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I was the young mayor of Birch Tree Village: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 8/16/17

Hi, people!

We have 11 days of summer time fun until the kids have to go back to school. This time of year goes by too quickly! I hope you get to do some last-minute picnic fun. It seems like a …

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I was the young mayor of Birch Tree Village: LaVonne Ackerman


Hi, people!

We have 11 days of summer time fun until the kids have to go back to school. This time of year goes by too quickly! I hope you get to do some last-minute picnic fun. It seems like a popular thing to do in August. The recent cooler temperatures are helpful when trying to do outdoor activities, too.

When I was a kid one of the best things we did on a summer day is build a fire and grill sandwiches. Of course we had adult supervision. Our favorite “grill” spot was the neighbor’s gravel driveway. It was long and almost reached the woods.

We enjoyed playing in the woods. In fact, we built a village. Everyone had their own fort/home and the “roads” were lined with fallen skinny white birch trees. We “imported” them from deeper parts of the woods. We had a “school” complete with logs as chairs and slate for the blackboard. Individual slate boards were placed at each log. I was the mayor of Birch Tree Village, and the teacher. My sister ran the “restaurant.” We had other jobs for the other kids. We rode our bikes along the roads and had great fun.

When lunchtime rolled around it was convenient to gather some wood and start a campfire in the driveway. Our neighbors owned a couple of those metal sandwich grillers. They had long handles and the sandwich was squished between two metal grill racks. I Googled to check if I could see anything like it, but couldn’t find them. I guess they don’t make them anymore. They made the best grill cheese sandwiches. My friend was partial to grilled peanut butter and jelly! Sweet memories.

Thank you for reading and have a marvelous week. Please don’t forget to share your news!


John Ponnett Jr. of Lower Swatara is 20 on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Best wishes to you for a cool cake day!

Happy 12th cake-and-ice cream day to Leo Nissley of Lower Swatara on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Enjoy these last days of summer vacay, Leo!

Happy birthday wishes are sent to Gerando Ortiz of Lower Swatara as he hits No. 20 on Thursday, Aug. 17!

If you see Marie Triplett out and about Lower Swatara on Aug. 17, be sure to give her a sweet happy birthday greeting. Her big-deal day is Thursday.

Best wishes for a beautiful birthday go to Cindy Knaub of Lower Swatara as she observes her frosty-filled day on Thursday, Aug. 17. Enjoy!

Happy birthday to Cole Pavlishin on Thursday as he turns 24 on Aug. 17. Have a superb kind of day, Cole!

Happy 19th balloon-flying day to Kenya Littles of Middletown on Thursday, Aug. 17. I hope this is the best birthday yet, Kenya!

Molly Strite of Lower Swatara will enjoy her sparkles-and-glitter birthday on Friday, Aug. 18. Happy 12th, Molly!

Many good wishes of love and joy are sent to Michael Sabol of Middletown as he observes his party day on Friday, Aug. 18! Celebrate all weekend, Michael!

Melissa Soto of Middletown will have 14 candles atop her birthday cake on Friday, Aug. 18. I hope it is a fantastic time, Melissa!

Best wishes to Amanda Krehling for a super Saturday, Aug. 19 birthday as she celebrates cake day No. 24.

Congrats and happy birthday to Alexis Hawk on Aug. 19. She turns a quarter-of-a-century old on Saturday. Enjoy!

Patrick Feeney Jr. marks his party day on Saturday, Aug. 19. Happy 24th birthday and best wishes for a super birthday weekend!

Happy rootin’ tootin’ birthday to Tim Nissley of Lower Swatara on Saturday, Aug. 19. Celebrate all weekend, Tim!

Canar Morrison of Lower Swatara celebrates his last teener birthday on Saturday. Happy golden birthday, 19 on Aug 19!

Happy Sweet 16 cake day to Alexandria Fish of Middletown. Her beep-honk-honk day is Sunday, Aug. 20. Stay safe!

Elizabeth Swartzweider of Middletown marks her honk-beep-beep day on Monday, Aug. 21. Happy 16th birthday, Elizabeth!

Best wishes and congratulations to Emily Isett, who turns 25 on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Have a fantastic celebration.

Here is a shout-out to Scott Hile of Lower Swatara for a super-duper over-the-top 50th birthday celebration! Enjoy your 5-0 day on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

IUP dean’s list

The following students have been named to Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s 2017 spring semester dean’s list:

Middletown: Kaitlyn Nicole Flowers, bachelor of science in nursing; Kelsee Nicole Sides, bachelor of science in fashion merchandising; Jared Patrick Truesdale, bachelor of the arts in philosophy.

Hummelstown: Gabriella Everest, bachelor of science in art education; Emma Hrabovsky, bachelor of science in nursing; Elizabeth Llewellyn, bachelor of science in regional planning/land use planning and geographic information systems; Sydney Marto, bachelor of the arts in criminology; Dominique Shepherd, bachelor of science in hospitality management; Olivia Young, bachelor of science in nutrition/dietetics.

Hershey: Kobi Eberly, bachelor of science in accounting; Darian Holley, bachelor of the arts in criminology; Ryan LaCoe, undeclared, Eberly College of business and information technology; Larissa Martin, bachelor of science in nursing; Michelle Weber, bachelor of arts in sociology.

Picnic time poem

Steamed seafood, especially crabs,

In California they like eating sand dabs.

Sometimes the expense of the aforementioned food,

Is prohibitively expensive if serving a large brood.

So hot dogs and hamburgers could easily suffice,

Even if it’s only a few kids and a husband and wife.

Watermelon is refreshing and you can spit out the seeds,

Next year they may grow if they fall in the weeds.

Corn on the cob with butter and salt,

My deviled egg recipe sits in the vault.

I love a picnic with great summertime fare,

That the guests eat so much that there is nothing to spare!


Helpful Picnic Hints

1. Don’t forget to pack an old blanket. A waterproof one would be the best, but if you don’t have anything like that, even an old sheet will work.

2. Tell your friends and family you want to have a potluck picnic. Be sure to give everybody a category (meat, veggie, salad, dessert, drinks, paper products, etc.), so you don’t end up with just cookies and cupcakes. (Like this would be a bad thing?!)

3. Freeze several water bottles to serve as the cold packs in your cooler. You can drink them after they have done their job, or simply refreeze them.

4. Be sure to pack along a cutting board and a sharp knife, because those plastic knives often don’t cut it! Ha.

5. Don’t forget: games, ball, Frisbee, bug spray, condiment packets, a trash bag, hand wipes or sanitizer and dip and chips.

Quote of the Week

“Patience cannot be forced. It is a gift, one that closely follows acceptance and gratitude.” — Melody Beattie, author.

Question of the Week

What do you think is the best outdoor dining spot?

“My backyard. We all cook over the campfire.” — Kiley Etter, 11, Lower Swatara.

“Picnic in my backyard.” — Ian Shaffer, 6, Lower Swatara.

“We like to picnic down by the Susquehanna … sandwiches, Doritos and juice boxes.” — Hayden Browne, 5, Middletown.

“Rita’s in Highspire!” — Aleel Batts, 10, Lower Swatara.

“At our campground, Luther’s Grove!” — Jack Shultz, 2, Middletown.

“Dukes on the Susquehanna River.” — Selah Storm, 8, Lower Swatara.

Proverb for the Week

A gift opens the way of the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great (18:16).

Reach LaVonne Ackerman at 717-649-7366 or by email at