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Marco Ugarte 

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2007, file photo, the moon takes on different orange tones during a lunar eclipse seen from Mexico City. During a lunar eclipse, the moon's disk can take on a colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and, rarely, very dark gray. On Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, a super moon, blue moon and a lunar eclipse will coincide for first time since 1982 and will not occur again until 2037. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

Carlisle's Ice Art Fest returns in February

The popularity of last year’s Ice Art Fest in downtown Carlisle caught some by surprise.

“We had more people than we thought we were going to have,” said Robin Dingle, owner of 2nd Time Around and chair of the Ice Arts Fest committee.

She said some businesses ran short on supplies due to the large crowd, prompting them to work hard overnight to replenish their stock. The crowds also spawned a residual effect as Dingle reported businesses had visitors coming back throughout the year who mentioned having first seen the business at the festival.

This year, more brochures have been printed, more businesses are participating and more people are expected when the Ice Arts Fest returns to downtown Carlisle Feb. 9-11.

The festival opens at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, with a ribbon cutting at 2nd Time Around. The festival continues until 9 p.m. that evening and continues from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“We expect to have the same or a larger crowd, pending the weather. Of course, we can’t control the weather, but I’ve tried to control everything else I could possibly control,” Dingle said.

The main attraction again will be the ice sculptures by Ice Concepts of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. The number of sculptures jumped from 47 last year to 74 this year, with each one being sponsored by businesses both inside and outside of the downtown commercial district.

Last year, most of the businesses sponsored sculptures that represented their business. That’s happening again this year, to some extent. For example, Fay’s Country Kitchen, known for its Coca-Cola decorations, features a Coke bottle outside its doors. Likewise, a hot dog made of ice will grace the sidewalk in front of the Hamilton Restaurant.

But this year, there are also businesses that are sponsoring more interactive sculptures to encourage people to stop to take photos, Dingle said. That gives people the opportunity to have their photos taken with ice versions of Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse or a Smurf, among others.

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.

The ice throne will again be set up at the Square, and Comfort Suites will again host the ice bar at its patio on South Hanover Street. Wagon rides and glass blowing workshops and demonstrations will also return for the festival.

The Diamond Dig at Marjorie’s Gems will again be held with a pair of vintage 14-carat white gold diamond earrings available for discovery for those willing to brave a bucket of icy water for the chance.

The chili cook-off is also returning, and a beer tasting featuring five Carlisle breweries along with Belgian beers from Cafe Bruges has been added to the event.

One of last year’s most popular features is returning with a slight change. The appearance of the “Snow Sisters” at the Carlisle Vault resulted in lines that stretched around the corner at the Square. This year, children can enjoy cookies and cocoa on Saturday or a chocolate buffet on Sunday.

“This year, you can purchase the ticket and have a set time so you don’t have to wait in line,” Dingle said.

New events include a digital scavenger hunt in which participants answer questions about downtown businesses for the chance to win gift cards to the businesses.

Performances for the weekend kick-off include HoOt, Carlisle’s traveling comedy club, holding three shows on Friday evening at the Carlisle Vault. The first show at 7 p.m. is family friendly, but the remaining two shows at 8:30 and 10 p.m. are for adults only.

Performances continue on Saturday with Carlisle’s dance troupe, REACH, performing at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Keating Jazz Orchestra will perform music from the 1930s and 1940s at the American Legion at 8 p.m.

All performances require a ticket. Tickets are available online at in advance or at the individual venue and at the red house on the Square during the event. The other house at the Square, the blue Alpine House, will have refreshments for sale.

Free movies will be shown at the Carlisle Theatre Sunday. “Frozen” will be shown at 11 a.m. and “Edward Scissorhands” will be shown at 3 p.m.

Throughout the event, Create-a-Palooza will be holding a penguin toss in its back parking lot. For $1 a throw, participants can toss fake penguins onto inflatable ice cubes to win prizes.

“All of the proceeds of that go back to the Downtown Carlisle Association to help support our events that we put on year round,” Dingle said.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the event. Duties include anything from helping people on and off the ice throne to taking tickets at a performance venue. Dingle said volunteers may sign up online where there are descriptions of all of the volunteer positions. Most volunteer shifts are two or three hours long.

“We can’t put on all these great events without help from the community,” Dingle said.

top story
Over the Limit: Alcohol is a factor in many violent crimes

On March 12, Mark Jante, a 59-year-old Middlesex Township man, called 911 to report that he had stabbed someone and was in need of medical attention.

When police arrived on the scene they found Jante covered in blood, and the victim — a man Jante referred to as his “buddy” — bleeding from his back, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

The victim died as a result of injuries, and Jante became the first of two people charged with criminal homicide in Cumberland County in 2017.

While killings are rare in the county, there is one factor of the crime Jante is accused of that has become common in the commission of violent crimes: alcohol.

When police spoke to Jante on the scene, they reported he smelled of alcohol. Jante, who has been held in Cumberland County Prison without bail since the attack, told police he had been drinking with the victim all day, according to the affidavit.

Alcohol and violence

“Any situation where there’s a potential for violence, you add alcohol and it’s like adding gasoline to a lit fire,” said David Jernigan, associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Between 2006 and 2010, alcohol was a key factor in more than 300 homicides in Pennsylvania according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those 300 people account for more than 14,000 years of potential life lost in the state, according to the CDC.

The CDC reports that alcohol played a pivotal role in nearly half of all homicides and nearly a quarter of all suicides in Pennsylvania.

Alcohol is so prevalent in the commission of violent crimes that domestic assaults fell roughly 9 percent after South Dakota instituted a program that aimed to keep repeat DUI defendants abstinent from alcohol.

Jernigan said there are two main factors why alcohol is so prevalent in violence.

One he said is physiological through a disinhibiting effect, meaning a person may make decisions while under the influence of alcohol that they would not otherwise.

“Alcohol basically disables judgment,” he said. “That’s one of the effects it has on the brain.”

A person who may be prone to violence, but is able to control those tendencies when sober, may not be able to when drinking.

Jernigan said the disinhibiting effect is also amplified by a social expectation that alcohol will act this way.

“Expectancies change when people are drinking,” he said.

Jernigan said in studies in which people are given nonalcoholic beverages but are told the drinks contain alcohol, the participants will disinhibit despite being completely sober.

Binge drinking

Both Jernigan and Daniel Webster, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said drinking to excess, or “binge drinking,” is the main concern when it comes to alcohol and crime.

“Generally, a little bit of alcohol doesn’t affect our behavior all that much,” Webster said. “It might affect our driving a little bit, but really it affects our behavior in respects to our judgment, our ability to control our impulses and a whole range or things that potentially increase your risk for being involved in a violent encounter. Those things tend to occur on the heavier inebriated range of the spectrum.”

Binge drinking tends to be most prevalent among 18 to 34-year-olds, according to the CDC.

More than a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds reported binge drinking in 2013, according to the CDC. That drops to roughly 20 percent for 35- to 44-year-olds and tapers off with age, reach roughly 4 percent for people 65 years old or older.

People age 18 to 34 are also typically considered to be in the peak of prime offending age.

In 2016, nearly 60 percent of all charged assaults in Pennsylvania were committed by people between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, according to an analysis of court records conducted by The Sentinel.

Men are also nearly twice as likely to binge drink compared to women, according to the CDC.

In Cumberland County, men accounted for nearly 90 percent of the people charged with aggravated assault in 2016 and more than 80 percent of the people charged with any violent crime, according The Sentinel’s analysis.

County stats

Most crime types have a general pattern for when they are committed throughout the week. The prevalence of a charged criminal offense will rise and fall during the week depending on a host of social and behavioral factors and how police resources are allocated to detect those crimes.

For example, DUIs tend to remain relatively steady through the beginning of the week, with a small uptick on Thursday before rising sharply into the weekend, according to an analysis of court records conducted by The Sentinel.

Joshua Vaughn, The Sentinel 

This chart shows the percent of all DUI cases charge by the day of the week. Information is pulled from criminal dockets entered into the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

Assaults track very closely to this pattern, according to the analysis. A potential reason for this is that both have a heavy alcohol use component and drinking is more socially acceptable during the weekend than it is during the traditional work week.

Joshua Vaughn, The Sentinel 

This chart shows the percent of all assault cases charged by the day of the week. Information is pulled from criminal dockets entered into the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

Other crime types do not follow this pattern.

Joshua Vaughn, The Sentinel 

This chart shows the percent of all property crime cases charged by the day of the week. Information is pulled from criminal dockets entered into the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

Property crimes and non-DUI offenses tend to ebb and flow throughout the work week and generally have the highest percentage of cases occur on Friday before tapering off during the weekend in Cumberland County, according to court records.

top story
Over the Limit: Major movies may reduce violent crime in Pa.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” tells the tale of a misfit band of rebels bent on destroying the evil galactic empire, and while the movie is a fight between good and evil a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it may have caused fewer people to fight closer to home.

An analysis of court records conducted by The Sentinel found violent crimes in Pennsylvania dropped the weekend several major motion pictures were released. The most pronounced drop came the weekend the “Star Wars” standalone film hit the big screen.

Assaults committed by people between the ages of 18 and 35 dropped by more than 35 percent the weekend “Rogue One” was released compared to the weekend prior, according to the analysis.

The Sentinel reviewed more than 200,000 criminal cases filed in the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania in 2016 and sorted cases of assault by the listed offense date.

More than 180 people in that age group were charged with an assault occurring the weekend before “Rogue One” premiered, according to court records. Sixty fewer assaults were tallied during the Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the movie’s release, the analysis found.

This was nearly the lowest number of charged assaults for any weekend in the state in 2016 and well below the median for the year of 199 cases, according to court records.

The possible effect the movie’s release had on violent offenses appears to go beyond just the sheer drop in crimes.

There is a typical flow to assaults as the week progresses, according to court records. In 2016, the three days before the weekend and the three days after typically tallied about 20 to 30 percent fewer assaults than the weekend, The Sentinel’s analysis found.

This creates a relatively even curve with a rise and fall in assaults into and out of the weekend.

Joshua Vaughn, The Sentinel 

This chart tracks the rise and fall in simple assaults in Pennsylvania from the three days before the weekend, during the weekend and the three days after the week a major motion picture was released and the week preceding it.

Assaults are typically 20 to 30 percent higher during the weekend than the during the three days before or three days after, according to court records.

All data is aggregated from criminal dockets in the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

That curve was heavily flattened the weekend “Rogue One” was released, with incidents rising slightly going into the weekend and remaining almost flat coming out of the weekend.

Other movies like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” also saw a significant drop in assaults among 18- to 35-year-olds, as well as a flattening effect, according to The Sentinel’s analysis.

A more nuanced review of the impact of movies on violent crimes was published in 2008 by researchers from the University of California.

The authors, Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna, found between 1995 and 2004 violent crimes dropped as more people attended violent movies. They found nearly 1,000 violent crimes were deterred on an average weekend when a violent movie was widely viewed.

Dahl and DellaVigna proposed this deterrence was caused in part because people who would normally go out and drink alcohol chose instead to go see the movie.

As they note, alcohol and specifically heavy drinking or “binge drinking” plays a major role in the commission of many violent crimes.

Since alcohol is generally not served at movie theaters, alcohol consumption is reduced. With reduced alcohol consumption comes fewer violent crimes, the authors posited.

To be clear, it is unlikely that an influx of “Star Wars” franchise movies would be an effective, lasting crime prevention policy.

Assaults in Pennsylvania generally rebounded within a few weeks if not the subsequent week of the release of a major motion picture, and Dahl and DellaVigna found no lasting effects after three weeks a movie’s release.

Other movies that brought in a lot of money at the box office, like “Suicide Squad” and “Captain America: Civil War” saw little to no change in assaults. Others like the Denzel Washington film, “Magnificent Seven,” saw a significant drop in assaults but a much less pronounced flattening effect.

5 Questions
5 Questions: Whitcomb inspired by late uncle in fundraising campaign

Inspired by her uncle’s drive to help others, a Cumberland Valley High School senior is looking to raise $50,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Madison Nicole Whitcomb is the oldest of Scott and Robin Whitcomb’s three children. Throughout high school, she embraced community work and volunteering. Like her uncle, Lennie Whitcomb, she describes herself as a social and confident person who believes she has a responsibility to use that outgoing personality to help others.

She’s involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters and has spent a lot of time coaching youth field hockey players, in addition to participating in a variety of clubs at school ranging from Mini-Thon to working with special education students to teaching Spanish to elementary school students.

She’s a member of the National Honor Society and has volunteered at Project SHARE and Caitlin’s Smiles.

Though she said she has enjoyed all of her volunteer work, her Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Campaign, which continues through March 9, is more personal.

Q. Tell us a little about your uncle, Lennie Whitcomb.

A. Lennie held a bachelor of science in education from Shippensburg University, and master of science in education, training and development from Pennsylvania State University. Lennie was the corporate learning director for Gannett Fleming Engineers, Planners and Architects for over nine years. Uncle Lennie always spoke highly of his co-workers and loved working at Gannett Fleming.

About five days after he passed, I went into his work to talk to his co-workers about the Student Series Campaign. As soon as I walked into the building, I was greeted with warm smiles and kind words. My father, who is Lennie’s older brother, and I entered the conference room and I was amazed to see how many people showed up to listen in on my presentation. We ran out of seats so some had to stand.

He was a proud member of St. Michael Lutheran Church in Harrisburg for 31 years. He believed in the church’s affirmation that God was calling us into the world together to seek a common good.

Lennie loved sports and the arts equally. He was a fierce Eagles fan, played the piano, listened to classical jazz, ran the New York City Marathon and was a rugby player. He served on various community boards through the years, most recently the Dixon University Center. Lennie was diagnosed with lymphoma roughly three years ago and passed away on Dec. 30, 2017.

Q. How has he inspired your participation in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student of the Year program?

A. Uncle Lennie had an exceptional ability to rise above incredibly tough situations. I say it time and time again, but I mean it every time I say it. The cancer damaged Lennie’s physical health, but the cancer failed to take his positive personality. Lennie was the light in dark times. He always put others before himself. I was nominated by last year’s Student of the Year, Annabel Krebs, in August. When I told Lennie about the campaign, it was a very emotional moment. His immediate response was, “Madison, what can I do to help you?” That was Lennie — selfless and driven by wanting to help others. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to rally the community to help fund a research grant. This campaign is not about me. Lennie’s drive to help others even when he was incredibly ill is what motivates me to get that research grant and write it under his name.

Q. What does the society do, and how does the Student of the Year program fit in with their mission?

A. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s mission is to find cures for blood cancer and to make treatments accessible to patients. However, the research done on blood cancer is not restricted to fighting only blood cancer. In fact, there are 16 FDA-approved drugs discovered from blood cancer research that are commonly used for other cancers such as brain, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, breast, lung, kidney, liver and lung cancers. The money that the Student Series raises goes toward that research. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society utilizes research at the molecular level. Cancer cells are more accessible from blood than from mass tumors. Before a drug or treatment is passed by the FDA, it’s considered a clinical trial. These clinical trials are funded by research grants, and $50,000 is the required amount to fund a grant. If a candidate raises the $50,000, then they can name the grant.

Q. What are some of your fundraising activities and goals?

A. My goal is to raise the $50,000, the required amount to fund a research grant and write it under my Uncle Lennie’s name. The campaign runs from Jan. 21 to March 9.

Another goal is for the community to rally behind this campaign so everyone knows that they are capable of making a difference. As Lennie’s health got worse toward the end, I started to feel helpless. I know that he would tell me to take my grief and use it to motivate me to reach my goal. This campaign is healing for me because it gives me an opportunity to make a difference.

Some of my fundraising activities include:

T- Shirt Sales: Contact Rene Krebs at 717-503-0116 or by email at to order or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities.

Laptop Chance: Donors can get tickets for a chance to win a brand new $800 value laptop.

Sam’s Club Canning Fundraiser: Feb. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

Lennie’s Love & Legacy at Carlisle Country Club: Feb. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event includes a sit down dinner, professional table side magic, pianist and silent auction. Silent auction items will be listed on the website. Tickets are $100.

LLS Jazz Brunch: Feb. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Café Fresco Center City, 215 N. Second St., Harrisburg. Call to make a reservation before the event at 717-236-2599.

Bingo Night at Jigsy’s Pizza: March 4 from 1 to 4 p.m., 225 North Enola Road, Enola.

Q. How can people make contributions to your campaign?

A. My biggest event is the Lennie’s Love & Legacy at the Carlisle Country Club on Feb. 17. We are searching for silent auction items, corporate sponsors for tables and for caring individuals to go on my website to get tickets to celebrate the Valentine’s Day themed event.

Donations may also be made on the campaign website at When you use the website to donate, please share a memory of Lennie Whitcomb or anyone you know that has fought or is fighting cancer. Let’s let their legacies live on.

In order for a check to count toward the campaign, donors must make checks or money orders payable directly to “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.” Then, they must write “Madison Whitcomb – SOY2018” in the memo line and mail to: 404 Sorbie Lane, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050.