Remembering Greencastle-Antrim community news, May to August 2021

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

MAY

May 4 — Local residents can observe National Day of Prayer both in person and online Thursday, May 6. The Greencastle-Antrim Christian Women's Fellowship and Greencastle-Antrim Ministerium videotaped a virtual service that can be viewed throughout the day and are planning a prayer gathering at noon in the Citizens Pavilion at Jerome R. King Playground.

May 6 — U.S. Congressman John Joyce took a fast-paced tour of the APX Enclosures facility in Antrim Township last week.

May 11 — An overhaul of Greencastle's main downtown street is expected to continue through mid-September. In addition to the entire length of Baltimore Street (Route 16) in the Borough of Greencastle, the 3.41-mile Pennsylvania Department of Transportation project extends west into Antrim Township.

YEAR IN REVIEW, Part I: Remembering Greencastle-Antrim community news, January to April 2021

COVID-19: Greencastle-Antrim School District makes face coverings optional after high court decision

May 13 — The Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Greencastle resident Debby Cunningham as executive director following the resignation of Valerie Meyers, who will be leaving in mid-July.

May 18 — Nearly 220 Hometown Hero banners line Greencastle streets, honoring the military service of local residents from World War I through the present. Now some Greencastle-Antrim High School students are working to map out the locations of the banners and tell the stories of the honorees.

May 20 — The Peer Leaders at Greencastle-Antrim High School will be reaching out at two events next week to help one of their peers who has battled leukemia for almost four years. Jake Schaffer-Bream, a G-AHS junior, is recovering at Hershey Medical Center after undergoing a stem cell transplant nearly two months ago.

Challengers swept the Republican races for Greencastle-Antrim School Board and Greencastle Borough Council in Tuesday's primary election.

May 25 — A parade of vehicles went through Greencastle Saturday evening in a COVID-19 hybrid of the Relay For Life. For the second year, the American Cancer Society fundraiser could not be held in its usual form at the Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field due to the coronavirus.

MAY — Students in Brenda Leiboldt's Greencastle-Antrim Middle School autistic support class, compete in the 50-yard walk at the G-lympics on May 20.

The Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are still two months away, but about 50 athletes competed on the Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field Thursday, May 20. The event was billed as the G-lympics, and spearheaded by teacher Susan Wright after the cancellation of Franklin County Special Olympics for a second year due to COVID-19.

May 27 — Fresh from a Civil War battlefield, a wounded soldier was draped over a table and a doctor prepared to operate. It didn't go well. The patient died, bystanders screamed and in the background, a band played "Taps." The scene was popular with participants and visitors alike at the annual Cumberland Life Festival presented Tuesday by Greencastle-Antrim Middle School eighth-graders at Tayamentasachta, the school district's environmental center.

The Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce have announced the formation of a joint business partnership: the Cumberland Valley Business Alliance (CVBA). CVBA is an alliance created to serve as a unified voice of business in the Cumberland Valley region and has a combined membership approaching 1,000 businesses.

JUNE

June 3 — A crisp blue sky with fluffy white clouds provided the backdrop for blue and white caps and gowns as members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2021 took their Senior Walk the morning of May 27. The walk, back after a year's hiatus due to COVID-19, is a precursor to the commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 5.

Those from the Greencastle-Antrim community and across the nation who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the United States were remembered during a Memorial Day ceremony May 31 at Greencastle's Cedar Hill Cemetery.

June 8 — The stands of Kaley Field were filled like they haven't been in more than a year as 218 members of the Class of 2021 graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School on Saturday, June 5.

JUNE — Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2021, ready to enter Kaley Field for commencement on June 5.

The lifting of Pennsylvania's COVID-19 capacity limits came just in time for unlimited friends and family to pack the bleachers on both sides and line up along the fence to salute their favorite graduates.

June 10 — It wasn't one for the record books, but the Good for the Sole shoe collection still put its best foot forward.

Over 8,500 pairs were donated to the effort spearheaded by the Greencastle-based VerStandig Media and supported by ELM Shoes, Middletown Valley Bank, Chambersburg Waste Paper and the Borough of Greencastle.

It would have taken close to 4,000 more pairs to break the Guinness World Record of 12,482 for the longest chain of shoes set by the Shoeman Water Project at the University of Missouri in May 2011.

June 15 — More than 150 business leaders and community members joined the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce for the launch of the Cumberland Valley Business Alliance (CVBA) June 8.

June 17 — Sometimes it seems like WRGG 93.7 FM's been on the air for five minutes and sometimes it seems like 50 years, according to Wade Burkholder, development director.

Greencastle-Antrim's low-power, nonprofit radio station debuted five years ago on June 14, 2016, and capped more than a year of unprecedented community involvement during the COVID-19 pandemic with a drive-by fund drive on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12.

June 22 — Rhonda Kershner was a staple of Franklin County athletics for over a decade, coaching Greencastle-Antrim Middle School and High School girls volleyball, in addition to a club team in Waynesboro. Now, a year after her passing, her family is giving back to that community in her honor. A girls volleyball tournament will be held this November to honor Kershner, with proceeds going to benefit volleyball programs in the county.

June 24 — Dr. Grace Bert Cannon could add another chapter to her autobiography "All of It" after the June 17 meeting of the Greencastle-Antrim School Board.

The 84-year-old was wheeled into the library near the end of the meeting for the start of a presentation which concluded in the new Cannon Courtyard Outdoor Classroom donated by her son Pete Cannon and his wife, Julia.

Their gift in honor of the 1954 graduate of the old Greencastle High School on Washington Street also includes 16 microscopes and five lab balances.

The Walnut Creek, Calif., resident thought she was in her hometown to sign copies of her 600-plus-page memoir, which is described on the cover as being about "the ups and downs of a small-town girl turned scientist and single mother."

June 29 — Members of the Greencastle-Antrim Lioness Club came together for one final time June 19 as the club is ready to disband at the end of the month after more than 40 years in the community.

"We can hold our heads up high and say this is what we accomplished. We can be proud of everything we've done for the community over the years," said Suanne Miller, club president and a member for 41 of its 42 years.

The Greencastle-Antrim Lioness Club was chartered in 1979 and has raised over $400,000 which has been given back to community; members have volunteered for everything from vision screenings for school students to serving hot chocolate at Greencastle's annual Heritage Christmas celebration; and they've enjoyed much fellowship and camaraderie along the way.

JULY

July 1 — About 30 local youngsters are listening as "Creation Speaks" during Krislund Community Camp offered this week by Greencastle Presbyterian Church.

Based on the story of creation in the book of Genesis, games, activities and lessons involve topics such as light, water, earth, seasons and animals, according to volunteer Anne Larew.

Participants have a holistic experience with God, according to community camp coordinator, Liz Henning.

July 8 — The Franklin County Fair provides a sense of community, whether it's seeing people you haven't seen in years, kids reconnecting with friends they haven't been with since school let out, meeting new people — or maybe even finding romance.

The 2021 Franklin County Fair runs July 11 to 17 at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club along Warm Spring Road, with the theme "Making Memories One Fair at a Time."

JULY — Vendors lined Baltimore Street, which was closed to traffic, during Greencastle Sidewalk Days.

July 13 — Sidewalk Days returned to downtown Greencastle after a year's hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. With parts of Baltimore and South Carlisle streets closed to traffic, people could browse at their leisure, grab a bit to eat at tables shaded by umbrellas placed around Center Square, enjoy music and demonstrations and just have a good time.

The 54th annual event was held Friday and Saturday, July 9 and 10.

July 15 — Two piglets named Thing 1 and Thing 2, a miniature donkey called Stormy who loves everyone, four newborn bunnies and a trio of cows that has people asking "what are they?" are some of the residents of the Baby Barnyard at the Franklin County Fair.

The Baby Barnyard is a project of the junior fair board, formed in 2018 to foster the next generation of fair leaders who can educate others their age — and younger and older — about agriculture.

July 20 — Rita Cline likes "getting out and having fun" at the Greencastle Senior Activity Center.

To which her husband, Robert, says, "Amen."

Rita Cline called bingo for the pre-lunch group on a recent morning at the center at 10615 Antrim Church Road.

The two regulars are back in the swing of things since the center reopened part time in May and full time on June 14 after being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19. The Tuscarora and Waynesboro senior activity centers also are fully open now and the others in Franklin County are moving in that direction.

July 22 — Waynesboro Community and Human Services is helping to prepare students in the Waynesboro and Greencastle-Antrim school districts to head back to school with all the supplies they need for a successful year.

A curbside distribution will be held at WCHS on Aug. 16 and 17 for eligible families in the two school districts, according to Denise Esser, director of WCHS.

July 27 — At 9:02 a.m. Feb. 14, 2018, Mike Straley got "The CALL" that forever changed life for him and his wife, Robin.

"The CALLing" is what the Greencastle couple has done following the death of their 26-year-old daughter, Leah Renee Straley, from a fentanyl overdose on that Valentine's Day morning.

"The CALLing" also is the title of his book about their daughter, her struggle with addiction and quest for sober living, her death, their grief and how Leah's Legacy Foundation is truly her legacy.

July 29 — Masks will be optional, but highly recommended when Greencastle-Antrim students head back to school under the 2021-22 Health and Safety Reopening Plan approved by the school board Thursday, July 22.

This year's district theme is "Moving Forward! Taking Care of our Children and our Community" and Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, said it is clear the community wants in-person learning with masks optional.

A survey asking whether parents feel comfortable sending their kids back to school if masks are optional had "huge participation," Hanks said, and more than 95 percent of parents who responded said "yes."

AUGUST

Aug. 3 — Critical Race Theory is an issue receiving more and more attention across the country, and some parents want to make sure it is not taught in Greencastle-Antrim schools.

Speakers during the public comment of the July 22 school board meeting laid out their thoughts on CRT. In a later email interview, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, explained the district's position.

"We have not engaged in any efforts to incorporate CRT as we have much to learn before we would ever consider addressing such controversial material," Hanks wrote. "With the growing concerns locally, we do not want to ignore the issue. Some of the words being associated with CRT have multiple meanings and there are so many misconceptions that confuse Critical Race Theory with efforts to make schools a safe place to learn for all children. I believe it is our collective responsibility to navigate these rising concerns together."

Aug. 5 — Jasmine Bailey and Dorian Pike are ready for some sweet "Dreamzzz" this year as the drum majors for the Greencastle-Antrim High School marching band.

The 49 musicians and color guard members who make up the 2021 Blue Devil marching band have been rehearsing their show at band camp, which got underway last week and continues this week.

This year's show is titled "Dreamzzz" and depicts a dream sequence — the fall from consciousness, restful sleep and the nightmare you wake up from, said Peter Vincenti, band director.

Aug. 10 — The words diversity, equity and inclusive are at the heart of the Greencastle-Antrim School District's statement in response to Critical Race Theory.

Some parents spoke up at a school board meeting in July with concerns about CRT, an issue that's getting attention in school districts and statehouses across the country.

At the Aug. 5 meeting, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, presented the statement. It is the result of a number of meetings with multiple groups, including concerned parents, according to Hanks.

"We wanted to form a very clear stance," she said.

One of the most important things to come out of the discussions is the knowledge that "this is an ongoing situation and that our best approach as a district and as a community is to do this together, each step of the way. So, as concerns arise we will come together, we will discuss, but what's most important to us is that we do right by the children in our district," Hanks said.

AUGUST — The block containing the former Jim's Tavern, at left, and the old Sheetz, at right, on the corner of U.S. 11 and Route 16 could be the location for a new Sheetz convenience store in Greencastle.

Aug. 12 — "What's happening at the old Sheetz?" is a question that's come up periodically at Greencastle Borough Council meetings and around town since the convenience store at the intersection of West Baltimore Street (Route 16) and North Antrim Way (U.S. 11) closed seven years ago.

There's a good chance the answer is "A new Sheetz."

The possibility of Sheetz returning to an enlarged site at the west end of town was presented publicly for the first time at the Aug. 9 meeting of the Greencastle Planning Commission.

Aug. 17 — A solar project with more than 59,000 panels is on the horizon in southwestern Antrim Township.

On Aug. 10, township supervisors dialed in on the conditions under which Ogos Energy LLC can establish a utility-scale solar project at 2359 E. Weaver Road. The array will include, at full size, 59,373 solar panels on 86 acres of the 149-acre tract.

Aug. 19 — When Norfolk Southern closed its intermodal facility in Antrim Township two years ago for business reasons, the railroad left the door open to resume operations if market conditions changed. Rapid e-commerce growth, market demand and supply chain changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic are among the factors contributing to the decision announced Aug. 13 to reopen the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility.

Antrim Township supervisors got a first look at the latest large scale development proposed along the U.S. 11 corridor south of the Borough of Greencastle on Aug. 10. PRDC Properties, a regional developer of warehouses, residential and multi-family properties, has a contract on the 110-acre Century Inc. site along U.S. 11.

Anthony Maras, president of the Philadelphia-based PRDC, showed supervisors a concept plan and explained his company proposes to construct three buildings on the site — one about 25,000 square feet, one about 600,000 square feet and the largest about 625,000 square feet.

Aug. 24 — Big numbers — square footage, investments and jobs — were in the spotlight Aug. 19 when Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., made his annual visit to the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

Ross called his presentation "the most comprehensive" he's put together in a while and took the nearly 120 local business representatives at the breakfast meeting on a whirlwind tour up and down the Interstate 81 corridor and east and west to Waynesboro and Mercersburg.

Aug. 26 — Twenty years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, the world changed forever with terrorist attacks in New York City, the Pentagon and in the air aboard Flight 93.

Local residents can reflect on that day and how it has resonated over the last two decades with an exhibit now open at the Allison-Antrim Museum and a Weekend of Unity Sept. 11 and 12 that includes a 9/11 Walk.

Aug. 31 — The new building housing restrooms, the concession stand and the ticket booth at the Greencastle-Antrim School District's Kaley Field was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony on Aug. 25.

The project benefits not only present and future Greencastle-Antrim students, but the entire community, said Vernon McCauley, president of the Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation, the non-profit whose mission is to impact and enhance the educational experience of G-A students through support of academics, the arts and athletics. McCauley co-chaired the project with Jeff Shank.

The state-of-the art, $600,000 facility comes six years after a sewer line problem meant using portable toilets at the field.

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