Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

The "The Chronicle Of Franklin & Marshall College: Part II" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Hopped back in the car and headed onto College Avenue for a few more photographs of the beautiful campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.  The college was actually founded first in 1787 as Franklin College and was a coeducational Liberal Arts college.  Today it has about 2,500 undergraduates which consists of 46% males and 54 % females.  
This is the Shader-Fackenthal Library which stands in
front of the Old Main complex.  
They offer Bachelor of Arts degrees in 60 fields of study and have a student/ faculty ratio of 9:1.  The average class size is 18.  the campus encom- passes 220 acres, including 26 acres under new development.  There is also a satellite campus in Bath, England for its Advanced Study in England program and the College has a partnership with the 85-acre Millport Conservancy for research, teaching and field study.  
This is the Keiper Liberal Arts Building
which is across from the Library.
Their simple, powerful concept is: Together, we create the way forward.  We explore the frontiers of knowledge, setting new standards of academic excellence.  The first student newspaper began publication in 1873 and was titled College Days.  It changed to The College Student from 1881-1914, then The Student Weekly from 1915-1964, then The Blue and The White from 1990-1992 with The College Reporter from then to today.  
The Theatre Arts building known as The Green Room.
The College's first theatre group formed in 1899 known as the  Franklin & Marshall Dramatic Association.  The following year it was known as The Green Room Club which is what it is today.  Green Room actors known to many are Roy Scheider, Treat Williams and Oscar-winning film director Franklin J. Schaffner.  In 1939 F&M began an aviation program in Keiper Liberal Arts Building.  The Aeronautical Laboratory became a government-sponsored flight school with 40 faculty members.  
Another view of Old Main on he left and Diagnothian Hall on the right.
During WWII the college was one of 131 colleges and universities that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.  On December 12, 1963 Martin Luther King visited the campus and spoke about civil rights before a crowd of 3,300 in Mayser Center, the school's gymnasium.  
The original athletic building known as the Maser Center.
Today F&M sponsors 27 inter- collegiate athletic teams with nearly 30% of the student body competing in varsity sports.  There are also five intramural sports and numerous club sports.  The school competes in Division III in athletics.  A friend of mine, Tom Gilburg, was the football coach from 1974-2002 and compiled a record of 160-112-2 over 28 seasons.  It is the most wins in the history of the football program at F&M.  
The old stadium known as Williamson Field, home of
the Franklin & Marshall "Diplomats".
A new stadium, the Shades Stadium carries the name of Tom Gilburg.  Tom played for the Baltimore Colts as the punter and offensive guard when Johnny Unitas played for the Colts.  
One last event that I fondly remember was the arrival of Barack Obama for a rally at Franklin & Marshall in 2008.  What a thrill it was to stand in the crowd and listen to the first black President of the United States.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - To photograph every building on campus would be a daunting task. Therefore, I have chosen a few that I found interesting.  Hopefully I have the correct names on the buildings. Click on images to enlarge them.

The interior of Maser Center.
The Fackenthal Swimming Pool.
The Steinman College Center
Roschel Performing Arts Center
Statue of Benjamin Franklin, namesake of the college.
Chief Justice John Marshall, namesake of the college.
Campus Bookstore and restaurant is the Distler House.
In front of the Distler House stands this tree which carries the stories of the college.
A place for students to gather and protest that which they feel is against their beliefs.
Entranceway to the North Museum that is directly behind the arch.
Behind the North Museum is the new Winter Visual Arts Center which can be seen behind the sign 
Hensel Hall which is a concert hall.
Entrance into the college.
A plaque on campus.  Click on image to read it.
The newly finished entrance into the Shadek Athletic Stadium. 
Raising the new Franklin & Marshall sign in front of the new stadium.
Friend Tom Gilburg who is the all-time winningest football coach at F& M.
One more look at Old Main at F&M College.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

The "The Chronicle Of Franklin & Marshall College: Part I" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Visiting the campus of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA to take photos of some of the historic buildings that line the campus of the college.  It was a Sunday morning about 10:00 am and the campus was deathly still.  Maybe because spring graduation has just passed and summer sessions have not yet begun.  The only people on campus, besides myself, were a few joggers and dog-walkers.  I have the place to myself; therefore I can park just about anywhere I want without being told to move my car.  
Aerial photo of the campus of F&M in Lancaster, PA. Click to enlarge.
For years and years I have admired the campus of this beautiful school which laid their first cornerstone at this location in 1853.  You do realize I wasn't around at the time; right?  The site of the campus was selected because it was the highest point of ground in the city of Lancaster.  Another site between the county jail and the courthouse was originally selected, but Mr. James Buchanan, four years shy of becoming the 15th President of the United States and who was named president of the first Franklin & Marshall board of trustees,
rejected this idea and said "I do not think the best location for a literary institution should be between a court house and a jail."  The location that was selected was known as "Gallow's Hill" which was the former site of Lancaster's public executions.  Can you make any sense of this?  
Old Main and its matching side buildings.  Click on photos to enlarge.
At the laying of the cornerstone for "Old Main," Henry Harbaugh, a Marshall College graduate and pastor of the Reformed Church of Lancaster noted that the city's lowest point was the prison and stated, "Thank God!  The College stands higher than the jail.  Education should be lifted up and let crime sink to the lowest depths!"  The college was the result of the joining of Franklin College and Marshall College so they could both stay solvent.  
Early black and white photo of Old Main at the end of the road at center.
"Old Main" was designed in the Gothic Revival style and was dedicated on May 16, 1856.  It first was known as "Recitation Hall", but later became "Old Main".  The area of Old Main was known then, as it still is, as "College Hill".  
The motto of the college.
Franklin and Marshall College took as its motto the Latin phrase "Lux et Lex" which translates from Latin to English as "Light and Law."  Marshall College had the motto "Lex et Lux" and it was said that the engraver made a deliberate mistake so they wouldn't have the same motto.   As of 1975 Old Main, along with smaller buildings on either side of it known as Goethean Hall and Diagnothian Hall, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Old Main
As I walked around the campus today I found the architecture of the entire campus to be beautiful, though not all the same.  The grounds are immaculate, and the atmosphere is almost hallowed.  How can I not write amazing things about a place as majestic as this.  As a child I visited their North Museum.  As a young adult I attended many sports activities as well teenage dances on the west side of the campus.  As a young parent I visited the ice rink many times when my youngest son played ice hockey for the local club.  Recently I made a few visits to interview people for stories for my blog.  But, never have I enjoyed this place quite as much as I did today when I had the entire campus to myself and could take my time walking the pathways that lead from one amazing building to the next.  My Nikon DSLR and iPhone were busy today!  Tomorrow I will show you more results of my photo shoot of Franklin & Marshall College.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Diagnothian Hall to the right of Old Main.
Goethean Hall to the left of Old Main.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The "Jack The Flash" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking out all the trophies and medals that my niece Kelly's son Jack and daughter Megan have accumulated in the past few years while swimming for both the Ephrata Swim Team and the Lancaster Aquatic Club.  
Megan and her many awards for swimming.
Megan showed me her trophies as well as about two dozen medals that hung from a display area made for her by her dad.  When I walked into Jack's room I was amazed by the hardware that adorned his display rack.  I'm not sure how the rack could hold all the metal that rested on top of and hung underneath it.  Both Megan and Jack began swimming for the Ephrata Swim Club in the Fall of 2014.  Jack just finished swimming in the 9-10 year old division while Megan finished swimming in the 11-12 year old division.  Megan is a very good swimmer, but her brother Jack is the topic of my story today since he just finished a record-breaking winter swim season.  
Jack's hardware hangs from his bedroom wall.
Last year Jack attempted to qualify for the Junior Olympics but missed the cut in the freestyle by 0.01 of a second.  This past year he was determined to quality and did so in 11 individual events!  But, he ended up with strep throat shortly before the meet and could only swim a few events.  
Jack with one of his favorite trophies.
He was able to swim well enough to be part of a record breaking relay team.  Then in March, while swimming with the Lancaster Aquatic Club in a meet at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, he broke the 18 year old Lancaster Aquatic Club record in the 9-10 400 Individual Freestyle Long Course with a time of 5:32.46.  He broke the old record by almost four seconds which was recorded in 2001.  A teammate , Brody Reber, also beat the old record by coming in a few tenths of a second behind Jack.  I can still remember years ago when Jack was a very young boy how much he hated to get in the pool at his Grandparent's home which is next to his house in Ephrata, PA.  
The Kunkel Aquatic Center at Franklin & Marshall College
in Lancaster, PA where the Lancaster Aquatic Club swim.
He finally lost his fear of the water and is now at home in the pool.  His Uncle Matt coached the swim team at nearby Cocalico High School for years and I'm sure has given him a few tips that have helped him become the flash that he is today.  He seems so much at home now in the pool that he, as well as his sister, may perhaps swim for the high school team in the near future.  I'm sure we will be reading about the heroics of Jack once again in the newspaper.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Jack after breaking the Individual Freestyle record at UNC.
Jack showed me one of his favorite trophies.  This is the plaque at the base of the trophy.
Jack, Abby and Megan.
Kenny Williams, graduating senior on the men's basketball team at UNC stands for a photo with some of the winning swimmers in North Carolina.  Jack is to his immediate left and Megan is second from him on his right.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The "Has The Fight Just Begun?" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reading about the results of a Manheim Township Commissioners meeting that approved a controversial 76-ace Oregon Village mixed use development of 554 housing units, restaurants, stores and a 120-room hotel.  
Proposed as Oregon Village
It was this past Monday that I posted a story telling about what was proposed and the fact that the commiss- ioners were going to vote on it that evening.  The vote was 3-2 in favor of the new development.  The Hurst brothers, who currently own the Oregon Dairy supermarket and family restaurant evidently proved to the commissioners that the two-site complex  they want to build along Route 272 in Manheim Township's northeast corner complies with land-use regulations that allow for a village-style development.  
Plan for Oregon Village
Developer Victor Hurst congratulated the commiss- ioners for the tremendous job they did to hear both sides of the arguments and rule the way they did.  I wonder if the three who voted for the huge development considered the impact it will have on our school district.  A new Middle School has just been started in Manheim Township.  Will this vote make that new school obsolete before it is even finished?  And, how about all the Amish farmers who live near the properties that will be turned into housing units and create mass congestion on all the nearby roads.  Will they vacate their farms in favor of property in other counties or states.  Lancaster is known as the Garden Spot of America due to its rich soil and those that farm that soil.  Will that all change?  
This is what will be lost
A local authority on the Amish and an Elizabeth- town professor, testified in front of the commiss- ioners telling them the Amish may sell their farms and move since they will fear for their lives as they will have to drive their horse-drawn buggies on roads not meant for the amount of traffic that will come from all the housing units that are proposed.  Mr. Amos Beiler, a member of the Old Order Amish church, attended the vote and told the local newspaper he was disappointed, expressing his concern about travel on the roads around the area.  One local attorney addressed the commissioners after the vote asking two of the three who voted for approval of the complex why they did not acknowledge before the vote that their campaign committees this past September received $960 in political contributions from the Hursts.  By not acknowledging the donation, it now creates a perception problem.  The two commissioners had been asked by some to recuse themselves from the vote due to the contributions.  They refused to do so.  One commissioner who voted against the new complex said it is not smart growth "to build this at the expense of our Amish neighbors who will face negative impacts on their income and difficulties attending school and religious services."  Those who object to the vote have the right to appeal to Lancaster County Court.  That may be the next move according to many in attendance.  It looks like the battle has just begun!  Those who have grown up in the nearby area  that is affected by the decision will more than likely fight to keep the land as farmland as it has been all their lives.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The "Courage Makes Them Heroes" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Looking at one of my favorite websites, Travel Talk Online.  The travel website offers readers a chance to read and contribute to forums associated with Africa, Cayman Islands, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, St. Martin/Sint Maarten and even a Charter Boat forum to name a few of the travel options.  
Minivan submerged in the Marigot Bay near the outdoor market.
I opened the St. Martin forum and began reading about three local boys who became instant heroes for helping save the lives of those who were riding in a minivan that, for some unknown reason, crashed into the ocean in Marigot Bay, which is located on the French side of the island.  The minivan was loaded with passengers from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas.  They were evidently headed to visit the outdoor market in Marigot, the capital of the French side of the island, when for some reason the minivan veered into the nearby bay.  
The three young heroes who saved many
a life when they dove into the water to
bring the passengers to shore.
Half the van went underwater and when the three boys saw what had happened, jumped into action and dove into the water with disregard for their own lives, opened the rear door of the van and helped usher passenger after passenger from the van onto the rocks above.  They managed to get all from the minivan with just a few injuries.  If it hadn't been for these three heroes, some may have drowned in the half submerged minivan.  When medical personnel arrived, they too commented on the three boys being responsible for their being no deaths.  At times, many visitors complain about the local youth having no ambition or always causing trouble, but when you see the courage that these three displayed, you have a different opinion of the youth.  St. Martin official Daniel Gibbs saluted the courage of the young people who helped the passengers escape.  He said, "this heroic act saved lives, they showed 'sang-froid' and great courage.  They can be proud of their actions."  The website was filled with many comments about what these three young men did to save those that were in the minivan.  A few of the comments were:

*Nice jobs guys, God bless you. *The 3 young boys need to be rewarded.  *Thank God that they were there to help with the rescue efforts!   *This news came all the way to Denmark...Good job guys.   *Courage makes them heroes...bless them.   *Well done young men.  Too often we read or hear negative about our young people.  Quite some positive here that needs praise.   *These HEROES  may very well be the 'chirred' you ignored or chased from your business place yesterday, and tomorrow, you will not recognize them and will ignore them again.  Let that sink in.....so when you see 'lil black chirred' you may remember 'a life that was a saved'.  *At least they weren't cowards standing above ground with cellphones recording!!!!   *That's the SXM we know and love.  Good people.   *And one final comment that reflects my opinion as well...They should receive medals for their brave and courageous act.  They put their own lives on the line to save others; something a lot of adults wouldn't do.  

It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The "The Boss - What Else Need I Say!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Monday, June 25, 1984 and I'm talking with my friend Jim who stopped in at the high school where we taught to pick up a couple of items from his classroom.  Stuck his head in my room where I was busy working on the summer printing needs for the school district to tell me he had been down to The Village on Saturday to hear "The Boss."  Jim is a big fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and when he heard they were on stage at The Village in Downtown Lancaster, he headed to the nightclub.  
Bruce at The Village Nite Club
Seems that Bruce and his band were in town to try out their new audio system that had been constructed by Clair Bros. who are located a few miles to the north in Lititz, Pennsylvania.  Roy and Gene Clair were known worldwide for their fantastic stage and audio sound systems and many big name performers came to Lititz to try out their systems.  A few years ago I wrote about Peter Frampton arriving in Lancaster to try out a new system and found there was no place to practice.  The Clair brothers were friends of the assistant principal at the high school where I taught and in no time Peter Frampton and his band were on stage at the high school for a practice session.  I managed to get our school yearbook photographer to take photos of the practice and later that year one of the photos graced the cover of our yearbook.  Peter found out about it and called to buy a few copies for he and his band members.  Well, seems that while Bruce and the E Street Band were in town to test their new sound system in Lititz, they stayed at the nearby Host Town in Manheim Township.  A young Host Town lifeguard at the time, Dana Murr, found out that the band was staying at the motel and since Bruce and his band were her favorite band, managed to find them and talk with them.  The next day, Friday, June 22, Bruce stopped at the pool to talk with her and ask if she could show him and his band around downtown Lancaster later that evening.  
Bruce and the E Street Band
She told them a local band, The Sharks, was playing at The Village Nightclub and they agreed to go with her to the club.  Clarence Clemons, Bruce's sidekick and saxophone player drove the car with Bruce and Dana in the front seat and the rest of the band in the back seat.  It was close to midnight when they arrived and walked into the club.  Can you imagine the excitement created by having Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band arrive to watch a local band.  Springsteen and some of his bandmates went backstage during a break and asked if they could play.  Wasn't long before they were onstage for about 35 minutes playing songs like "Glory Days", "Dancing in the Dark", "Out in the Street", "Hungry Heart", and "Born in the U.S.A.".  Word spread quick and by the time the band was done playing the place was packed.  After singing, the group, including Dana, headed out the back door to the waiting car to head back to the Host Town.  
In 2016 Bruce was awarded the Presidential
Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Before they left Lancaster, Clemons gave Dana a harmonica and told her if she ever got to a Philadelphia concert they would give her a pair of backstage passes.  Well, it happened and Dana got her special gift for helping the band enjoy that evening in Lancaster at The Village.  That was 35 years ago and since then Springsteen has played more than 80 other concerts in the state of Pennsylvania, but none as exciting and jampacked as the concert at The Village.  Bruce will turn 70 this coming September 23 and I'm sure he will never forget his trip to The Village in downtown Lancaster that Friday night June 25 in 1984.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

Monday, June 24, 2019

The "My Opinion On The Topic: Will The Amish Survive In Lancaster County" Story

Preface:  Tonight the Mannheim Township commissioners will vote on a 76-acre piece of land in Manheim Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania.  In play are 554 housing units, a large supermarket, a 120-room hotel, restaurant, bank and retail stores.  Will the land be given over to large scale develpment or will it remain farmland that is farmed mostly by the Amish?  The following tells story of the land and those involved in the life changing decision.

It was an ordinary day.  Reading another story about the proposed development in Manheim Township called Oregon Village.  
Will scenes like this cease to be in Lancaster County?
It is a 75-acre housing and commercial project that has been proposed in the middle of a thriving, centuries-old Amish community.  Many people who live outside of Lancaster County believe that the county is primarily an Amish community.  The latest census count shows that the Amish population in Lancaster County has now exceeded the 33,000 mark.  Most of those Amish ride in horse-drawn buggies and farm equipment on the county roads.  
Will roads like these be filled with cars and trucks
instead of Amish buggies?
And, many of those 33,000 live in Manheim Township.  Recently, an authority on Amish culture, Mr. Donald Kraybill, testified in front of the Manheim Township commiss- ioners telling them that many Amish in the township oppose the new project, but chose not to speak up out of a faith-based reluctance to participate in government.  Mr. Kraybill estimated that 1,200 Amish adults and children live within a 2-mile radius of Oregon.  They consist of 246 households and belong to eight church districts in an area that stretches from the Lancaster Airport, east of Route 501, to Leola, north of Route 23.  
Scene's such as this will no longer be seen in Manheim
Township if Oregon Village is approved.
Mr. Kraybill's estimate was based on a church district directory and a map prepared by the Geographic information System division of the Lancaster County Information Technology Depart- ment.  There are 44 parcels farmed by, but not all owned by Amish and Old Order Mennonite farmers and their families.  If Oregon Village were to be built it would tremendously increase vehicle traffic on the narrow county roads which are frequented by the slower-moving, horse-drawn traffic.  
It will no longer be safe for The Amish to walk on the
side of the road or drive their buggies on the roads.
Mr. Kraybill said the road traffic issues could, over time, cause many of the Amish to leave Manheim Township and its agricult- urally rich soil.  How sad it would be to lose those who farm the land to supply the county, state and country with food.  A few years ago something similar happened and more than a dozen Lancaster County Amish families moved across the Susquehanna River to York County as well as to Farmville, Virginia.  When people talk of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, they right away associate the county with the Amish population and rich farmland.  Can we afford to lose that farmland to houses and apartments?  
Let's keep the land looking like this!
Are there no other places to build the houseing units that will not take much needed farmland?  Is it all about money?  You bet!  We have all this empty land and developers can see the dollar signs in front of their eyes.  They have no concern for the many Amish who have made the county so rich in agricultural history.  I for one hope the commissioners will turn down the building and keep it as agricultural land.  I know that some person's pockets will not be padded due to that decision, but it is the correct one to make for the good of mankind.  I fear my children and grandchildren will never get to see those iconic buggies traveling the county roads of Lancaster.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.