NEWS

Remembering Greencastle-Antrim community news, January to April 2021

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

JANUARY

Jan. 5 — A New Year's Eve fire destroyed an Antrim Township barn and its contents. Firefighters from Franklin County and Washington County, Md., as well as a tanker from Adams County responded to the 7:34 p.m. call Thursday, Dec. 31, at 10230 Hades Church Road.

Jan. 7 — Learning is virtual for all students this week and families are being asked to self-isolate through Sunday, Jan. 10, as the Greencastle-Antrim School District prepares to begin 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district wants to avoid the 60 to 80 COVID-19 exposures reported at each building after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jan. 12 — The process will be different and two venues have changed due to COVID-19, but the goal of the Chambersburg AARP TaxAide Program remains the same — to help thousands of local residents get millions of dollars in tax refunds. Although the program name says "Chambersburg," volunteers also have been helping people at sites in Greencastle, Waynesboro and McConnellsburg for years.

Celebrating a century: Greencastle woman, 100, reflects on a life full of family, faith, music, pies and poetry

In photos: Carols, cookies, Santa, s'mores and more highlight Heritage Christmas in Greencastle

Jan. 14 — Dr. Lura Hanks, Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent, believes it is important for kids to play outside, get dirty and figure things out for themselves. But she is thrilled that when they need it, the district's younger students will soon all be on the same page when it comes to technology. Thursday evening the school board approved an agreement for more than $800,000 in federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act broadband grant funding awarded to the district by Franklin County commissioners that will be used, in part, to provide 1,300 iPads for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

JANUARY: Tom Green retired Dec. 31, 2020, after more than 40 years of public utilities work in Antrim Township and the Borough of Greencastle.

Jan. 19 — Tom Green could run a backhoe when he started working for the Borough of Greencastle in 1974, but he said the only thing he knew about water was that it was wet. Over the course of more than four decades, he's learned a whole lot on the job about both water and sewer systems. Green retired Dec. 31, 2020, from an Antrim Township sewer distribution post after a 46-year career in public utilities work — 33 in Greencastle and 13 in the township — that saw him on call 24/7 much of the time.

Jan. 21 — WellSpan Health on Tuesday achieved a COVID-19 vaccine milestone by administering its 20,000th dose to frontline workers and healthcare team members across south-central Pennsylvania. With the expansion of Phase 1A also announced Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, WellSpan is now accepting online vaccine scheduling requests for local residents 65 and older, along with people ages 16 to 64 with medical conditions that make them more at risk for severe illness.

Jan. 26 — Ten months into the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that children and families are grieving the loss of loved ones more than ever. One local foundation is hoping to step up to offer help for such needs. The Drew Michael Taylor Foundation, located in Shippensburg, provides grief education and support groups for kids and adults. Randy and Marcie Taylor started the foundation after the tragic death of their three-year-old son in 2006.

Jan. 28 — The Greencastle-Antrim School District's Destination Design team has spent months working to articulate a "Portrait of a Graduate" and what's needed to fulfill that vision.

The results are five core competencies: critical thinking and social responsibility; creativity and innovation; literacy and communication; physical and emotional health; and general knowledge and academic preparation.

FEBRUARY

Feb. 2 — A planned outage affected about 1,900 West Penn Power customers for nearly eight hours Wednesday as a second transformer was connected at the Upton substation.

The second transformer will allow for residential and business growth in the areas of Antrim, Montgomery and Peters townships and a portion of the Borough of Greencastle served by the substation at the corner of Route 16 and Welsh Run Road.

Feb. 4 — A two-part storm that included some "snizzle" — or snow drizzle — added up to 14 inches for the Greencastle-Antrim area.

Local weather observer Robert Wertime came up with the total at his home on Leitersburg Street in Greencastle between 7 a.m. Sunday and 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Feb. 9 — Vicki Rhodes will again place black balloons around the squares of Greencastle, Hagerstown and Mercersburg on March 6 in memory of her daughter, Teri, and others who have lost their lives to addiction.

This year, she is giving other parents a "chance your child might make it" by spreading the word about how to receive the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone free in the mail.

Feb. 11 — The Greencastle-Antrim School Board has approved five core competencies for district graduates and the next steps toward reaching them will start soon.

At the Feb. 4 meeting, the board heard a summary of the work of the Destination Design Team, a group of 60 parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty, staff, administration, business owners, taxpayers and board members assembled in the fall to articulate a "Portrait of a Graduate"; approved the competencies; and learned what happens next.

FEBRUARY: More than 100 Food Lion stores in five states have been remodeled, contributing to the need for more workers at the ADUSA Distribution LLC distribution center near Greencastle.

Feb. 16 — The remodeling of more than 100 Food Lion grocery stores in five states, the opening of 20 more and the pandemic surge in demand for groceries are fueling a hiring push at ADUSA Distribution LLC's facility on Commerce Avenue in Antrim Township.

Two hundred employees have been hired in the past four months and 100 more are needed, according to a news release from Ahold Delhaize USA, the retail group that owns Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company (GIANT and MARTIN'S), Hannaford and Stop & Shop. ADUSA Distribution LLC is its distribution company.

Feb. 18 — A number of seats on boards representing the Greencastle-Antrim community are up for election this year.

This year's election covers more than half of the seats on the nine-member Greencastle-Antrim School Board. In the Borough of Greencastle, four seats on the seven-member council are on the list this year. The mayor's post will be on the ballot, too.

In Antrim Township, two six-year seats on the board of supervisors are up for election.

Feb. 23 — Could the virtual Wednesdays of 2020-21 in the Greencastle-Antrim School District last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic?

The first look at the 2021-22 calendar at Thursday's school board meeting opened the door to talk about of pros and cons of that possibility.

The board did not make any decisions and the discussion will continue.

Feb. 25 — People across the country have mixed views about whether to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and that's the case in this area, too.

Valerie Meyers, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, said she is hearing strong opinions both for and against vaccination.

"Community members will come in saying that they're anxious to have things back to normal and that the vaccine is the means to make that happen," she said. "I spoke to a vendor who's very interested in participating in an event, but who is firm about not doing so while there is any risk of infection.

"Others, including some members, are adamant about not getting the vaccine, holding to individual rights and some suspicion about its efficacy," she said.

MARCH

March 4 — Lenny Oberholzer wasn’t famous, nor was he infamous. He lived a life like many of us do: quiet, hopeful, thoughtful of others.

He married a woman to whom he was devoted, raised two boys he loved, and cherished precious days with his three young granddaughters. Most of his days, he filled with work, always fixing things.

What he self-diagnosed as a bad cold was actually COVID-19, and five days before Christmas, his wife and sons sat at his hospital bedside while the machines that kept him alive were turned off.

Lennis D. Oberholzer of Marsh Road, Waynesboro, was one of 500,000 people who have died of complications from the coronavirus in the last year in the United States.

March 9 — When Cheryl Walburn plows snow from the paths at Antrim Township Community Park, there's usually someone walking or running right behind her.

The main park off Grant Shook Road is well-used year-round, additional acreage was purchased last year and growing needs made the creation of a full-time parks director position a logical step, according to Jennifer Becknell, township secretary-treasurer.

Walburn, who has worked for the township part time for three years, was named parks director in January. Rodney Eberly, previously both road master and parks director, can now concentrate on roads.

March 11 — The Greencastle-Antrim School Board will see a new proposed 2021-22 school calendar on March 18 after nearly 1,000 comments on the district's latest "drop anchor" survey.

The district has had several "drop anchor" designated dates for assessing how the school year is going amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest survey went out after the possibility of continuing virtual Wednesdays was presented at the Feb. 18 board meeting in relation to next year's calendar.

The survey asked parents about how, given the circumstances, their children's year has been academically, emotionally and in terms of health and safety, as well as their overall satisfaction with the district.

Some took issue with the survey not asking specifically if they favored maintaining virtual Wednesdays, and many of the 995 comments involved just that topic.

March 16 — The historic Martin's Mill Bridge in Antrim Township was recently vandalized with graffiti.

Words, symbols and images were spray-painted on the walls and floor inside the 1849 covered bridge, as well as on the road outside the bridge and the gate blocking it off to traffic.

It is believed the vandalism occurred Monday night, March 8, according to Brad Graham, township administrator.

March 18 — Republican voters in the Greencastle-Antrim School District will have 10 school board candidates to choose from for five seats in the May 18 primary election, while members of the GOP who live in the Borough of Greencastle will select from five candidates for four seats.

Local residents had to file nominating petitions by March 9 to run in the primary, which will narrow the field for the Nov. 2 general election.

MARCH: Pastor David Rawley of Otterbein United Brethren Church plays piano and sings 'Beneath the Cross of Jesus' in the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium's virtual community Palm Sunday service.

March 23 — There wasn't much to organizing the Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium's virtual Palm Sunday service.

It was more like "I'll do this" and "I'll do that" at the recent ministerium meeting as the group decided to take the annual community worship service online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We were all moved by the spirit for our offerings," said Pastor Barbara Barry of Trinity Lutheran Church, where components of the service were taped in individual segments on March 17. They will be compiled and the service will be on the church's YouTube channel and website —tlcgreencastle.org — by Saturday, March 27, the day before Palm Sunday.

March 25 — Families in the Greencastle-Antrim School District are being asked which calendar they prefer for 2021-22, one a traditional version and the other competency-based. The school board is scheduled to make a decision at its meeting on Thursday, April 1.

The possibility of continuing virtual Wednesdays next year came up in February and the community "really engaged in the discussion," according to Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent. In a survey, many families indicated virtual Wednesdays during the COVID-19 pandemic did not work for their children.

At the board's March 18 meeting, Hanks explained the difference between the virtual Wednesdays held every week this year and the proposed calendar with "competency immersion days" on 11 Wednesdays.

March 30 — The Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field is a beautiful facility surrounded by all the school buildings on one campus, according to Vernon McCauley, president of the board of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation.

But for six years, blue port-a-potties just outside the stadium have been the first impression of Greencastle for many people, he continued.

Like many things, GAEF's plans to construct a building to house the ticket booth, restrooms and concession stand were sidelined last year by COVID-19.

The project is back on track with earth-moving to begin soon, a ceremonial ground-breaking ceremony on April 21 and completion before the fall sports season.

APRIL

April 1 — The Greencastle-Antrim School District will take a hard look at how to spend $3.8 million in federal funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping in mind that it is one-time money that can't be counted on for recurring expenses.

The federal aid stems from the passing of The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, aimed at helping get students back in classrooms and addressing learning loss and challenges of equity.

April 6 — The Greencastle-Antrim School Board stepped away from tradition and approved a competency-based calendar for the 2021-22 school year on Thursday, April 1.

The schedule for next year has been discussed since February, when the possibility of continuing the virtual Wednesdays of the COVID-19 pandemic was mentioned.

Several board members stressed before the April 1 vote that the competency-based calendar does not feature virtual Wednesdays like the current year.

Instead, it includes 11 at-home Wednesdays designated "competency immersion days" as the district focuses on the core competencies adopted earlier this year.

April 8 — Emilee Little was named Greencastle's borough manager at Monday night's council meeting.

The meeting was moved to outside borough hall because the audience of nearly 30 people prevented COVID-19 social distancing in council chambers.

Little has overseen day-to-day operations since being named assistant borough manager after former Borough Manager Lorraine Hohl resigned in October. Little joined the borough in 2019 as billing and program coordinator, then was placed in charge of human resources and finance later that year.

April 13 — Tickets are now on sale for the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation's fourth annual Daddy Daughter Dance on Friday, May 21.

The dance, G-AEF's signature fundraiser, was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

This year's event will be held outdoors at Tayamentasachta, the Greencastle-Antrim School District's environmental center.

April 15 — Greencastle-Antrim High School students wore masks and practiced social distancing for last year's virtual Mask-erade Porch Prom. Masks are still required, but an in-person, outdoor prom for seniors is being planned this year on Saturday, May 1, at Green Grove Gardens. Seniors and their guests also will have their temperatures checked when they arrive and other COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be in place.

April 20 — Normal, but different describes end-of-year activities for the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2021.

Dr. Ed Rife, high school principal, told the school board at the April 15 meeting about celebrating the Class of 2021 within COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Plans were formulated after talking with senior class officers and advisers and many details are still being worked out.

"Two Awesome Events = Morning of Senior Celebrations" is how a slide shown at the meeting describes Thursday, May 27, which will feature both Decision Day and the Senior Walk this year.

Commencement, as usual, is scheduled at on the first Saturday in June at 10 a.m. on Kaley Field.

April 22 — A developer has received a state grant for more than $2.3 million to help fund road improvements in the State Line area of Antrim Township.

The $2,378,050 grant to 2017 Greenmount Road, LLC, from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Multimodal Transportation Fund Program was announced April 16.

The grant will support 2017 Greenmount Road in more than $4 million in work on Greenmount and Mason Dixon roads, as well as the access to Interstate 81 Exit 1 at State Line.

APRIL: Dr. Lura Hanks, Greencastle-Antrim School District superintendent, was flanked by major sponsors and Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation representatives at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the $600,000 Kaley Field project on April 21. The building housing a ticket booth, concession stand and restrooms is expected to be finished before the fall sports season.

April 27 — The word "community" came up again and again during a ceremonial ground-breaking for the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation's Kaley Field project on Wednesday, April 21.

Earth-moving by Eagle Construction is already underway and speakers stood where the breezeway entrance of the new building housing a ticket booth, restrooms and concession stand will be located.

The state-of-the-art building is expected to be finished before the fall sports season.

April 29 — The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce is planning the 54th annual Greencastle Sidewalk Days from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, July 9, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10.

The annual event will feature bargains from local merchants, vendors, food and entertainment.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at shardy@gannett.com