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Jason Malmont photos, For The Sentinel  

Fire crews respond to a house fire in the 100 block of Channel Drive in North Middleton Township Saturday.

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State reminds people of dangers of venturing out on ice

People take a risk any time they head out onto the ice, but knowing the conditions could help each person make an informed decision while enjoying the outing, said Ryan Walt, a boating and watercraft safety manager for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

Walt supervises the statewide swift water and ice rescue program that trains just under 5,000 first-responders every year on the proper techniques to save lives.

With Cumberland County facing a lengthy cold snap, anglers, skaters and outdoorsmen are taking advantage of frozen lakes and ponds. But there are always risks, no matter how cold it gets.

First and foremost, people should avoid venturing out on ice that has formed over moving water such as a stream or the Susquehanna River.

Water moving in a current can cause jams and fractures to form and can make the thickness of the ice less consistent in places. Also, if you fall through the ice, there is a much greater risk of being washed under the mantle and, at that point, you have no escape, Walt said.

“Never go on the ice alone,” he said. “Always let people know what your plans are and when you plan to return.”

Survey the ice

When arriving at the edge of a frozen pond or lake, always visually survey the ice. In particular, look for open water areas and signs of recent changes in the water level.

These signs include ice sloping down from the bank and wet areas on the ice. The wet areas could mean the water rose or there was a recent rain that weakened the ice.

Beware of ice around partially submerged objects such as trees, brush, embankments or structures. These objects tend to absorb heat from sunlight that radiates through the surrounding water, causing the ice to thin.

Ice along the shore tends to be the first to form and the first to thaw. A mantle that may be strong enough to hold a man’s weight in the morning could be weak by the afternoon.

People should also listen for loud cracks or booms coming from the ice. Those sounds could indicate the ice is deteriorating or that the water is freezing within the confined area of the pond or lake.

“New ice is stronger than old ice and usually has a blue tint,” Walt said. “Remember ice thickness is not consistent across the whole body of water.”

General guidelines suggest a minimum of 4 inches is a safe thickness for ice, but that is not a hard-set fact.

Worst-case scenario

Anglers should use an ice staff to probe ahead. If the staff punches through the surface, they should retreat back to the shore slowly.

Anglers should always carry a pair of ice awls to rescue themselves if they fall through the ice. A life jacket or a float coat should also be worn anytime you venture out on the ice.

“If you feel the ice giving way, drop to the ice and lay on your stomach,” Walt said. This distributes the weight of the person over a greater surface area reducing the risk of a breakthrough.

“You can slowly crawl back to the shore,” Walt said. “If you fall in, the main thing is to try and keep your head above the water.”

The extreme cold of the water can lead to an involuntary gasp where the person takes in a lot of water at once. This increases the risk of panic and drowning.

“There is the 1-10-1 rule,” Walt said. “If you fall in, you have one minute to regain your composure and catch your breath. You have 10 minutes of meaningful movement and you have one hour before full blown hypothermia.”

“Meaningful movement” means using what leverage you can to either crawl or roll yourself out of the fissure in the ice. If that is possible, hunker down and crawl back to the shore the way you came.

Full blown hypothermia will lower the body temperature to the point where the person loses consciousness. At that point, the risk of going under the water increases. To forestall that risk, Walt suggested the person dip their forearms into the water and then stretch their forearms onto the ice mantle.

This would cause the arms to freeze to the ice and keep the person from slipping under the water.

New Hope Ministries settles in to new facility

New Hope Ministries has moved in to its new headquarters at 99 W. Church St., in Dillsburg.

The $1.6 million project was completed last month, and the agency moved in and opened its doors Dec. 18.

Molly Helmstetter, director of development at New Hope, said the move from two smaller rented facilities into the new 10,000-square-foot building will allow New Hope to better serve the community, a mission it began 35 years ago. She said an open house and dedication service will be held, although a date has not yet been set.

“We’re planning something in the next few weeks, but we’re still unpacking boxes and arranging services,” she said. “We still need to tidy up.”

According to its website, New Hope is “a Christian social service agency that shows the love and hope of Christ by serving our neighbors in times of need and supporting their efforts towards stability.”

“Our primary focus is on basic needs,” Helmstetter said, explaining that New Hope operates a food pantry and provides a variety of educational programs for children and adults.

She said the new facility has enough space for the food pantry, a teaching kitchen and cafe, classroom, warehouse, refrigeration unit and offices. It will also be home to the administrative office of the agency, which has branches in Dover, Hanover, Mechanicsburg, New Oxford and Leymone.

“We have a food pantry in each of the six locations, and we also do mobile food pantries, where we go into specific communities (Enola, New Cumberland, East Berlin and Littlestown) during the month and basically take our food pantry on the road,” Helmstetter said.

Thanks to several grants, including major funding from Partnership for Better Health in Carlisle, she said the mobile food pantry program will expand to northern Adams County in 2018.

“Beyond that, we also offer stability programs that include things like budgeting classes, helping people find jobs, and work force development training programs (such as nurse’s aide, forklift training and truck driving classes),” she said. “We have youth programs where we’re interacting with children in the families we serve at early ages, helping them to get skills and training so they’re prepared to enter kindergarten.”

New Hope plans to expand its youth programming to include older children this year, and it will continue to partner with local schools with its backpack program, which provides food for children when they are not in school.

The new facility’s teaching kitchen will allow New Hope to offer cooking and nutrition classes – “teaching people how to read food labels to make healthy choices, and take it a step further and have members of the class go into the kitchen with us to learn basic cooking and kitchen skills.”

Overall, New Hope serves 20,000 residents of southcentral Pennsylvania in a service area of 310,000 people each year, according to Helmstetter.

The new facility will allow New Hope to expand its operation.

“Finding a location in the borough has been a dream for many years,” Helmstetter said. “It allows us to have a warehouse and be able to receive and store large donations, especially those that need to be refrigerated … (and) because of the size, it can serve as a hub of activities for our ministry. We’ll be able to use it as a staging area to serve our other locations. To be able to transport donations throughout the entire service area is a great asset.”

She said volunteers are now needed.

“We have this wonderful new building that has a warehouse and loading docks, but we’re in need of drivers and forklift operators – people who are willing to help us help the community from this location,” she said.

Helmstetter said money for the building project was raised through a capital campaign launched a few years ago and supported by the Dillsburg community as well as donors from Pennsylvania and beyond with connections to the New Hope Ministries.

“We still have a few more dollars to raise, but for the most part, we were very successful with (everyone) stepping up and supporting the capital campaign,” she said.

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Farm Show
Local wranglers help open festivities at Pa. Farm Show

HARRISBURG – Cumberland County residents roped calves, walked swine and entered baking contests Saturday at the opening day of the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Thousands of people flocked to the 24-acre complex, despite single digit temperatures. The huge agricultural extravaganza runs through 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free while parking is $15 a vehicle.

Ride ’em, cowgirl

Riley Shetron of Penn Township, Cumberland County’s version of an all-around cowgirl, on Saturday wowed thousands of spectators at the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association championship performance in the Large Arena.

The Big Spring High School sophomore used four different Quarter Horses to participate in team roping, goat tying, breakaway roping, barrel racing and pole bending.

“If you use one horse for everything, it’s too stressful for the horse,” she said. “I saddle all the horses before the rodeo then keep changing horses.”

The rodeo gives Farm Show a feeling of the Old West coming East. Originally held to evaluate cowboys’ courage, stamina and ability, rodeos now are popular high school competitions in which horses gallop, steers run, bulls buck and the young equestrians do their best to hang on with grace and strength.

Shetron did just that. She and Kamie Landolfi of Dover did team roping in which two equestrians gallop after a running steer, then one loops a rope around the steer’s head while the other ties its feet. Like most participants in this event, they couldn’t do the job in the allotted time.

Shetron showed her lassoing techniques in the breakaway event in which she raced after a calf and tried to lasso it before the buzzer sounded.

She shined in pole pending in which she and her galloping quarter horse zigzagged around six poles without touching them. She also participated in goat tying, riding to a goat, dismounting, running to the goat and tying three of its legs together; and barrel racing in which she and her horse named Dog raced into the arena and around three barrels without knocking them over.

Another Cumberland County cowgirl, Makayla Thickey of Carlisle, showed that she, too, knows her way around barrel racing. The Cumberland County High School senior made it look almost easy.

The crowd liked the rodeo cowboys too, sometimes cheering and sometimes holding their collective breath. In bareback riding, Brady Randolph of Jonestown sat atop a furiously bucking horse which exploded out of the chute. As he hung on with one hand, the horse tried its best to throw him off.

Jacob Varner of Collegeville demonstrated steer wrestling by leaping off a galloping horse, grabbing a steer and wrestling it to the ground.

Eight young men competed in bull riding, one of the most popular rodeo events. Each began by mounting a bull, wrapping a flat-braided rope around one hand, raising the other hand high and hanging on as the bull leaps out of the gate.

For what felt like forever – but only lasted eight seconds – the strong-willed cowboys and the powerful bulls dueled. The bulls dumped some cowboys onto the arena floor but all cowboys received applause.

Shetron traces her love of all things horse to her father, Terry Shetron, a calf roper, who will participate in the First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo Thursday through Saturday at the Farm Show. The Shetrons have 100 Angus cattle, grow corn and soybeans on 280 acres and live for rodeos.

Shetron said that she “belongs on a horse” and wants to participate in rodeos even when she goes to college and beyond.

“I got a pony named Montana when I was 7,” Shetron said. “I competed in the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association for years. My dad built me an arena and I practiced.”

Her father said she still does.

“Riley is a natural rodeo participant with a wide open, aggressive style,” he said. “She’s focused and determined. She’s been outside in this 0-degree weather riding to get ready for the Farm Show rodeo. She lives and breathes horses and spends nearly every weekend at rodeos.”

Going hog wild

A West Pennsboro Township woman represented Cumberland County in the Farm Show’s prestigious bred gilt show and auction Saturday morning.

Abby Stitt, a cardiac nurse at Holy Spirit Hospital, showed the winning Yorkshire pig, one of the top nine bred pigs out of 125 entered. Judge Harry Parrish called her pig “a model for this breed.”

Meanwhile, Lynn Finkenbinder of Newville, a Penn State junior majoring in food science, won the Pennsylvania Junior Purebred Swine Producers’ Scholarship of $1,000. That scholarship is donated by the family of the late Clyde McConaughey Jr., whose family exhibited at the Farm Show for 78 years.

Seventy-three bakers from across Pennsylvania competed in the Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Contest. The winner, Lucinda Donough of Spruce Hill Township in Juniata County, won the first place prize of $500 and a blue ribbon .

Donough also won top prize in the Farm Show angel food cake contest in 2013.

By the numbers

In the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show opening ceremony, Gov. Tom Wolf touted the diversity of the state’s agricultural industry.

Referring to this year’s theme, “Strength in Our Diversity,” Wolf said that Pennsylvania’s food and agriculture industries account for 18 percent of the state’s economy and has a $135.7 billion impact.

“Agriculture accounts for nearly 580,000 jobs in the state, paying total wages of nearly $27 billion,” he said. “Those are hard-earned dollars that are going to our families and keeping our communities strong.”

He said that over the past three years, operating funding to the Department of Agriculture increased by 23 percent, funding for farmland preservation went up by 45 percent, and funding to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences rose by more than $6 million.

State Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said that “for the past 102 years, Pennsylvanians have come together as a diverse state to celebrate an amazing industry full of entrepreneurial spirit and innovation.”

Teen of the Week
Teen of the Week: CV senior wants to be surgeon

Disaster struck his freshman year as Anthony Zaitsev was preparing to try out for the varsity wrestling team at Cumberland Valley High School.

The Hampden Township youth had been active in the sport since elementary school and once thought he could attend college on an athletic scholarship.

But all that changed just three days into the 2014 season during a warmup match with another boy who lacked experience but had plenty of strength.

Before it was over, Zaitsev suffered a severe concussion, a torn ligament and a broken leg. The injuries convinced him to quit one passion only to bounce back in pursuit of another.

“My goal is to be a doctor,” said Zaitsev, now 18 and a high school senior. Three years after a major setback disrupted his life the prognosis looks good for a future degree in biomedical engineering and eventually a practice as an orthopedic surgeon.

“I just developed an interest in repairing fellow athletes,” said Zaitsev recalling how this fascination began with the tendency of wrestlers to develop injuries. “My coaches and teammates recognized that I was a bright person.”

An ambition born

Once a coach came up to Zaitsev and told him bluntly “You’re smart. ... You could fix the team someday.” That particular role model was recovering from surgery to repair the nose he had broken several times.

When Zaitsev suffered his own injuries, the notion of studying to become a doctor became a very real ambition. Curious, he quizzed every specialist involved in his treatment and recovery and they were happy to share some insight.

Bouncing back was difficult — the toughest challenge Zaitsev ever faced. The nature of his injuries meant days missing class not to mention the difficulty he had in staying focused through a series of migraine headaches and other symptoms.

“It was a very long and painful experience,” Zaitsev said. “The hardest part was going back over and relearning everything. I had to take so many tests and make up so many lessons.”

He could have decided to give up and slack off, but Zaitsev came back and recovered with help from his parents and teachers. He is ranked within the top 20 students of the 2018 Class of 593 seniors.

Not only has Zaitsev excelled in school, he is taking advantage of side opportunities to explore the healthcare field and to prepare for the next stage after graduation.

In his junior and senior years, Zaitsev enrolled in the 10-week PULSE program offered in the fall by the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Every Monday after school, he went to the hospital in Derry Township, Dauphin County, to hear a physician give a lecture on a medical topic.

After each lecture, Zaitsev worked closely with medical students on case studies that explored the techniques used to diagnose a patient and develop a treatment plan.

This past summer Zaitsev took the initiative to job shadow a local rheumatologist at work for about 25 hours. He took notes as she briefed him about the case history of each patient and the approach she planned to take to treat the person. He observed how the specialist interacted with the public and administered injections and other treatments.

“It was really neat,” Zaitsev said. “It was something invaluable to me. Being able to leave the classroom and learn directly from a medical professional, you don’t get to experience that every day.” A rheumatologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases and systemic autoimmune conditions.

Zaitsev also participated in a summer internship program through Pinnacle Health where he had the opportunity to work in the lab that sterilized medical equipment between uses. “It involved more than just cleaning,” he said. “It involved delivering the equipment throughout the hospital. I learned how to interact with patients at the professional level.”

He has learned life lessons in other ways. The past two summers, Zaitsev participated in mission trips to Maine organized through the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church. The goal of each trip was to repair homes that were damaged by the heavy snow and extreme weather conditions of a harsh New England winter.

“We were there helping people who can’t afford their own repairs,” Zaitsev said. “This summer we built an entire roof for a mobile home. The flat roof was very leaky and not designed to be in Maine.” Mission workers built a peaked wooden frame and covered it over in metal sheeting before installing it over the flat roof.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” said Zaitsev noting how he spent a lot of time about nine feet off the ground. “It started getting scary sitting on the edge leaning over.

“It was definitely a very enlightening experience,” he added. “Sometimes I feel like I am trapped in my own bubble here living the good life. I don’t always get to experience what other people are experiencing. You see the other side of the world…It’s a broader view.”

Zaitsev is the first person in his family to be born in the U.S. His parents are ethnic Russians who came to this country from the Ukraine in the 1990s. Last year Zaitsev started a Russian Club to spread his language, culture and traditions to other students.

“I wanted to break the stigma,” Zaitsev said. “You always the Russians are the bad guys in movies. I’m a good guy.”

Recently club members saw the superhero movie The Guardians – a Russian film version of the Avengers dubbed over in English. Each hero represented a different nationality of the former Soviet Union.