation came from Roz Bingaman, choir director, Monday as small instrumental groups came together to play music. More musicians were on the schedule for Tuesday and Bingaman was looking forward to seeing and hearing her vocal students in person on Wednesday, weather permitting. The small-group performances will be combined by sound engineer Bob Ranalli from All Sound Pro LLC of Chambersburg to create the selections in the G-AHS virtual winter concert. The show will go on despite COVID-19 thanks to a proposal from Peter Vincenti, band director, and Bingaman that was approved by the school board on Dec. 3. Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, called the the cost not to exceed $1,695 "valuable use of COVID money," referring to federal CARES Act educational funding.

Greencastle-Antrim Middle School is going virtual through the holidays after seeing seven confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 14 days. Instruction for middle-schoolers will be online from Thursday, Dec. 17, until after the holidays, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent said in a letter to families Monday evening.

Dec. 22

An estimated 10,000 people have been buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in the last 150 years and the board of managers wants to make sure it can be the final resting place of generations to come. The nonprofit cemetery is in good financial shape now, but revenues are decreasing and costs are increasing as Cedar Hill is affected by a nationwide change in what happens when people pass away. The annual budget for the cemetery is around $100,000 and there are several major projects on the horizon. "As we enter our 151st year, the board is currently looking strategically at short- and long-term options to keep Cedar Hill Cemetery an attractive landmark and a viable organization in the Greencastle-Antrim community for years to come," Jeff Shank, board president, said.

Winter Storm Gail delivered less than a punch than predicted Wednesday, but local residents still had the chore of digging out and the fun of playing in the snow. The nor'easter delivered anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of snow in south-central Pennsylvania. Forecasters had said the area would see 1 to 2 feet of snow. In Greencastle, total accumulation was just over 8 inches, according to local weather observer Robert Wertime. He measured 7.8 inches of snow and four-tenths of an inch of sleet at his home on Leitersburg Street.

Dec. 24

The year in review: January to April 2020.

Dec. 31

The year in review: May to August 2020.

The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently appointed Valerie Meyers as the new executive director by an unanimous vote. Meyers was named interim executive director in June 2020 with the departure of Georgina Cranston. Meyers has been at the chamber since September 2015 as executive assistant, with multiple administrative responsibilities. She also was community liaison for chamber events such as Sidewalk Days and Heritage Christmas, according to a news release from the chamber.