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Looking back: 20 years with the Press & Journal means many memories: LaVonne Ackerman

Posted 6/4/20

Well, hello June! Here we have a brand new month. Our leaders are helping to lead and guide us out of this very unique COVID-19 season. The weather is warming up and the people are anxious to stretch …

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Looking back: 20 years with the Press & Journal means many memories: LaVonne Ackerman


Well, hello June! Here we have a brand new month. Our leaders are helping to lead and guide us out of this very unique COVID-19 season. The weather is warming up and the people are anxious to stretch their legs! I hope you all get tons and tons of fresh air this week.

Time to reminisce: On June 7, 2000, I wrote my first column for the Press & Journal. That is 1,040 columns and over 6,240 answers to Question of the Week, along with countless birthday and anniversary greetings ...week after week.

Diane McAlpine wrote “Talk of the Township” for 16 years. Prior to her, I believe it was Peg Freeborn who was the columnist for Lower Swatara Township. Was it called “Over the Garden Fence” back then?

When I started, there were several other columnists covering the local areas: Peggy Brown, Leslie Hughes, Tonya Bibb, Lori Eby and Melanie Starr, to name a few. One by one, they have gone their separate ways.

It is no secret that the Ackerman family has downsized. I have written about selling our house, the move to Florida and now I am faced with the need to purge.

Confession time: I have clipped out and saved every column. I still have every yellow legal pad used to record Question of the Week answers. There are so many names and ages, thoughts and opinions, and memories. I wish I could continue to save them, but we don’t have the room! I’m a little sad about it, but this is my problem.

People say to put memories on CDs or flash drives. I haven’t done much with family videos or the tons of photos we have. I don’t know if I’m up for the tedious challenge of scanning. It’s hard to let go.

I have enjoyed being able to share thoughts with readers, say hello every week and share what’s going on ... as long as you are willing to read, I am willing to write!

Have a wonderful week, and happy June.


Lamar Ventura of Lower Swatara Township celebrates his final teen cake day on Wednesday, June 3. Have a great 19th birthday!

Here is a shout-out to Brenda Rineer of Lower Swatara. Happy cupcakes-and-sprinkles day to you on Thursday, June 4.

Wishing Liz DiFrancisco of Lower Swatara a splendid and frosty-filled day on Thursday, on June 4.

Happy special June 4 cake-and-ice cream day to Jarrod Rife as he turns 22 on Thursday. Enjoy!

Happy Sweet 16 honk-honk-beep day to Keyana Allensworth of Lower Swatara on Friday, June 5. Celebrate all weekend!

Justin Yohn of Lower Swatara hits cake day No. 19 on Saturday, June 6. Happy last teener year to you!

Happy snappy birthday to Don Graham of Middletown. His party day is Saturday, June 6. Enjoy!

Happy 23rd cool parade birthday to Brian Kelly of Lower Swatara. He observes his me holiday on Saturday, June 6.

Angela Hernandez of Lower Swatara celebrates her last teener cake day June 6. Have a super Saturday 19th birthday, Angela!

Nate Kinsey of Lower Swatara celebrates his 17th balloon-flying day on Saturday, June 6. Have the best weekend birthday yet!

Happy 12th birthday to Brayden Reigle of Lower Swatara. He celebrates his confetti-popping day on Saturday, June 6.

Best wishes for a super Saturday 20th birthday to Dominick Barillo of Royalton. I hope your June 6 is just how you like it!

Hey, Janelle Dukes! Happy very fabulous birthday to you on Sunday, June 7. May 25 fantastic things happen to you this sensational weekend.

Happy landmark birthday to Macy Appleby of Lower Swatara as she turns 18 on Sunday, June 7. Congrats and stay cool!

A very happy birthday to Esperanza Herrera of Middletown as she celebrates her 11th razzle-dazzle birthday on Monday, June 8. God bless you, sweet girl!

Donald Bell lll of Middletown celebrates his big deal 18th birthday on Monday, June 8. Congrats and have fun, Donnie!

A big hug to my husband, Scott Ackerman, of Palm Beach Shores, Florida, as he celebrates his party day on the beach on Tuesday, June 9. Lots of love and sunshine to you, honey!

Kenzie Zimmerman of Middletown celebrates her real adult birthday on Tuesday, June 9. Happy 21st cake day, Kenzie!


Best wishes to Bill and Dawn Mattes of Lower Swatara Township on their 26th wedding anniversary, June 4. I hope your Thursday is full of sun and fun!

Dave and Pam Yandrich of Lower Swatara celebrate 37 years of marriage on Thursday, June 4. Many blessings to you on your day!

Happy 18th anniversary to Chris and Jennifer Hunter of Lower Swatara. Their hearts-and-flowers day is Monday, June 8. Enjoy!

Dean’s list

Congrats to Kennedi E. Welsh, who was named to the dean’s list in her freshman year at Bloomsburg University. She is majoring in elementary education.

Kennedi is a 2019 Susquehanna Township High School graduate and is the daughter of Tammi Cowan Welsh and Geoffrey Welsh, the granddaughter of Debbie Cowan and the late David Cowan, Jan and Tim Aicher, all of Middletown, and Ruthann Hansen of Elizabethtown.

Also, congrats to Noah Yeich of Middletown, who was named to the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology spring dean’s list.

Mini Open Faces

1 lb. hamburger

1 lb. sausage, regular, mild or hot

1 lb. Velveeta cheese

1 loaf cocktail bread (rye or pumpernickel)

In frying pan, add hamburger and sausage. Brown and drain meat. Crumble meat mixture. Add cheese and mix well.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place party ryes on a cookie sheet. Scoop mixture onto bread. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

Quote of the Week

“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.” — L.M. Montgomery, Canadian Author.

Question of the Week

Where do you plan on going first after coronavirus restrictions are more fully lifted?

“New Jersey. My father lives there, and I try go every June.” — Robyn Kennedy, Port St. Lucie, Florida.

“I want to go to the beach.” — Renee Windows, Susquehanna Township.

“Go to New York and see my cousins.” — Ayla Windows, 9, Susquehanna.

“I want to go to New York and see Grandma and Grandpa, and swim in their pool.” — Ayden Windows, 5, Susquehanna.

“Hairdresser! Probably church first, then hairdresser. Then I will go visiting people I haven’t seen in awhile.” — Marsha Boltz, Susquehanna.

“The dog park in Lancaster. It’s been killing my wife that we haven’t been able to take our 2 dogs and let them run around, play with other dogs. They love it there.” — Dave Rothrock, Rutherford.

Proverb for the Week

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling (20:3).

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