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Final Press & Journal column is surreal: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 7/1/20

Hello, folks! I have to say, I’m having a difficult time putting together this column. The last column, the last Press & Journal paper. What a shame, and a crime. This should not have …

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Final Press & Journal column is surreal: LaVonne Ackerman


Hello, folks! I have to say, I’m having a difficult time putting together this column. The last column, the last Press & Journal paper. What a shame, and a crime. This should not have happened.

I know many people are saying the same thing about their various situations, but this is so unfortunate and sad. But life continues.

Yet, still, I can’t start this last column. I’m aware of the deadline. However, it seems so surreal. I’m so sorry ... for Joe and Louise, for Jason, and the many others who have made this paper possible. I can imagine everyone at the paper is experiencing unbelief and disappointment. My 20-year, every-week writing of a column has ended.

The Press & Journal is the little piece of Pennsylvania that followed us all the way to Florida. It will be very much missed. An era has ended.

As I turn the pages of my 20-year-old notebook, with my dates scribbled in it, I smile. There is so much recorded, so many memories. I am glad to have experienced it. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my heart with so many of you throughout the years. I’m thankful for the people who worked so diligently at the P&J. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job!

God bless and take care.


Katelyn Carnes of Lower Swatara Township observes her 24th cake day on Wednesday, July 1. Have a wonderful holiday week celebrating!

McKayla Tucker of Lower Swatara marks her sweet surprise 20th birthday on July 1. I hope your Wednesday is wonderful!

Happy birthday to Samuel Turns Jr. of Middletown. His confetti-popping day is Wednesday, July 1. Enjoy!

Sarah Carson of Lower Swatara celebrates her special 22nd cake-and-ice cream day on July 1. Have a happy Wednesday.

Happy Friday birthday to Dee Esterline of Lower Swatara on July 3. Make your birthday sparkle and shine all weekend!

Dane Fahnestock of Lower Swatara will hear the birthday song on Saturday, July 4! I hope it is loud and clear!

Happy brand new teener cupcake day to Aaliyah Garfield of Middletown on red, white and blue day ... Saturday, July 4.

Nathan Reese observes his patriotic 24th firecracker birthday on July 4. I hope it is sensational!

Best wishes and loud pops of joy to Brad Strite of Lower Swatara on his July Fourth happy birthday!

Wishing Tim Carpenter a big deal parade birthday on Saturday, July 4. May our celebration be everything wonderful!

Carl Stevenson of Middletown marks his final teener birthday Sunday, July 5. Happy 19th!

Hey, Hannah Wilsbach of Middletown! Have a marvelous 19th birthday on Monday, July 6.

Many blessings to sweet Amelia Bishop of Middletown as she turns a decade old on Monday, July 6! Enjoy being 10, Amelia!

Happy landmark 21st legal-eagle birthday to Cole Golden of Lower Swatara on Tuesday, July 7. Congrats!

David Hurlock of Lower Swatara celebrates his terrific, big-deal 60th balloon-flying day Tuesday, July 7. Yay for Dave!

Happy double-nickel birthday to Gary Klock of Lower Swatara who observes his 55th cake day on Tuesday, July 7. God bless you, Gary Lee!


Happy anniversary to Joe and Norma Mateer of Lower Swatara Township on Saturday, July 4. Hoping your day is full of joy as you celebrate your 40th! Gift ideas: rubies, gladiolus and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Best wishes to Scott and Suzanne Hile as they celebrate their day on July 9.

Rick and Michelle Berrones observe 22 years together on July 11. Enjoy!

Happy 39th anniversary to Bob and Becky Wierman on July 25. I miss seeing you two!

Dale and Julie Reigle celebrate 39 years of wedded bliss on July 25. Congrats!

Happy big-deal 50th anniversary to Ed and Mary Hawk on July 25. Wow!

Honors at Iowa State

Garrett Dexter Little, a junior agricultural engineering major who graduated from Lower Dauphin High School, recently was named to the Iowa State University spring dean’s list.

Hood College dean’s list

The following students were named to the dean’s list at Hood College, Frederick, Maryland, for the spring semester.

Congratulations to Derek Wyld, a Lower Dauphin High School graduate, and Matthew Schopf and Hannah Wilsbach, Middletown Area High School graduates.

Saint Francis honors LD grads

Two Lower Dauphin High School graduates earned places on spring honors lists at Saint Francis University in Loretto.

Meghan Lathrop, health science major, was named to the president's list.

Taylin Lehman, biology major, was named to the dean's list.

Susquehanna dean’s list

Recent Middletown Area High School graduates named to the dean’s list at Susquehanna University include Abby Yohn, Donovan Brady, Sarah Fluke and Alexandra Hernandez.

LVC graduates and dean’s list

Three Lower Dauphin High School graduates received their diplomas from Lebanon Valley College during its 151st commencement on May 9:

Kasey Dobson received a bachelor of arts in music and graduated cum laude.

Reed Morris received a bachelor of science in actuarial science and graduate cum laude.

Raeann Walquist received a bachelor of arts in English and graduated magna cum laude.

Area students named to the LVC dean’s list for the spring include Middletown Area High School graduates Morgen Miller, Bryan Gower and Mason Garza and Lower Dauphin graduates Chiara Meyers, Nicole Ordille, Corey Knoll, Sierra Fields, Caitlyn Albert and Kasey Dobson.

Middletown HACC graduates

Recent HACC graduates from Middletown include Dylan Andrew, police science; Alexis Cleland, social science;  Kelly Hall, nursing; Haden Landis, police science; Veronica Lefever, electrical technology; Keshia Punugula, health care management; Elisabeth Snody, general studies; Ashley Royer, business; and Katelin Wright, nursing.

Acri earns master of fine arts

Lisa Acri of Middletown earned a master’s degree of fine arts in creative writing from Arcadia University on May 15 in an online commencement.

Arcadia is located in Glenside.

Susquehanna choir on tour

Middletown Area High School graduate Sarah Fluke went on tour with the Susquehanna University Choir from March 6-12.

Fluke is a music major.

The choir is the flagship choral ensemble in the music department.

Congrats, Delsin

The Muhlenberg College Tri-Alpha Honor Society honors outstanding students who are the first in their families to attend college.

Members include Delsin Mayne, a Lower Dauphin High School graduate.

Summer Chicken Salad

2 c. chicken (cooked, cubed)

20 oz. can of pineapple chunks

1 1/2 c. strawberries (halved)

1 c. green grapes

1 c. celery, chopped



1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Fresh ground pepper

Mix lightly chicken, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, celery. Mix mayonnaise, ginger and pepper. Mix dressing with chicken mixture and serve on lettuce topped with almonds (pecans or walnuts may be substituted).

Quote of the Week

“God is faithful, and he will not give up on us. Take your requests to Jesus. Ask him to teach you. He is always able and ready as long as we are willing. The teacher is always there, speaking deeply into our hearts, giving us the guidance we need.” — Jennifer Uecker, author.

Question of the Week

What are your thoughts about saying goodbye to the Press & Journal?

“It’s so sad to hear that such a major part of Middletown is closing down. I always enjoyed looking at the pictures from local events.” — Janelle Dukes, Lower Swatara Township.

“My initial thought is that I’ve been getting asked these random questions by you for probably close to 15 years now (it’s been 20, Dave), and I am very upset that this won’t be happening for much longer. Pretty shocking.” — David Rothrock, Rutherford.

“It’s crazy. I feel bad for them, after so many years.” — Denise Giulivo, Harrisburg.

“Sorry to see a historic local newspaper end, that gave valuable information and enjoyable past times for many.” — Sue Lawruk, Lower Swatara.

“I will definitely miss it. Bill Darrah’s amazing photographs and Larry Etter’s articles gave many kids permanent remembrances of their high school glory days. I have many scrapbooks with all the articles of Mike and Aaron’s high school activities and achievements. Also, journalists are defenders of democracy. Who is going to be looking over the shoulders of borough, township and school board elected officials and holding them accountable to the voters? This is something everyone should be concerned about.” — Terry Lupia, Lower Swatara.

“Very sad. You guys did a great job keeping up with the local information. You will be missed.” — Megan Danilowicz, Lower Swatara.

Proverb for the Week

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring (27:1).

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