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YMCA plans to tear down, rebuild portion of Carlisle facility following fundraising efforts

An artist’s rendering for proposed changes to the Carlisle Family YMCA facility on South West Street in Carlisle.

Following the announcement of a $1.5 million state grant, the Carlisle Family YMCA is much closer — but still roughly a year out — from a major overhaul of its facility.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that the Carlisle Family YMCA would receive $1.5 million out of the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), a significant boost to the YMCA’s capital campaign for facility improvements.

The YMCA has been in the “quiet phase” of its capital campaign for the past year, said Executive Director Marcia Drozdowski, with more public fundraising efforts planned for 2018.

The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to tear down and rebuild a significant chunk of the current YMCA facility, located on South West Street between Walnut and Willow Streets in Carlisle.

“The concept is that we would remove a significant part of the older YMCA structure and then rebuild,” Drozdowski said. “So we’ll have a different footprint, but we’ll be on the same site, just more efficient and better laid out.”


This image shows the proposed changes for the Carlisle Family YMCA facility.

Parts of the current building date to 1899. The YMCA occupied and expanded the site beginning in 1960.

The YMCA board of directors had discussed a possible capital campaign to raise money for a new location and new building in 2009, but put those plans on hold in January of 2010. Discussions then included a possible move to Thornwald Park, as well as other potential locations outside the borough.

In 2015, the board announced plans to revitalize the current structure, plans that took a big step forward with Friday’s announcement.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel  

The YMCA’s main facility has been in Carlisle since 1960.

Capital campaign

The initial goal of the YMCA’s capital campaign was $9 million, according to Hugh Gilroy, chair of the YMCA Capital Campaign Committee, but a final price tag has yet to be determined. Some parts of the existing facility will definitely stay, while others will definitely go.

“The pool and gym will remain, but pretty much everything else is going to be redone and reconfigured,” Gilroy said.

Tearing down and rebuilding parts of the facility on the existing lot will be logistically difficult, and YMCA officials had considered moving to a totally new site, Gilroy said — but the majority of donors wanted to see the organization stay at its traditional location.

“Part of the success of this campaign is the positive response we’ve gotten from the communtiy to stay where we are,” Gilroy said.

“The Board of Directors recognizes that it is time to pursue significant updates to our aging facility,” Rob Rahal, President of the Carlisle Family YMCA Board of Directors, said in a release. “This revitalization project will allow us to more fully meet the needs of our members moving forward, offer flexible spaces to meet future program trends, provide more family-friendly options, and increase energy efficiencies and reduce maintenance and repair costs.”

Gilroy thanked the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, as well as local legislators Sen. Mike Regan and Rep. Stephen Bloom, for their assistance and support in the RACP grant application process.

“Obviously the RCAP grant is a big jump forward for the capital campaign,” Gilroy said.

He also thanked local businessmen Kenn Tuckey, Bob Long, and Buz Wolfe for their assistance in organizing the promoting the capital campaign.

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Farm Show
Feeling judged as Farm Show prepares to open Saturday

HARRISBURG — Bulls tipping the scale at more than 2,000 pounds and rabbits weighing under 5 pounds joined thousands of animals and hundreds of people Friday on the eve of the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Like parents on Christmas Eve, animal owners, exhibitors, judges and the Farm Show Complex staff all worked frantically to be ready for Saturday’s opening of the much-anticipated show.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest agricultural exposition in the United States, opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and runs through 5 p.m. Jan. 13. Admission is free but parking is $15 a vehicle.

Exhibitors rushed to unpack their vehicles Friday as bone-numbing temperatures hovered in the teens and lower. Horses and cattle didn’t seem to mind the cold, calmly lumbering inside as directed.

The 24-acre complex buzzed with activity. People washed and groomed many of the 5,200 animals, judges evaluated everything from edible nuts to sewing projects, Food Court volunteers cooked and served goodies and Farm Show employees worked on everything from stalls to stages.


Throughout the complex, judges evaluated many of the 12,000 competitive exhibits as they awarded blue ribbons to the top winners.

The Large Arena hopped with the activity of 1,089 rabbits and 75 guinea pigs.

“We’re having a good show,” said Lori Jo Whithaus, Farm Show Rabbit Department chairwoman. “Our number of entries is holding steady. We have a lot of rabbit varieties from 33 entries in Mini Rex to one entry each in Checkered Giant, Giant Chinchilla to Palomino. This year, for the first time, meat rabbits will be sold at the Sale of Champions on Tuesday morning.”

She said that the number of guinea pigs is down because they don’t do well in bitterly cold temperatures.

Shiane Boyer of Shermansdale brought 25 rabbits to the show and was instrumental in the free rabbit meat sticks being given to Farm Show visitors.

“Rabbits who don’t make the show table are butchered,” she said. “I debone them and send them to a butcher shop where they are made into meat sticks”

Beef cattle filled the North and Northwest halls, where they were hosed with warm water, scrubbed in the steamy wash room, rinsed, blow dried and trimmed for judging.

“We had a challenging trip here,” Nolan Schmidt of Crawford County said while washing an 18-month-old Simmental. “We have between four and five feet of snow and a wind chill of 30 degrees below zero! It took six hours to get here today.”

Beef cattle judging took place in the Equine Arena.

Plenty of animals

Poultry from honking geese to clucking chickens to quacking ducks moved into the East Hall. Hogs moved from the West Hall to the Small Arena for judging. Meanwhile, more than 200 arriving goats and 200 sheep were being checked in and weighed.

Draft horses grooming was underway in the Equine Barn and in the large white tent that houses additional horses.

“We brought eight Belgians,” said Ken Sandoe of Myerstown as Chip, a 5-year-old Belgian, got a pedicure. “We’re competing in draft horse events today, tomorrow and Sunday.”

Everything from gingerbread houses to canned goods to commercial exhibits filled the huge Main Exhibition Hall. Gerri Moore, Family Living Department chairwoman, said that she saw more gourds and less needlework than usual.

Several ornate gingerbread houses were entered. An intricate gingerbread depiction of the 1773 historic Buckingham Mansion of Cornwall won first place for Brian Peffley of Lebanon.

Plump pumpkins, regal red cabbage and everything from parsnips to kale filled the vegetable display. Whimsical potatoes, dressed to look like people, were featured in the Mr. Spuds contest.

At the other end of the hall, folks from the Pennsylvania Marketplace which gives out food samples and sells food, and the PA Culinary Connection, which offers cooking demonstrations and samples, were setting up.

Food Court opens

The Weis Exposition Hall was one of the busiest sites of the complex, mainly because the popular Food Court opened to the public from noon to 9 p.m. Maple cotton candy, vegetable soup, chocolate-covered bacon, toasted cheese sandwiches, potato doughnuts, fried mushrooms and especially milk shakes were bought and consumed with gusto by hundreds of visitors.

At the “business end” of the hall, Luke Roan of Howard was setting up miniature landscaping displays, Terry Shetron of Newville organized his animal trailers display and a worker watered the snap bean crop in the “Diversity on Display” miniature field.

The Farm Show doors open at 8 a.m. today (Jan. 6), with the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association Championship following at 9 a.m. and the opening ceremony at 10 a.m.

Closer Look
Farm Show goes live starting Saturday morning

HARRISBURG — David Smith, quite literally, likes to bring new life to the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association executive director and a group of dairy farmers and supporters are sponsoring the Calving Corner at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show, which opens Saturday in the state Farm Show Complex at Cameron and Maclay streets.

The Calving Corner in the Northeast Hall will allow about 500 visitors in bleachers to watch a calf being born.

“This exhibit has been in the works for three or four years,” Smith said, adding that the state fairs in New York and Minnesota have similar attractions. “We want to bring dairy farms to the people.”

Smith said four Lancaster County dairy farms each will provide the Calving Corner with four very pregnant Holsteins every two days.

“Births will be hit or miss,” Smith said. “But chances are the public will get to see some births.” Although 95 percent of dairy cows deliver their calves without veterinarian assistance, Smith said veterinarians will be available in case they are needed.

“People are very excited about this,” he said. While the bovine mothers are in labor, dairy farmers will discuss birthing, dairy farming and milk production and answer audience questions. The area also will feature a mechanical milking cow named Susan.

Supported by the Land O’Lakes Foundation and Professional Dairy Producers of Pennsylvania, Smith’s group is joined at the Calving Corner by the Center for Dairy Excellence, American Dairy Association North East and the state Department of Agriculture.

Show focus

Using the theme “Strength in our Diversity,” this year’s Farm Show focuses on how agriculture is integral to Pennsylvania’s thriving economy, state Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said. He said the state’s 58,000 plus farmers have $7.5 billion in sales “from farm to fork” and provide nearly 500,000 jobs.

“Our production methods span the centuries-old horse-powered practices of Plain Sect farmers to cutting-edge technologies including robotic milkers, computerized harvesting equipment and data-gathering drones that power today’s large-scale and precision agriculture,” Redding said. “Pennsylvania is strong because Pennsylvania agriculture is strong.”

The Farm Show, Pennsylvania’s version of a state fair and the nation’s largest indoor agricultural event, features thousands of animals on display and many being judged and being sold at auction. Animals include draft and pleasure horses, dairy and beef cattle, sheep, hogs, poultry, goats, rabbits, alpacas and bees.

The 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show will feature such new events as organic produce judging, hard cider competition and a meatball showdown. It also includes a 1,000-pound butter sculpture, seven baking contests and displays of everything from combines to cultivators, from potatoes to pumpkins and commercial exhibitors from hot sauce to braided rugs to pretzels.

Visitors to the 24-acre complex can see agri-magic shows, blacksmith demonstrations, wood carving demonstrations and a rabbit hopping contest. Visitors can watch a rodeo, pitch horse shoes, make a microwave mug mix, learn about winemaking, bid at an apple auction and make a bluebird nest.

The children’s play area includes a sandbox filled with corn kernels. Children also can dress a scarecrow and ride a pedal-powered tractor.

Helping the Farm Show staff host the huge event are 2,893 Farm Show volunteers from nearly all 67 Pennsylvania counties and from Ohio, Maryland and Florida.


SATURDAY: Pennsylvania High School Rodeo Association Championship, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Large Arena; and Farm Show Fashions With a Flair, 5 p.m. in the Banquet Hall.

SUNDAY: Cumberland County 4-H Club Drill Team, 10 a.m. in the Large Arena; draft horse hitched competition, noon in the Large Arena; talent show at 1:30 p.m. in the Banquet Hall; and rabbit hopping contest at 7 p.m. in the Small Arena.

MONDAY: Minihorse pull at 6 p.m. in the Equine Arena; and square dance parade and competition at 6:45 p.m. in the Large Arena.

TUESDAY: Pony pulling at 9 a.m. in the Large Arena; Sale of Champions at 9:30 a.m. in the Small Arena; championship horse pulling at 1 p.m. in the Large Arena; and celebrity draft horse team driving contest at 6 p.m. in the Equine Arena.

WEDNESDAY: Youth fleece to shawl contest and auction at 10 a.m. in the Small Arena; meatball showdown at noon on the Culinary Connection Stage; sheep-to-shawl contest at 3 p.m. in the Small Arena; and bid calling contest at 5:30 p.m. in the Banquet Hall.

THURSDAY: Draft horse pleasure show and stick horse race at 8:30 a.m. in the Equine Arena; exceptional rodeo at 1 p.m. in the Large Arena; and Army vs. Navy cook-off at 1 p.m. on the Culinary Connection Stage.

FRIDAY: Tractor square dance at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Large Arena; and cow milking contest at 2:30 p.m. in the Equine Arena.

SATURDAY, Jan. 13: Lumberjack demonstration at 2 p.m. in the Equine Arena; apple auction at 3 p.m. in the Main Exhibition Hall.


If you’re hungry (and who isn’t at the Farm Show?), head to the Food Court in the Weis Expo Hall for such favorites as thick milkshakes, baked potatoes, fried mushrooms and roast beef sandwiches. There also will be new foods to try including corn fritters, goat sloppy joes, maple barbecue sauce and kielbasa with sauerkraut. Shop for food to take home at the Pennsylvania Marketplace.

If you want to learn about cooking, head to the Culinary Connection in the Main Exhibition Hall for cooking demonstrations (and free samples) from Pennsylvania chefs and celebrity chefs such as Alex Guarnaschelli, a judge on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America.”

You can even attend a short course at Farm Show University, where a series of lectures will teach visitors about agriculture and the Farm Show. These classes are held in the Weis Expo Hall behind the Food Court.

Farm Show visitors can use their smartphones to download an app designed to make it easier to get around the Farm Show Complex. For more information about the Farm Show, visit


BOSTON — Frigid temperatures, some that felt as cold as minus 30 degrees, moved across the East Coast on Friday as the region dug out from a massive winter storm that brought more than a foot of snow, hurricane-force winds and coastal flooding a day earlier.

There wasn’t much snow in the Midstate, just bitter cold wind chills of minus-20 to minus-30 below zero Friday into today. The wind will die down by Saturday evening, and the temperatures will begin to rise by Sunday evening.

Forecasters predicted strong winds and record-breaking cold air to hang around through the weekend.

Jess Flarity, a 32-year-old visiting a friend in Concord, New Hampshire, said the deep chill reminded him of his time in Alaska.

“I’ve been in minus 60 before so minus 20 doesn’t frighten me,” he said as he waited for a bus back to Boston Friday. “But I did have to prepare, bring some extra cold weather gear — gloves, boots and those kinds of things.”

In Portland, Maine, Jeanne Paterak said the cold snap revived her worries about the impact of climate change. “We are seeing some historic temperatures and everyone will be vulnerable,” she said as she stocked up on milk, vegetables and juice at a supermarket Friday morning.

The arctic blast could make temperatures feel as low as minus 15 degrees to minus 25 from Philadelphia to Boston and make residents of states like Maryland and Virginia shiver from temperatures ranging from 10 degrees to 15 degrees. The wind chill could make it feel like minus 35 degrees in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, the National Weather Service said.

Thursday’s storm packed wind gusts of more than 70 mph (113 kph) and dumped as much as 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow in some places.

It caused school and business closings, airline and rail service cancellations or reductions and thousands of utilities outages, many of them restored quickly. Some ferry services also had to be shut down.

Flights resumed at airports along the East Coast after hundreds were canceled Thursday.

In New Jersey, gusty winds carried flames from a vacant building across the street to two other buildings Friday morning. The flames also spread to two structures adjacent to the vacant building, damaging a total of five in Newark. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

In the South, the winter weather forced portable toilets to be put in place outside Mississippi’s Capitol after pipes burst and it caused iguanas to become sluggish and topple from trees in South Florida. Residents of southeast Georgia were treated to a rare half foot of snow (15 centimeters).

In New England, powerful winds brought coastal flooding that reached historic levels in some communities.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed Friday that water levels in Boston broke the record set during a massive blizzard in 1978.

The flooding sent large trash containers floating down Boston streets, forced the shutdown of a subway station as water cascaded down the steps and prompted rescues of people trapped in cars and homes by rapidly rising waters in several Massachusetts communities.

In Scituate, south of Boston, residents were spending Friday trying to dry out their basements before more frigid temperatures arrived.

Longtime resident Dianne Davis said her home was completely surrounded by ocean water that eventually filled her basement.

“I’ve never been afraid, but when the water was coming up over my front steps, that’s when I said ... ‘OK this is getting serious.’” said Davis.

At least eight people died in weather-related accidents, including a 13-year-old girl who was sickened by carbon monoxide in an apartment building in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

In Massachusetts, a worker suffered cardiac arrest and died Friday while clearing snow at a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority facility. And in Maine, authorities on Friday said they’re still searching for a clammer who disappeared during the blizzard.

Sunday morning was expected to bring the coldest temperatures from Portland, Maine, to Washington, D.C. More seasonable weather is expected to return early next week with temperatures in the high 30s and near 40s.