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Michael Bupp, The Sentinel  

Victor Wills, left, and Rachel Moore run with their dog, Bunk, along City Island in February.

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Rotary Club of Carlisle Sunrise planting project benefits Big Spring High School

A row of 20 Japanese Zelkova trees now lines a portion of the cross country course at Big Spring High School, thanks to a community service project led by the Rotary Club of Carlisle Sunrise.

The 6- to 10-foot trees were planted April 21 in conjunction with Earth Day and as part of Rotary District 7390’s Day of Service, according to project coordinator Marvin Salsman. He said the project also pushes Rotary International closer to the goal of its president, Ian H.S. Riley, to plant one tree for each of the organization’s 1.2 million members this year.

The trees were planted by 18 club members, two National Honor Society students from Big Spring High School — Sami Meacock and T.C. Magee — and school district employees Rick Gillam, manager of buildings and grounds, and Sam Sheeler, maintenance manager.

Salsman said the volunteers spent about 125 total volunteer hours on the project, although the trees were planted in less than four hours.

“Sam used a tractor and auger to drill the holes to plant the trees. ... Members brought tools, and we had a water trailer,” he said. “We watered, fertilized, staked them so they would stay vertical, and mulched around the trees. It was a bunch of busy bees out there performing all the work.”

Salsman said Japanese Zelkova trees are rare, but the club was able to purchase them locally. They are the same type of tree planted throughout school district property.

“Big Spring started planting this type of tree because they’re hardy and disease resistant,” Salsman said.


Half of the funding for the $2,000 project was donated by the Rotary Club of Carlisle Sunrise. The remainder was provided through a matching fund grant from Rotary District 7390.

Salsman said all communities within the club’s service area are considered when projects are planned.

“We have several members who are from Big Spring, and Newville is a big part of our club,” he said. “We want to do projects in all communities that are represented by our club.”

Salsman said the club’s other community service projects include replacing the gazebo in Thornwald Park in Carlisle, constructing a covered bus stop shelter in front of Cumberland County Courthouse, restoring the cannon at the Molly Pitcher gravesite in the Old Carlisle Cemetery, and purchasing a bite suit for the Carlisle Police Department to aid in the training of police dogs.

Now, he said, families and friends will be able to “enjoy the shade of these trees as they cheer on their favorite runners on the course.”

5 Questions
5 Questions: Carlisle student takes Shakespeare to New York

A Carlisle High School student’s talent recently took her to New York City for a national competition.

Ava Wendelken, a junior, won first prize in the English Speaking Union Central PA Regional Shakespeare Competition in February by reciting Sonnet 115 and performing her monologue from Henry IV. Students from eight high schools presented monologues and sonnets from the works of William Shakespeare.

The competition was held at St. Francis University, which sponsored Wendelken’s entrance participation fee for the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City last Monday.

Wendelken said she was happy with her performance, though she did not make the finals in the national competition.

“Having not expected to even make it past the locals, I am overwhelmingly honored to have performed at Lincoln Center among 55 of the best young actors in the country,” she said.

Wendelken thanked the English Speaking Union for its assistance. She also thanked her directors, Douglas Hewlett and Susan Biondo-Hench, for the time and care they have take to help the troupe at Carlisle develop their skills.

“The people who foster us and teach us how to grow into passionate, straight-backed people deserve even more from the world than they have already given, and that is a great deal,” she said.

Q. How did you first learn about the Shakespeare Competition?

A. The National Sonnet Monologue competition is a requisite piece to the curriculum of Carlisle High School’s Shakespeare class, but it was on my radar screen long before I enrolled in the class and it suddenly had to be. I had a brother who roped me into Shakespeare my freshman year, and after my first taste, I was hooked. Following my first performance with the troupe in a student-directed festival during the fall of that year, I felt desperate for more, and was informed of the National Sonnet Monologue competition by some of my upperclassman friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up participating in it that year due to some personal conflicts, but I’m sure freshman-year me wouldn’t have even to begun to imagine the incredible opportunity this has turned out to be.

Q. What goes into choosing a sonnet and monologue for the competition?

A. When choosing a sonnet and a monologue, it is crucial to, from a strictly competitive perspective, consider the range you can show as an actor between the two. However, that’s an extreme oversimplification that doesn’t consider the fact that a sonnet and a monologue is not just something you say while playing mock-sad or play-angry. Both pieces are things you must sit with and to some extent embody for at least a month, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t connect well to your text.

It’s like having an annoying roommate, and one shouldn’t have to dread coming home. The words should be beautiful and depthy and intrinsic, and perhaps more importantly, understandable to you on some level. I’m not an avid advocate for method acting, and you certainly don’t have to choose a character that is the same as you, or else we would not be acting. But connection and relatability is crucial.

Additionally, you should try to consider your “cast type” — if you are the matron archetype in most plays, you might not be a great Titus Andronicus. I hesitate to mention this — I don’t believe in approaching competitions like this with the sole intent of rigging the game in your favor. Instead, the main focus should be choosing a piece of art that speaks to you and trying in earnest to share it.

Q. What factors are the judges looking at when they evaluate your presentation?

A. Oh boy, if I could look well into the minds of judges, I would be a much happier young lady, but I can to an extent guess at what they look for. As I mentioned before, they look at the actor’s range and their flexibility with roles, their clarity of voice and diction, and their understanding of what they are saying (this is much more crucial in Shakespearean acting than traditional acting, for obvious reasons). Criteria for monologue performances and sonnet recitations start to differ a little bit beyond those factors. Monologues are evaluated based on performative ability and embodiment of character, and sonnets are based on articulation, expression and recitative ability.

Q. How has memorizing Shakespeare and delivering these monologues helped you in other areas?

A. Memorizing Shakespeare has honed a great deal of skills for me. It has definitely helped me with language comprehension and use. Understanding fully how and why we use the words we use is central to performing Shakespeare, because without understanding one’s monologue or sonnet down to each word, you can’t color the performance with nuance. In a more new-agey sense, it has shown me how to be patient with myself and the world, and comfortable with the idea that there are myriad things I understand but cannot articulate yet.

My director likes to remind us that when we work with Shakespeare’s texts, we will always be trying to understand and developing our relationship with the text even without thinking about it, it just takes time. She’s very right, and this applies to much of life. When we are faced with a problem, we keep working on it subconsciously until it unfolds itself. It just takes time.

These texts also teach you to have a great deal of trust — trust in the original text, trust in your directors, and trust in yourself as an actor. There are always forces at play that you cannot control and might not yet understand, and you just have to trust that they are guiding you right — no matter how I perform in this competition, I trust that it has been the right path for me.

Q. What’s your favorite sonnet or monologue, and what makes it special?

A. My favorite monologue is hands down Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, the “to be, or not to be” monologue, in which Prince Hamlet considers the nature of suffering, and ultimately, the morality of choosing to cut short suffering through one’s own death. I wish I had a more niche pick for favorite of all time, but there is a reason that everyone has been forced to hear this monologue in myriad, myriad contexts outside of Shakespearean and classical studies. Hamlet is perhaps one of the most oft-quoted, nigh-canonical pieces of human literature in existence, and this monologue in specific proves that there is no end to the depth of words when they are chosen specifically and carefully and meaningfully. I have heard this monologue more than 20 times, and I discover something new to connect to every time.

“To be or not to be,” as a phrase has this wonderful chiasmus that makes us rethink one of the most basic verbal infinitives (to be is the first verb anyone learns to conjugate because it tells us everything) and turns it into a vital philosophical question. It is iambically perfect on its own, and the stress falls upon be, not, and be once more; it brings a clear comparison between existing and the most unfathomable idea of not existing with the simple addition of a negative modifier. The meter breaks off after this, and rarely becomes perfect again, if ever — his fearful “pause” (to appropriate his words) keeps him from speaking with the rehearsed, metrically perfect speech of most of Shakespeare’s royal heroes.

The language is beautiful on an aesthetic level, too, metaphorical and romantic in the way we hesitate to speak about death, but honest as well, possessing a genuine quality that shows precisely how thoughtful the author must’ve been in matters of existential importance. The centuries-long repetition of this monologue teaches us that pain, hesitation, beauty, and the drive for survival that turns even the genuinely suicidal towards the idea of another day is something that transcends culture, and will probably stay with us for a while longer.

Get ready for the most expensive driving season in years

Get ready for a little bit more pain at the pump this summer.

Crude oil prices are at the highest level in more than three years and expected to climb higher, pushing up gasoline prices along the way.

The U.S. daily national average for regular gasoline is now $2.81 per gallon. That’s up from about $2.39 per gallon a year ago, according to Oil Price Information Service. And across the U.S., 13 percent of gas stations are charging $3 per gallon or more, AAA said last week.

“This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service.

The price of U.S. crude oil has been on a mostly steady incline since last June and last week hit $68.64, the highest since December 2014. Benchmark U.S. crude closed Friday at $68.10. Oil prices near $70 shouldn’t put the brakes on economic growth, however. While they’re boosting costs for some sectors of the economy, the energy sector and related industries have more money to spend on equipment and workers.

But higher oil prices are certainly an inconvenience for drivers, especially those with lower incomes.

“The good news is, both at the global level and the U.S. level, this is occurring at a time when growth is fairly robust,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit. “But consumers as whole will be hurt, mostly because gasoline prices are going up.”

Kevin Lanke, a motion picture lighting technician in Redondo Beach, California, says he’s now paying about $3.39 per gallon to fill up the 25-gallon tank in his 2000 Land Cruiser SUV. That’s about 20 cents more per gallon than a couple of months ago.

“I would fill up my car and it would be $52 or $53,” said Lanke, 51. “Now it’s in the mid $60s for the same amount of gas.”

Lanke keeps the recent increase in perspective, noting that three years ago he and his fellow Californians were paying over $4 per gallon. But he’s already weighing his options, saying if gas goes to $4 a gallon he’ll buy a more fuel-efficient car to use as his main ride and drive the Land Cruiser only when he needs it.

Several factors have helped drive oil prices higher. A wave of global economic growth has driven up demand for oil. At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies.

In the U.S., oil supplies were running 1.1 million barrels lower at the start of this summer’s driving season, which runs from April through September, than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That has amplified the typical increase in gas prices seen this time of year. Pump prices normally rise as demand increases from families going on vacation and taking to the highways on road trips. Already, U.S. consumer demand for gasoline hit a record high for the month of April, according to the EIA.

Drivers in Western states such as California, Oregon, Washington, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, are paying the most at the pump. The average retail price in those states is running from $2.95 to $3.61 per gallon.

Average retail gasoline prices are lowest in a swath of mostly East Coast states, including Florida, New Hampshire, Delaware and Georgia. They’re ranging from $2.68 to $2.80 per gallon.

Still, prices remain well off from 2008, when crude oil prices jumped above $130 per barrel and average retail gas prices surged to an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon.

“People forget very, very quickly,” Kloza said, addng that the average U.S. gasoline price remains well below where they stood five years ago at $3.60 per gallon.

“We’re seeing a higher price environment ... but I don’t think we’re going to look at really apocalyptic numbers,” he said.

The EIA projects that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.74 per gallon this summer, up from an average of $2.41 per gallon a year earlier. Gas prices rise each spring through Memorial Day and slowly decline as the summer goes along.

For all of 2018, the agency expects that the national retail price for all grades of gasoline will average $2.76 a gallon. That would translate into an additional $190 spent on fuel by the average U.S. household this year compared to last, the agency said.

“At the higher income levels, this won’t really have much of an effect,” Behravesh said. “But it’s a bigger deal for lower-income families, because a bigger share of their budgets goes to things like gasoline.”

In broader economic terms, the rise in oil and gasoline prices will help crude producers in states like Texas and North Dakota and will likely boost capital spending industrywide. Spending by oil companies fell sharply as oil plunged below $30 a barrel in 2016, dragging on U.S. economic growth.

Industries that rely heavily on fuel, such as shipping companies, airlines, vehicle fleet operators and other transportation companies, are seeing rising costs, which eventually will be passed on to consumers. Diesel fuel hit its highest national average price in more than three years over the weekend at about $3.06 per gallon. American Airlines said it spent $412 million more on fuel in the recent first quarter than in the year-ago period.

At current levels, U.S. crude oil prices won’t noticeably hamper the economy, Behravesh said.

“You would have to get up into the $90-$100 range for it to really have a big impact on growth,” he said. “At these levels, it may shave off a tenth of a percentage point off global growth.”

One reason oil likely won’t get to that level is the emergence of the U.S. as a major global oil producer. Higher prices encourage U.S. oil companies to crank up output.

“That rise in U.S. production and further rises in U.S. production will put a cap or a damper eventually on higher oil prices,” Behravesh said.

Pa. gun owners fight for cause during Capitol rally

HARRISBURG — Gun owners focused on their Second Amendment firearms rights brought their cause to Pennsylvania state lawmakers Monday in what has become an annual event.

Hundreds of gun rights supporters filled the Capitol Rotunda to the point where security had to turn additional people away.

Speakers outlined the threats they see to gun rights, including lawsuits and the national political environment.

“Make no mistake about it, they’re coming for your guns,” said Bechtelsville attorney Joshua Prince, who often handles gun rights cases.

He was among several speakers who brought up a “state of emergency” declaration for the opioid crisis issued by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, an order they warned could prevent people from carrying concealed weapons.

Wolf’s office has said the declaration does not allow police to take guns and does not affect carrying weapons or using them to hunt or for self-defense.

“These declarations are commonplace occurrences and often used in weather emergencies, and there is no evidence of this ever happening,” said Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott. “Law enforcement officials understand the intent of the governor’s opioid emergency is only to help save lives.”

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, the rally’s founder and organizer, said he noticed billboards along the Pennsylvania Turnpike have recently been put up on the topic of gun rights, including one with a message against the National Rifle Association.

“The left has been going crazy, they are so over the top with attacks on our rights,” Metcalfe said. “The majority of us aren’t buying into the nonsense they are putting up on these billboards.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, a Republican whose district spans a large segment of rural northern Pennsylvania, said the Second Amendment is “under attack,” and that “liberals finally made their intentions clear.”

Thompson drew boos when he brought up a recent column by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens that argued that repealing the Second Amendment would make it easier to enact gun control laws.

“The retired justice is obviously no student of history,” Thompson told the crowd.

Many of those attending the rally arrived in buses, and they were fanning out to visit individual lawmakers in their offices after the raucous Rotunda session.