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Middletown graduates ready to get their THON on

Alexis Hile THONAlexis Hile previously was a canning captain for THON.


Rachel Applegate will be among the thousands of people at Penn State University’s Bryce Jordan Center this weekend, and they all will have one communal thought: FTK; For The Kids.

For The Kids is the mindset of all those involved with THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. Several Middletown graduates, including Applegate (Class of 2016), will be participating and doing their part to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer.

THON is a weekend-long fundraising dance marathon event for the Four Diamonds Fund. The Four Diamonds Fund is a pediatric cancer charity affiliated with Penn State University and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Four Diamonds helps to aid 100 percent of all children admitted for treatment and pays the remaining portion of the medical bills that insurance won’t cover. This means families never see the bill and will not have to pay out of pocket for treatments.

Removing the cost factor from the patient and family allows them to focus on treatments and recovery. According to an email from Penn State student and THON participant Alexis Hile, (Middletown Area High School Class of 2015), the average cost of cancer treatment for one child is $500,000 and 96.56 cents of every dollar donated directly benefits the Four Diamonds Fund.

Applegate will donate her time, effort and energy for children, but she’s also going to be donating something else: her hair. Applegate is dedicating her hair to Wigs for Kids, a nonprofit organization that creates personalized wigs for children suffering from hair loss.

Applegate said although she hadn’t originally planned to cut her hair, she is very excited about it nonetheless. She said a few young women that she was working with for THON had cut their hair and that sparked her interest.

“The reason I want to give my hair is because I have loved my hair while I’ve had it at this length and I’ve taken it for granted. I think it’s high time that someone else had the chance to enjoy it; someone who will appreciate it much more than I have,” Applegate said in an email.

Applegate has a personal reason for participating in THON. Her family has been affected by cancer.


Matt and Lauren EppleyLauren and Matt Epply both will be a part of THON.


“I THON because cancer has touched my life in more ways than one. I’ve seen its effects on the body and the morale; specifically in my middle-aged, healthy father. Seeing the pain that he endured in his years of chemotherapy, I can’t imagine doing it myself, let alone a young child. I THON so that every family feels the support that they need in their difficult times. I THON for the kids that, for those short 46 hours, get to forget about their condition and have the time of their lives, ” Applegate said in an email.

In the 2016 THON event, nearly $10 million was raised ($9,770,332.32 to be exact). That was added to the more than $136 million that has been raised since THON was started in 1973. Four Diamonds did not become the beneficiary until 1977.

From 6 p.m. Friday until 4 p.m. Sunday, thousands of Penn State students, alumni, faculty, parents and cancer patients and their families will pack the Bryce Jordan Center for 46 hours of dancing, games and fun with no rest. Students are constantly on their feet. They are not allowed to sit or lie down, or to know what time it is. They keep moving and stay active with three letters in mind: FTK.

“There are approximately 16,500 Penn State volunteers that all contribute to make THON happen,” Hile said in an email. “There is so much effort that goes into making sure we raise as much money as we can for the kids that happens before THON such as give-back nights at restaurants, 5k races, bingo fundraisers, spaghetti dinners, and so much more. Our main focus is to allow these kids and their families to make unforgettable memories despite this awful disease.”

Hile will be one of the many hundreds of dancers on the floor of the Jordan Center, constantly dancing and moving. Hile will dance as a representative of Altoona Benefiting THON, which is the Penn State THON group. In the past, she served as a canning captain and participated in numerous other events associated with THON. Canning is one form of fundraising done by THON members, usually consisting of soliciting donations at intersections and outside shopping centers across the Mid-Atlantic region.

Like Applegate, Hile takes part because of her mother and the children. Hile’s mother is a breast cancer survivor, and Hile calls her mother her best friend and “my rock.” 

“Being by her side throughout her journey made me really want to get involved. I know how much cancer can affect a family, but I also know how much it can bring one together.”

“I don’t want any other family to have to experience the hardships of cancer. I THON for all the people that I have known that have both won and lost their battles with cancer. I have truly known too many. I participate in THON so that no parent has to hear their child has cancer,” Hile said in an email.

Hile is not the only Middletown graduate who will be dancing on the floor. Penn State senior Matt Epply (Middletown Area High School Class of 2013) is also a dancer this year, for his fraternity, Sigma Nu. In his freshman year, Epply served as a member of the Rules and Regulations Committee and for his sophomore and junior years, he was the THON chairman for Sigma Nu.

According to Hile, dancers are chosen due to dedication to THON in years past and how much effort each candidate puts into THON throughout the year, not how much money is individually raised.

As dancers, Hile and Epply have been training to prepare for the 46-hour event and the effects that come with being on one’s feet for nearly two straight days. Both said they have been spending time in the gym, strengthening their cardiovascular systems, backs, legs and lower part of their bodies. Hile said she has been withholding caffeine, eating properly and loading on carbs, while Epply has eliminated alcohol and been attempting to make sure he gets eight hours of sleep a night, along with having a healthy diet.

Both Hile and Epply said being on the floor for the weekend is something they have anticipated for some time.

“I have always dreamed of being able to step foot on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center as a dancer and on February 17th that dream comes true,” Hile said in an email.

“It’s been a goal of mine to be a dancer and have that experience that is truly once in a lifetime,” Epply said.

Matt Epply’s younger sister Lauren will be on the floor during the weekend as well, but she isn’t dancing. She is on the Dancer Relations Committee, which means she is tasked with watching and monitoring one specific dancer during the 46 hours. 

She will offer morale and support, bring snacks and drinks, and help her dancer stretch and constantly stay active.

With this being Matt’s senior year, and his last chance to not only be a dancer, but the siblings’ last chance to experience THON together, the impact wasn’t lost on either Epply.

“I look forward to spending that time with her,” Matt said, while Lauren said that the situation makes it “so much more special to me” to spend and share that time together with Matt.

Both Epplys, in separate interviews, stressed the idea that participating in THON means participating in something that’s larger than them.

“To be able to give back to them (the kids) is a great cause that I’m very proud to be a part of,” Matt said.

With the number of people involved with THON reaching over 16,000, the question of how THON brings so many together was asked and the cumulative answer pointed back to those most affected by the results: the children.

Seeing the total go up at the end of the 46 hours and knowing that you contributed to that is a feeling like no other, Hile said.

“THON has the capability to bring together anyone in the Penn State community because it’s something we all can agree. We all hate cancer. Like with any college, there are many controversial things that happen and go on. THON is not one of those things. I think the fact that it is entirely student-run really catches the eye of older generations. We’re not just here to go to class and have fun. We’re here to help and Ignite Hope Within,” Applegate said in an email.

“It’s cool to see our whole school come together,” Lauren Epply said. “We all want to help them.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:58

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23 Years Ago: Feb. 15, 2017

2 15 23 years agoOnly 5.8 Pounds To Go ­— The authorities say we eat 5.9 pounds of grapefruit each year. Jonathan Martz may change those statistics if he has anything to say about it. Don’t let the sour face fool you – the youngster really took a liking to the pink variety. February is National Grapefruit Month, so be sure to take your favorite grapefruit to lunch.


From the Wednesday, Feb. 16, 1994 edition of the Press And Journal


Some Residents Express Anger: Snow Crisis Forces Lower Swatara PD To Ticket Over 130 Vehicles

Lower Swatara Township police officers are looking forward to the warming trend in the weather predicted this week.

They’re hopeful that the warmer weather and the absence of new snowfalls will bring them some relief from writing tickets for illegally parked vehicles. Last week, Township officers were kept busy writing nearly 140 tickets for owners whose cars reportedly weren’t moved in time to allow municipal snowplows to open Township streets.

“Our officers issued more than 130 parking tickets last week,” Police Chief Richard Malwitz admitted on Monday.” About 115 were issued on Tuesday and the rest were issued following Thursday’s storm.”

The parking crackdown came in the wake of a decision by the Township Board of Commissioners to enforce municipal parking regulations established to deal with emergency situations. That decision reportedly angered more than a few Township residents, many of whom called the municipal offices to complain that their cars had been ticketed.

“Our regulations stipulate that owners must move their vehicles off the streets after a snow emergency has been declared,” said Franklin Linn Sr., president of the Township Board. “We owe it to our residents to make sure that our streets are open so fire apparatus and other emergency vehicles can get through to everyone. We aren’t trying to pick on anyone, but we have to get the job done.” 

Township officials allow residents a “reasonable period of time” to get their cars off the streets, Malwitz noted. Cars not removed within that period are then ticketed. He said residents were advised about the emergency situation on Tuesday through local radio and television stations. The emergency was declared at noon and residents were given until 6 p.m. to move their cars, but the Township didn’t start issuing tickets until after 7 p.m.


What? No Sour Pusses?

We were tempted to cheat. 

Maybe substitute lemon slices, squirt juice in their eyes, or soak the samples in the most mouth-curling vinegar we could find. But ethics demanded we play it straight.

Still, we were dumbfounded, kids gobbling up grapefruit, faces all aglow as though eating their favorite candy? Come on, where were the eye-squinting, tongue-protruding grimaces we had expected?

For sure, they weren’t to be found on 3-year-old twins Jonathan and Rebecca Martz, nor 2-year-old Lindsey Jenakovich and not 1-year-old Gregory Wilsbach. 

These four little tadpoles, all of them from Middletown, tore into the notoriously tart fruit like there was no tomorrow.

Was it a case of the winter hungries? A case of complying with Mommy-always-told-me-to-smile-for-a-camera? Or was it the promised cookies to come at the end of the experiment.

Even the gracious host of this unscientific taste test, Nancy Carbone of Fox’s Market, was amazed, replacing the quickly emptied plate of pink grapefruit with a plate of the white, mouth-puckering variety.

No luck. The little diehards gobbled that up with great gusto, too.

“I’m surprised – they won’t eat it for me,” said Carol Wilsbach, who after some intense interrogation revealed that the children had not had any morning snack prior to their appointed arrival at Fox’s.

“I tried it on Gregory a few days ago. I even put sugar on it and oh, the face he made. You should have seen it,” Carol said. [Sure, where was that face when we needed it, 

Carol? Okay, finally after 15 minutes of coaxing, we did manage to get a small pucker out of Jonathan].


Bids Open This Week For Highspire Borough Building

Highspire Borough Officials were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon this week to open bids for the first phase of a proposed major project that will renovate and upgrade the community’s municipal building on Eshelman Street.

A total of seven contractors attended a pre-bid conference held at the Borough Building on Wed., Feb. 9 and expressed interest in bidding on the project, but, as of this past Tuesday morning, it was not known how many would actually submit bid proposals for the $350,000 building project.

“We sent bid invitations out to 12 contractors,” Borough Manager Cynthia Montgomery told Council. “Seven of them attended the conference, indicating that they intend to bid on the project. But the weather may have prevented others from attending the meeting, so it’s possible that we may receive more than seven bids.”

Montgomery said Council will probably review those bids at its regular meeting this week, but there was no indication whether Council would take formal action at that meeting to accept a bid or to award a contract for the proposed work.

However, Council did take action at its Feb. 9 workshop session to instruct Montgomery to arrange a meeting with citizens in the Cowtown district for Mon., March 7, to discuss the planned reconstruction of several streets in that neighborhood.

Streets targeted in the major project include Charles, Jury, Mummau and Wetzel streets and Mary and Bank avenues. Montgomery said residents on those streets will be invited to attend the March 7 meeting, but the meeting will be open to all residents in the Cowtown area.

The street’s named above are in Phase I of the major reconstruction project. That part of the project is expected to cost $133,410. Phase II, which will include all other streets in the Cowtown area, is expected to cost $107,870. Work on that phase of the project will be completed in 1995, Montgomery explained.


Crime Watch Programs Prove To Be More Than ‘Just The Facts, Ma’am’

Crime watch. Town watch. Community alert. Block or neighborhood watch. Call it what you will, the concept is the same: citizens actively helping police control crime in the community.

It is not a new idea, but according to one area police chief, it is an idea that has, and sometimes still is, met with strong resistance by those in uniform.

“Some departments still frown upon it. They have the attitude, ‘We’re the experts, you’re not. You’d only get in our way,’” said Elizabethtown Police Chief Robert Ardner.

That philosophy became the cornerstone of police operations all across the country, but Ardner maintains it is philosophy that no longer serves law enforcement well. 

“It has hurt police professionalism and increased the alienation the public feels toward police,” Ardner said. “Meanwhile, if we could do it (control crime) ourselves, would we have the soaring crime rates we have?” he asked.

As Ardner sees it the public-stay-out philosophy needs to change. Police need to welcome citizen involvement, to form partnerships with those they serve, Ardner said, adding that these partnerships can only occur if citizens are interested and are willing to make a long-term commitment.


Prices from 23 Years Ago

Cherry pie 24 oz., $3.19

Angel food cake 13 oz., $1.89

Red slicing tomatoes, 59¢/lb.

Verdelli spinach 10 oz. pkg., $1.29

Fox’s Own tuna salad, $3.79/lb.

Whole smoked picnic hams, 88¢/lb.

Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese 12 oz., 99¢

Imperial margarine 1 lb. qtrs., 2/$1

Bisquick 96 oz. box, $3.94

Betty Crocker Potato Buds 13.75 oz. box, $1.49

Broccoli spears 10 oz. pkg., 49¢

Temple oranges, 8 for $1

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 16:34

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OUT AND ABOUT: Valentine fun and buffet and dance

A Valentine’s dinner and dance was held Saturday, Feb. 11, at The Event Place, 11 S. Union St., Middletown. There was a buffet dinner followed by music and dancing. The event benefited the Middletown Public Library. 

Photos by Gabe Mink

Alan Williams Stacey Miller and Sandy Robbins enjoy one another s company at the event web

Alan Williams, Stacey Miller and Sandy Robbins enjoy one another’s company at the event.


Couples enjoy dancing to the music of Phil Bennett and the Steve Rudolph Trio web

Couples enjoy dancing.


Ed Ardnt selects cookies from the buffett during the dance web

Ed Arndt selects cookies from the buffet during the dance.


Gift baskets donated by local businesses such as the Tattered Flag and Kuppys 2 web

Gift baskets were donated by local businesses such as Tattered Flag and Kuppy’s.


Jenny Miller peruses the gift baskets donated by local businesses web

Jenny Miller peruses the gift baskets donated by local businesses.


Librarian John Ziats thanks the attendees of the charity for coming out to support the library web

John Ziats of the Middletown Library Board thanks the attendees of the charity event for coming out to support the library.


Mark and Peg Pugh enjoy dancing to the music of the vocalist Phil Bennet and the Steve Rudolph trio web

Mark and Peg Pugh enjoy dancing to the music of vocalist Phil Bennett and the Steve Rudolph Trio.


Phil Bennett sings with Steve Rudolph Trio 3 web

Phil Bennett sings with Steve Rudolph Trio.


Susannah Gal and Hilton Baxter dance to the music of Phil Bennett and the Steve Rudolph Trio 2 web

Susannah Gal and Hilton Baxter dance to the music of Phil Bennett and the Steve Rudolph Trio. 


The steve Rudolph Trio consists of Steve Rudolph on piano John Gingerich on bass and Larry Marshall on drums 2 web

The Steve Rudolph Trio consists of Steve Rudolph on piano, John Gingerich on bass and Larry Marshall on drums.


Vocalist Phil Bennetts son Jordan Bennett acted as greeter for the Valentines dance web

Vocalist Phil Bennett’s son Jordan Bennett acted as greeter for the dance. 



Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 16:32

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23 Years Ago: Feb. 8, 2017

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Fasnacht’s Day – What are the odds that Angie Fasnacht would have her sixth birthday on Fasnacht Day? (Maybe one in six?) The daughter of Michael Fasnacht of Middletown, Angie will celebrate her coincidental birthday next Tuesday, Feb. 15.


From the Wednesday, Feb. 9, 1994 edition of the Press And Journal


Dog Wins Cancer Fight Due To ‘Miracle’ Cure

 Obviously, Kathy Burger is grateful that her family’s beloved dog, Bear, is still alive after being diagnosed with bone cancer last autumn, but she didn’t allow herself to consider the worst. “There was no doubt in our minds that the treatment was going to work,” she stressed.

The treatment that the Middletown resident has been using to combat Bear’s leg tumor is shark cartilage capsules, first used in humans. And the results have been nothing short of amazing. 

The massive, 110-pound Great Pyrenees, a friendly, familiar fixture to neighbors on Highland Avenue, is again bounding with life after being stricken with immobilizing pain only a few short months ago.

“Bear was in such pain that he couldn’t move and didn’t eat or drink,” Burger described. “To get him to drink, I had to drip water from my finger into his month. I couldn’t stand to see it. We were only a week or two from putting him to sleep.”

Burger first noticed that something was wrong with Bear last September, when he began limping during their daily two-mile walks. At first Bear’s veterinarian recommended aspirin for the pain, until X-rays revealed a tumor on the animal’s rear leg. An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed the mass as bone cancer.

A friend who runs a dog kennel recommended a veterinarian, Dr. Pat Whittacker, who runs a practice in Asper, Adams County. 

A certified acupuncturist, Dr. Whittacker also practices homeopathic medicine. It was she who prescribed the wondrous shark cartilage capsules for Bear, along with acupuncture and vitamins. 

Burger remembered Bear’s progress with the cartilage capsules and acupuncture: “We saw results in the first week when he walked up the deck steps. His mental attitude had changed. He was still limping badly but wanted to do things. The desire to live was there again.”

Township Leaders Talk Tough On Enforcing Snow Ordinance

 The Lower Swatara Township Commissioners at their February “workshop meeting” directed Police Chief Richard Malwitz to enforce the Township’s ordinance regarding snow emergencies.

 The snow emergency ordinance is one of the toughest I’ve ever seen,” said Chief Malwitz. He said that when a snow emergency is declared no vehicle may be parked on any road designated as a snow emergency route. Vehicles parked on those roads are subject to a parking ticket.

 “If the Board wants me to enforce it to the hilt, it’s fine with me,” Malwitz continued.

 Commissioner Ron McAlpine, budget and finance chairman, asked, “Do we need to take a look at snow emergency routes?” Malwitz said he along with Dr. David Clouser, Township Manager, and Ron Paul, planning and zoning officer, have discussed that possibility.

 “The feeling of the Board has changed over the years,” Malwitz said noting that previous Boards didn’t feel so strongly about enforcing the ordinance.


Study: HIA Brings Millions Into Region With Income, Jobs, And Taxes

The second part of an extensive study to determine the future of Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) has confirmed that the Lower Swatara Township facility is an integral piece of the region’s economy that would be sorely missed should it ever be taken away.

 A consultant for the Susquehanna Valley Regional Airport Authority (SVRAA) presented his financial analysis of HIA at the group’s most recent monthly meeting, held at PennDOT’s aviation headquarters at the airport. SVRAA, which is comprised of representatives from Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and York counties, is studying the long-term air transportation needs of the region and how airport facilities could be used to maximize economic development.

 According to Dr. John Martin, of Lancaster consulting firm Martin O’Connell Associations, the primary ways HIA has an economic impact in Central, Pa. are through direct and indirect jobs created by the airport, personal income and spending as a result of those jobs, business revenue generated by the airport and its employees, and state, county and municipal taxes.

 SVRAA’s financial consultant also determined that HIA is the seventh largest employer in Central Pa. behind AMP, Hershey Foods, Penn State University, Pa. Blue Shield, Armstrong Industries and Weis Markets.

 Of the 1,539 direct, on-site jobs listed in Martin’s report, HIA’s airline employees make up 41 percent of that total, with government agency employees and freight transportation workers accounting for 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively. The majority of the airport’s employees — 61 percent — live in Dauphin County, with 12 percent residing in York County and 10 percent each living in Cumberland and Lancaster counties. 

 In 1993, 753,000 passengers boarded planes at HIA. Of those, 75 percent were traveling on business and 25 percent were pleasure travelers. Each passenger who flies out of HIA is believed to spend an average of $285 per visit, the consultant said.

 One of the best ways to enhance HIA’s marketability in the future, Martin said, will be to further develop its freight transportation capabilities. Because of Central Pa.’s excellent trucking and rail services, he noted, “intermodal freight” should be a big focus of economic development in the region, with HIA providing a crucial link in that chain. 


Prices From 23 Years Ago

Temple Oranges, 8/99¢

Fox’s Tapioca Pudding, $1.39/lb.

Lender’s Bagels 10-12 ct., 89¢

Thorofare Pot Pies 7 oz., 3/$1

Lean Imported Hams, $1.99/lb.

Fresh Celery, 58¢/stalk

Fasnacht Donuts, $2.79/each pkg.

Old El Paso Refried Beans, 16 oz. jar 69¢

Shark Bites Fruit Shapes, 5.4 oz. pkg., $1.88

Morton Honey Buns, 99¢

Oriental Salad Mix, 69¢/pkg.

Ore-Ida Crispers 2 lb., $1.99

Whitney’s Yogurt 6 oz., 39¢

Jumbo Muffins 4 ct., $2.49

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 09:50

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What, when and how you eat can help kick the winter blues

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Winter’s dreary and dark days can zap your mood and energy levels, and can result in a type of seasonal depression or “winter blues” affecting what, when and how you eat. 

While its cause remains unclear, diet plays a role in the prevention and treatment of depression.

Giant Food Stores and Martin’s Food Markets’ nutritionists offered their suggestions to combat the “winter blues” in a recent press release.

What we eat

Studies have shown that depressive symptoms are associated with overconsumption of sweets and fast food. Instead, reach for fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and olive oil, such as a Mediterranean diet pattern. Diets rich in these foods have been associated with a reduced risk of depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids have received a significant amount of attention because of their positive impact on depression. Depressed individuals have been found to have lower levels of omega-3 fats in their blood work. In order to get enough omega-3 fats in your diet, eat foods such as fatty fish, walnuts and flax seeds.

When we eat

Brains rely on a consistent fuel supply to function properly so, eating small, balanced meals every three to four hours may help to keep blood sugar levels consistent. Going long periods without eating can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which may contribute to feelings of irritability or depression.

How we eat

Recent studies have shown that negative and positive moods may lead to preferences for different types of food. 

A series of studies published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology finds that positive moods tend to increase our preference for healthy foods and negative moods increase our preference for indulgent foods. Taking a walk or meditating to boost mood may be effective strategies to improve mood and food choices.

 Studies have found that individuals with depression are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. 

With February being American Heart Month, making improvements in diet and lifestyle may not only benefit mood, but it could also decrease risk for developing cardiovascular disease, the nutritionists said.

They also pointed out that before making major changes to your diet, consult your doctor or a nutritionist/dietitian, especially if you are pregnant or have any other health conditions.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 09:42

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