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Michael Bupp, The Sentinel 

Boiling Springs' Jack Coulston, top, wrestles Chestnut Ridge's Cody Brown at 132-pounds in a PIAA Wrestling Team Championships quarterfinal match Friday morning at the Giant Center.

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Ice Fest: Delivering frozen art to downtown Carlisle

Hours before the CenturyLink Ice Arts Festival opened in downtown Carlisle Friday, Kevin Gregory and his crew of nine from Ice Concepts started their work to prepare the main attraction for this weekend — ice in various forms.

Gregory, the president and owner of the Hatfield Township-based company, said three trucks started out on routes through town at 7 a.m. Friday to deliver and set up the 74 ice sculptures that will be located outside of downtown businesses.

“Things are going well,” he said.

The sculptures were packed in trucks in the order in which they would be delivered, he said. By 11 a.m., one truck had finished its deliveries and a second was almost finished.

The festival opened at 4 p.m. Friday with a ribbon cutting at 2nd Time Around. It continues from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The two primary carvers for Ice Concepts — Gregory and Tony Young — have been working together for 21 years after both started their careers in culinary arts and found a love for ice carving.

Planning ahead

Gregory said the company started working on the sculptures for the Ice Art Fest about three weeks ago, intermingling work on the festival’s sculptures with its regular work for businesses, events and even sports teams like the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.

“We do a lot of work for the Eagles. We did a ton of work for them this season,” Gregory said.

Ice Concepts works out of a 7,000-square-foot facility with plenty of freezer capacity to store the sculptures.

The sculptures are cut from 300-pound blocks of ice using chainsaws first to get the rough shape. Then, sanders smooth the pieces before the detail is added with die grinders and other power tools. Even with all that cutting, the final sculpture carries some weight.

“They are around 150 pounds a piece. Some are a little more and some are a little less. Most are a little more,” Gregory said.

To set up these smaller pieces, the crew first sets up and levels off a small wooden table that is then covered with a black cloth and a carpet square.

The largest pieces at Ice Art Fest are created in smaller sections to be assembled onsite. The blocks that became the ice throne located by the Old Courthouse on the square, for example, were wrapped in layers of cardboard and thermal blankets topped by shrink wrap before Young and his team set to work on it.

Ten separate blocks were covered with thermal sleeves with additional blocks tucked between the rows of ice. The assembly of the throne began by laying out the plywood base and topping it with carpet pieces that had been cut to fit the base.

Final touches

Then, the team began the process of roughing surfaces with a board filled with nails or sanders. Pieces of ice were further trimmed to fit using chainsaws. Some blocks were scored so they could be accurately cut to fit the overall sculpture onsite.

The joints between blocks are sealed with what could best be described as slush made from the nearby piles of snow and water much as the seams in drywall are sealed with joint compound. Water is also injected into the seams to hold the piece together.

Two sculptures will be created live on Saturday at the corner of Dickinson Avenue and North Hanover Street before being moved to their locations for the duration of the festival.

One of those sculptures had been commissioned by Redd’s Smokehouse BBQ, which closed this week after a fire Monday destroyed the kitchen. Owner Nick Mauldin said the restaurant still wanted to be part of the Ice Art Fest so it will be serving a buffet at Chef Exclusive, located next door to the restaurant, starting at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The price hasn’t been set for the buffet, but Mauldin said it would likely feature three meats and three sides to serve as “a way to give the regulars a little last taste of Redd’s for awhile.”

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel 

Zach Hill, left, and Bob Boyer of Ice Concepts prepare for the CenturyLink Ice Art Festival Friday morning in Carlisle.

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Ice Art Fest draws hundreds to downtown Carlisle

Mike Wells had to warm up to the idea of taking a seat on an ice throne.

“It was chilly. … It would be good for my back,” he joked Friday night. “But you really don’t want to sit too long. You may have trouble later.”

The Upper Frankford Township man was testing out one of the main attractions of the CenturyLink Ice Art Fest. Organized by the Downtown Carlisle Association, this second annual event continues from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Hundreds of area residents jammed the sidewalks Friday to look at the 74 sculptures crafted by Ice Concepts of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. In most cases, the artwork represented the sponsoring business.

There was a frosted beer mug for the Market Cross Pub and a chilled wine bottle for the North Hanover Grille. Mummert Chocolates had a heart-shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day while hands holding a heart graced the façade of the Tamzen Bridal shop.

There is a touch of the unusual. Miss Ruth’s Time Bomb has a punk rock poodle while Deibler Insurance has a crashed car. The Belgian restaurant Café Bruges hosts a Smurf, a classic cartoon character with origins from the same country as the cuisine.

As the chief sponsor, CenturyLink was represented by a throne located in front of an historic seat of power — the Old Courthouse on the Square. Company employees volunteered Friday to help people on and off the big chair.

“It’s great to have something like this in town to bring people out,” Wells said of the Ice Fest. “I’m glad they are doing this. It’s much larger this year.”

Just down the street, on the corner with West Pomfret, was a sculpture of a diamond ring that sparkled in the red back light.

Marjorie Romano, owner of Marjorie’s Gems, was on the committee that organized the first Ice Art Fest last year. That event featured 47 sculptures.

“It was huge success,” said Romano, who grew up in Carlisle. She has memories of visiting the downtown with her mother and eating lunch at the counter of the local Woolworth’s store.

“When I saw that crowd last year … all those people. … It was just like growing up again,” she said. “What the DCA did was to bring people back into the downtown to see that there are businesses thriving. It was magical to see it all come together and work.”

Last year, her jewelry store was humming with people who were previously unaware that downtown Carlisle had so many shops and restaurants.

“I have stopped in at a lot of stores that I have never been in,” Jenny Wendell of Carlisle said Friday. “It’s good for the community. It brings a lot of people.”

Wendell visited the Ice Fest on its first day because the weather forecast was calling for rain over the weekend. Last year, warm temperatures had melted a lot of the sculptures by Sunday.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel 

An ice sculpture along North Hanover Street Friday morning in Carlisle.

South Middleton Township
South Middleton Township OKs final plan for Dunkin' Donuts

A new Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to South Middleton Township.

Township supervisors unanimously approved a final land development plan for Dunkin’ Donuts that will be built at Alexander Spring Road and Dunwoody Drive near the new Pennsylvania State Police barracks now under construction.

“There’s definitely a lot of public interest in this,” supervisor Tom Faley said.

The 2,000-square-foot store will be built on a 0.828-acre lot. The Dunkin’ Donuts will feature a drive-thru, 22 parking spaces and seating for 18 people.

Supervisors also approved a number of waivers for the Dunkin’ Donuts project, including requirements for a preliminary plan, sidewalks, curb and sidewalks, and stormwater and infiltration issues.

“The project will involve a little bit of earthmoving, but not a lot of disturbance,” engineer John Snyder of RGS Associates said.

Developers said the eatery is scheduled to open in July, about the same time the new police barracks are expected to open. Township engineer Brian O’Neill said, however, that simply is a coincidence and not intentional. “It’s just the timing,” he said with a chuckle.

The new barracks will replace the State Police headquarters at 1500 Commerce Ave. in the township.

Road closing

Also on Thursday, South Middleton supervisors accepted a proposal by Scott Akens of Akens Engineering Associates to close a portion of South Spring Garden Street for the installation of a quarry conveyor belt. The road is to close Feb. 18-24.

The board tabled the action last month because board president Bryan Gembusia said he first wanted Akens to check with the Carlisle and South Middleton school districts about school bus routes that potentially would be disrupted.

In May 2017, township supervisors approved a revised conditional use request by Union Quarries Inc. at 101 Bonnybrook Road for the construction of a new stone processing plant and internal access drive that will replace the company’s existing stone crusher. Under the revised plan, crushed stone product will be conveyed across the quarry for further processing and stockpiling through a tunnel beneath South Spring Garden Street instead of using public streets.

The 20-foot tunnel is intended to reduce neighborhood traffic delays and airborne dust caused by quarry transport trucks. The new stone crusher will be on the east side of South Spring Garden Street in the same area as the existing crusher.

“This is a big plus for the township. This is going to be a much safer situation with what you’re doing,” Faley told developers.

Akens said warning signs about the impending closure will be in place days in advance on both sides of the closure. Detour routes also will be posted.

“It’s very rare that something like this happens and the outcome is so good. The residents are happy and the township is happy,” Gembusia said.

Republicans say they've revised gerrymandered district map

HARRISBURG — Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislature on Friday produced a new proposed map of the state's congressional districts, three weeks after the state Supreme Court declared the former map unconstitutional.

The proposal drafted by House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati would make widespread changes, eliminating dozens of municipal and county divisions while keeping nearly 70 percent of residents in their old districts.

They forwarded the map and other materials to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who has until Thursday to tell the justices if he supports it. If not, the court has indicated it will develop its own map.

Scarnati's top aide, Drew Crompton, told reporters he was confident the draft met standards outlined in the majority opinion released two days earlier.

"Unless the Supreme Court changes the rules again, that map is per se constitutional," Crompton said.

Some — if not many — of the finer points of the old map that have drawn criticism were addressed. The map puts several cities that had been split into single districts, including Erie and Harrisburg. Easton would be rejoined to other parts of the Lehigh Valley.

A suburban Philadelphia district whose shape has drawn comparisons to the cartoon characters Goofy kicking Donald Duck looks much more compact. Populous Montgomery County in the suburbs would be divided among four districts, rather than five. Crompton said its size meant it may not be possible to split it fewer than three ways.

Wolf's spokesman said the governor and his redistricting team will review the map, adding that an update before Monday was unlikely.

"The original map was fundamentally unfair in a multitude of ways and, from the court's orders and majority opinion, it is clear the gerrymandering of the current map went beyond manipulating the shape of the districts," Wolf press secretary J.J. Abbott said.

Crompton said the map will be turned into legislation but a decision about whether to bring it up for floor votes early next week will partially depend on the response from Wolf.

Democratic leaders in the Legislature promptly released a letter sent to Wolf, urging him to reject the map because it was a product of the two Republican leaders, as opposed to the General Assembly as a body.

They argued that violated the court order's discussion of "enactment of a remedial congressional districting plan."

"The Republican leadership in both chambers blocked this process, refused to negotiate and have now submitted a map directly to your office that we have not even seen," wrote Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody.

The GOP-drawn map passed in 2011 has been a political winner for Republicans, giving them a 13-5 advantage in three straight elections in a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans.

The decision by the Democratic majority on the court to throw out the map has raised Democrats' hopes that different districts could help them flip enough seats to retake the majority in Congress.

"The unknown at this point is what kind of partisan split could be predicted from these districts," said House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton. "A 9-9 balance in a state like this would be fairest."

The Republican leaders said their map splits only 32 counties and municipalities, 62 fewer than the 2011 map. It maintains a majority-minority district in Philadelphia and increases the minority numbers in a second city district.

The court's majority opinion issued Jan. 22 said the plan violates a provision of the state constitution that guarantees "free and equal" elections, subverting redistricting objectives such as compactness and minimal municipal splits to the goal of gaining partisan advantage.

The court has said a new map will be in place by Feb. 19. It will be used for the May 15 primary, but not for the March 13 special election to fill a vacant congressional seat in southwestern Pennsylvania.