Addressing rumors about new driving rules

By Olivia Hertzler

The most exciting thing for many teenagers turning 16 soon is finally being able to start driving.  If you’re like many Penn Manor students, you might have heard that if your birthday is after December 31, 1997, then you have to have your learner’s permit for a year.

Fortunately for those about to turn 16, this rumor isn’t true.

“I’ve heard some students say that we need our permits for a year, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to find that.” said sophomore Emily Thryrum.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website ,“a six-month skill-building period to practice and gain experience is required before a young driver may take the road test for a junior license.”

Act 81 of 2011 increased the number of supervised hours teens are required to spend behind the wheel from 50 to 65.

After six months of driving with your permit you are eligible to take the test for your junior licence.  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website, a junior license will include some of the following restrictions:

  • Nighttime driving restriction beginning at 11 p.m.

  • A limit on the number of passengers in the car who aren’t immediate family members.

For more information about requirements for new drivers, see the Pennsylvania Young Driver Law fact sheet.

School board to vote on proposed redistricting

By Abbey Bailey

Next year, Hambright Elementary, Eshleman Elementary, Martic Elementary, Pequea Elementary and both middle schools could experience a shift in class sizes in the 2014-15 school year due to the redistricting and expansion of Hambright Elementary School. The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposed layout tonight. A total of about 60 children could be affected by this shift in district borders.

Penn Manor Superintendent Dr. Mike Leichliter explained that the redistricting project is not a full-scale ordeal. It has been enacted to help balance class sizes at both Eshleman and Hambright Elementary schools, as well as at the middle school level.

“We initially considered moving all of Georgetown Hills to Hambright,” said Dr. Leichliter. “However, that would have required that add teachers at Hambright. … Therefore, that plan would have cost more money. We opted to recommend that we move 21 students from Eshleman to Hambright. This will alleviate some larger class sizes at Eshleman.”

Elementary class sizes are the main focus of the redistricting proposal. Under this plan, Eshleman Elementary would lose around 21 students to Hambright Elementary, and Pequea Elementary would lose about 14 kids to Martic Elementary. These changes in the elementary level would not impact current fifth grade students, who would be allowed to stay at their current elementary school to finish out their sixth grade year next school year.

The neighborhoods that could be affected by the change in district borders at the elementary levels are Georgetown Hills and Springdale Farms in the Manor Middle School area and Lakewood Estates in the Marticville Middle School area. Crossgates, which is currently a swing area for Eshleman Elementary and Conestoga Elementary students would become a swing area for Conestoga Elementary and Pequea Elementary students. At the middle school level, Wood’s Edge and Parkfield will alter the class sizes at both Marticville and Manor Middle School.

Boundary changes around the Marticville Middle School area will result in half of the sixth graders at Letort going to Marticville Middle School, and the other half attending Manor Middle School for the 2014-15 school year. But current seventh grade students at both middle schools will be permitted to stay at their current middle school to finish out eighth grade.

The district has also hypothesized that if growth continues as is within the next three year, the school board will revisit the idea of moving all Letort Elementary students to Martic Elementary.

About 30 people attended a public meeting held on December 16, 2013 to inform the public of the possible changes to the school district boundaries. The meeting was advertised on Twitter, Penn Manor’s blogs and websites and in the Lancaster newspaper. Certain families impacted by these changes were also informed by letter of this meeting and encouraged to attend.

“Out of the people that attended the meeting and spoke, most did not like the idea of changing their development to a new school. Two people spoke who said they do not have a strong feeling either way but understand the district’s reason for recommending the change,” said Dr. Leichliter. “I’ve also heard from some families who also said they understand that there is currently an imbalance and this is the most cost effective way to handle balancing class sizes between Manor and Marticville.”

The final verdict for Penn Manor’s proposed redistricting plans will be determined at a school board meeting held tonight.

FCCLA sells Candy Grams

By Bart Huber

FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.

FCCLA is selling candy cane Candy Grams, which come in peppermint or fruity flavors. The cost is one for $ .50 or three for $1.

The Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) at Penn Manor High School are selling Candy Grams to get in the holiday spirit.

The Candy Grams are on sale from December 16-20, and they will be delivered on December 20 to the first block of the student.

You can buy one for $ .50 or a bunch of three for $1 at lunch this week.

The money earned will go to help Penn Manor families in need, and a small proceed will go to the club itself to fund their first conference trip, said Mrs. Sheerer, the FCCLA Advisor.

The FCCLA Club has a total of 40 students. Students from each grade are involved with this club. This is the club’s second drive to raise money for families in the Penn Manor School District.

The Candy Gram includes your choice of a peppermint or fruity candy cane and a place for a message to send to a  friend for the holidays.

Changes to “The Bush” at Millersville causes controversy

By Harrison Wallace

The Bush’s plowed land where the new dorms and parking lot will be constructed. (Photo by Harrison Wallace)

The Bush’s plowed land where the new dorms and parking lot will be constructed. (Photo by Harrison Wallace)

The Bush, a wooded plot between Creek Drive and Centennial Drive or between Pucillo gym and Millersville’s new student parking lot, has been used to help students learn, getting job experience in the field and, now,  a living area. Now, the future of this plot of land is the subject of some debate.

The university created new dorms and a parking lot next to the bush property, and within this caused a bit of plowed area for a drainage pond.

Some at the university are unhappy with the changes to this piece of land.

Robert T. Smith, dean of MU’s science and math departments, told LancasterOnline, “I wish we had known in detail what was going to happen.”

“We’re trying to channel our anger, not unleash it,” said Daniel Yokom, a biology professor at Millersville University, to a staff writer at LancasterOnline.  “I saw people weeping in the hallways when they heard the news.”

This is also the underlying anger with this new construction to the Bush which is that faculty, staff and students were not let in on the construction until after the decision was made.

“It was in the Bush where I learned about the invasive qualities of non-native plants and what types of removal and restoration techniques are best,” said Rebecca McCabe, a student at Millersville university.

Dr. Ken Miller, a retired biology professor from Millersville University, told LancasterOnline, “Taking field trips out here brought people together with the beautiful wildflowers in the spring.”

The biggest difference will be finding in ways to use the Bush for the biology classes.

“For the short term, the Bush has lost some species diversity, and it is likely that weedy, non-native plants will grow up in their place unless we actively manage and restore the Bush, but in the long term no major effects will occur,” said Dr. Chris Hardy, a botany professor at Millersville, in an email.

“We can monitor what begins to grow in newly formed edge habitats,” said Andrew Wolfgang, a student at Millersville university.

Another good reason to do this is for the student’s living arrangements.

“Well, the Bush was hurt because of construction of new dorms. The new dorms should attract new students to the university,” said Dr. Hardy.

Some students and faculty criticized the way the project was handled.

“So many departments and classes could have assisted with the design and planning, for example Aquatic Biology could have designed water infiltration methods from pervious surface to rain gardens,” said McCabe.

“There could have been a better way to do this,” Hardy said.

Music Fridays bring musicians to downtown Lancaster

By Elizabeth McIlhenney

Many people know about Lancaster’s First Friday, but what about Music Friday? On the third Friday of every month, the musicians of Lancaster County come out to the city and play on the sidewalks and street corners, or are hosted at select restaurants, stores and galleries.

A plethora of music styles are represented,  and with every turn, there is a new melody. Meandering the streets of Lancaster, walking down Gallery Row or maybe North Queen Street, one might hear a one man band on one street corner and a folk singer just down the way, with a vibrant sunset as a backdrop. During Music Friday, especially popular in the summer, people of all ages come to listen. Children accompanied by their parents play with the toy instruments set out by some musicians, and small crowds gather around to hear the artists’ music.

Next, stop by Building Character or Art and Glassworks. Art and Glassworks, for example, pays musicians to come and play in their courtyard, and opens their doors to the public for a free concert. One employee at Art and Glassworks, when asked about what she liked most about Music Friday, she said that she “liked to see the recurring faces.” This seems to be a common theme with Music Friday. People stop make sure to stop by and see their favorite musicians, and regular listeners are always greeted with a smile and a hello.

Another event, though not free, is the Signature Concert at Tellus360. This concernt features more acts, or special guests each Music Friday. Tickets are $10.

Partners and sponsors who make Music Friday is a long list, including the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, Music for Everyone, Series 42, Millersville University, and many more. On the the Mayor’s Office of Special Events website, and the Music Friday link there is more information about the events taking place in Music Friday, and some of the artists that are to play. The December Music Friday is set for December 20.

“The Walking Dead” contributes to zombie popularity

By Abbey Bailey

As long as you don’t live under a rock and have some sort of access to modern-day technology, you’ve probably heard of the “The Walking Dead.” The show is based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, who also writes the show. It is on AMC, which have brought you other hits such as “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.”

The show is based around a Georgian sheriff, Rick Grimes, who falls into a coma due to an injury on the job and wakes up about three months into the zombie apocalypse. He survives by being locked inside his room; when he wakes up, he discovers the hospital graffitied, blood-spattered and utterly wrecked. One of the most iconic images of the show is the hospital doors that say “DON’T OPEN. DEAD INSIDE.” We see a pale, long-fingered zombie hand reach through the gap in the padlocked entryway towards Rick.

Season one is a mad scramble to stay alive, but seasons two and three build up an extensive plotline behind the “illness” that turns people into zombies, and how to keep protected, if it is even possible.

Currently in its fourth season, “The Walking Dead” has developed a large, almost cult-like following of obsessed viewers, myself included. After each episode, comedian Chris Hardwick does an hour-long segment called “Talking Dead” where cast and crew members of the show, celebrities and other superfans discuss the plot line and deeper meanings of that night’s episode.

Zombies have taken the place of vampires over the last couple years. People’s interest in zombies peaked in the summer of 2012 when reports came out of Miami, FL of a man mauling another man while on bath salts, a drug that has similar effects of cocaine and meth. The man was rumored to behave in a zombie-like manner, and this event got the public thinking about zombies and their behavior, or the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Their increased popularity has resulted in movies like “World War Z” (June 2013) and video games like “Dead Rising 3” (November 2013) for Xbox One.

Penn Manor senior Caitlin Mahoney is a devoted follower of “The Walking Dead.” When asked why she loves the show so much, she said “It’s different from all of the other shows and movies about zombies. I like the way they presented the apocalypse. It gives the image of zombies a new perspective, and I think it helped to bring in a lot of new fans of the creatures.”

What would you do in the zombie apocalypse? Photographer Beth Cardwell of Lampeter-Strasburg is another avid “Walking Dead” fan and has a zombie survival kit her husband put together for her as a Christmas gift.

“I keep it in the front of my closet. This was put together as a zombie survival kit but it can also be useful in case of other emergencies,” says Cardwell. The supplies are pulled together in a handy waterproof backpack. It contains:

  1. hunting knife – it’s better to stab the zombies in the head. Gunshots attract them.

  2. tarp, duct tape, poly rope – for making shelters

  3. baseball bat

  4. waterproof matches and fire starter

  5. sewing kit

  6. MREs – made-ready meals

  7. solar powered radio + flashlight + phone charger – it gives your phone enough charge for one phone call

  8. first aid kit and handbook – because someone has to play doctor

  9. extra blanket, hand towels and bandana

  10. batteries

  11. face guard – because getting zombie guts on you is gross

The first three seasons of “The Walking Dead” are available on Netflix. The show is on every Sunday night at 9 on AMC. On October 29, the program was renewed for a fifth season.

Hunters prepare for rifle season opening

By Cameron Rebman

The annual rifle season opens in Pennsylvania on Monday. For many men and women that means taking off of work or school to go into the woods and wait for a big deer to walk by. Penn Manor School District will be closed for the day.

Every year rifle season is a big deal for many people in Pennsylvania. Killing a deer gives people a chance to provide food for their family and have plenty of it for a long time. Many people take deer hunting very seriously.

In order to hunt in Pennsylvania, potential hunters are required to pass a hunter’s safety course. To earn your hunter’s safety course, hunters must attend a class for a few hours throughout two days. In these classes an instructor teaches you about gun safety, common sense while you are in the woods and other important things you will need to know while you are hunting. At the end of the two days, you take a test to see if you passed the safety course.

You also need a license to hunt in Pennsylvania. When you have passed the hunting safety course, you are eligible to purchase a license. A hunting license is approximately $20 at stores such as Kmart, or Wal-Mart. You will need to purchase a hunting license every year.

Senior Connor Ream said that he is looking forward to rifle season this year.

‘’I’ve been hunting for six years now, and the biggest buck I’ve got is a nine-point buck, so I’ll be looking for a bigger one this year.’’

Shoppers plan for approaching Black Friday sales

By Wyatt Stoeckl

Wal-Mart which is open 24 hours a day, starts its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. along with Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day. (photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc)

Wal-Mart which is open 24 hours a day, starts its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. along with Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day. (photo credit: Elvert Barnes via photopin cc)

Probably one of the most well-known shopping days of the year is Black Friday, when people rush to shopping malls to get deals on gifts. About $59.1 billion was spent over Black Friday weekend in 2012 according to CNN, which was up from 2011 at $54.2 billion.

Senior Kelly St. John is going shopping this year to buy gifts for Christmas. Last year she said that it was very overwhelming because of all the people, but she found what she was looking for.

“It was worth the craziness because of all the good deals, but it was really crowded,” said St. John.

To other people Back Friday is just a form of entertainment.

“It is a unique experience that is more of a tradition than a means of acquiring Christmas gifts,” said Millersville resident Darron Young.

On the rare occasions that he does buy something, he usually finds what he is looking for.

Many stores are opening on Thanksgiving day this year. Kmart will be opening its doors at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. Toys R Us is opening at 5 p.m. which is three hours earlier than last year. Park City is opening their doors at 8 p.m. along with Bon-Ton, Kohls, OfficeMax, J.C. Penny, Rockvale Outlets, Sears and Staples. Tanger Outlets will open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.

“Working in the retail business for five years, I know how busy it can get over holidays,” said Young. “I think stores opening at midnight gives enough time that it doesn’t take away from Thanksgiving and relaxing with friends and family.”

Thanksgiving weekend traditions vary

The Millersville Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day benefits families in the community by asking the competitors to donate two non-perishable items for the local food bank.

The Millersville Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day benefits families in the community by asking the competitors to donate two non-perishable items for the local food bank.

By Bart Huber

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is right around the corner.

Nearly everyone has something going on Thanksgiving weekend, whether it’s going hunting, Black Friday shopping or just relaxing with family and friends and enjoying the weekend.

A popular Thanksgiving run called the Turkey Trot happens every year on Thanksgiving day in Millersville. It’s the 41st year of the Turkey Trot. It’s a 5K run/walk for all ages with registration starting at 7:15 a.m. The race begins at 9 a.m. Spectators and competitors are asked to donate two non-perishable items to the local food bank.

People go everywhere for Thanksgiving, near or far. Peter and Sophie Savage of Washington D.C. are traveling up to Lancaster County to have Thanksgiving with the in-laws. They talked about the morning of thanksgiving and how the boys of the family and their dad go out to shoot clay birds, while the women of the family help cook.

Eva and Marcus Benner of Millersville have already left for Maine to visit family, which is a 10-12 hour drive. They say that they will be eating a Thanksgiving meal with the Benner’s.

Amanda Herr of Solanco is going up to her aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving Day. Herr says she will be going to an annual football game called the Turkey Bowl at her church on Saturday.

After Thanksgiving Day people do an assortment of things, like Black Friday shopping or hunting on Monday, December 2, the opening day of rifle season.

For some Black Friday is the time where they get all their holiday shopping done, for others it’s a chance to get that great deal you can only get on Black Friday.

Blain Wissler of Hempfield is having cousins sleeping over Thursday night and will be going Black Friday shopping the next day.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, the Penn Manor School District has off and the first day of rifle season begins.

The Benner’s have always gone hunting on the first day of rifle season and this year will be no different.

The Herr’s are also going hunting Monday, as they always do. Herr describes this as her favorite part of the Thanksgiving break.

Tyler Groff of Penn Manor is an avid hunter, who is hunting Thanksgiving morning, Friday and Saturday for geese and small game. He will also be hunting Monday for the first opening day for deer rifle season.

Creative writers make difference at Penn Manor

By Steven A. Monserrate

The Creative Writing Club is one of the main influences on the  creative writing community at Penn Manor, providing students with a space to share ideas and improve their writing. Here, students in the Creative Writing Club work on a new prompt during the meeting on November 26. (Photo by Steven A. Monserrate)

The Creative Writing Club is one of the main influences on the creative writing community at Penn Manor, providing students with a space to share ideas and improve their writing. Here, students in the Creative Writing Club work on a new prompt during the meeting on November 26. (Photo by Steven A. Monserrate)

Many Penn Manor students are involved in a growing community, which organizes the writers of the school together to improve their writing.

These students participate in the Creative Writing Club, take a class or write in their free time.

They are having an impact at Penn Manor by supporting freedom of expression and providing an open atmosphere so that the students can say and write what they want, without judgement.

Junior Harrison Wallace became interested in writing because of his friends.

“In seventh grade, myself and two other friends started to write a story, it inspired me to keep on writing.” he said.

Wallace wants to go to IUP or Millersville to study script writing or cast directing, because it will help him understand the story and the characters and how the entire story relates to the audience.

Wallace commented on the creative writing community.

“I feel like they just express themselves and therefore we’ve had people open up about a lot of stuff.”

Junior Eliezer Griffis is also a member of the Creative Writing Club.

“I write because it’s relaxing… there’s so much in my mind, I need to put it down somewhere,” said Griffis.

Griffis said that he wants to write a book about the Navy, which he feels is overlooked by many today.

“There aren’t many books about the Navy. I want to be able to write a story about what the regular Navy does,” said Griffis. “It’s all about the Navy Seals, the Marines or the Army. The Navy deserves some credit.”

Griffis commented on the Creative Writing Club.

“[It is an ] inviting atmosphere, fun, yet mysterious because you never know what you are going to do.”

Like many, Griffis joined the club and will take the class not only to have a good time with his friends, but to learn more from the authors who are already involved with the community and to teach and share ideas with others.

Mrs. Mayo, an English teacher at Penn Manor, is the advisor of the Creative Writing Club.

“It started when a former student came to me the last day of school and said that there needed to be a creative writing club and that I needed to do it. I said that I didn’t have time but he said that I needed to make some.”

The club started the following year, and about twenty or so people attended. As word spread however, the club grew.

“It is bigger than I ever planned or expected, but everybody works so well… When I saw the amount of people who joined the club, I honestly thought that I’d have to do something about it, but I decided not to and it’s worked out pretty well.”

The club has a goal of helping the students think outside the box. With the talent that has been demonstrated by the students, we’re getting more open with expression, according to Mrs. Mayo.

“It’s amazing because everything that we do in club because I can say, ‘Let’s do this!’ and there’s no grade, no judgement, no complaints. We come in with some crazy ideas and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t,” said Mrs. Mayo.

She also mentioned that the club has, “an atmosphere of absolutely no judgment, everyone can feel comfortable being themselves.”

Some of the club members post their works on Penn Manor Expressions, a site that allows students to post their writing where others can see it.

English teacher Mr. Scott Hertzog will teach creative writing this spring. The class is a place where people can come to write and get feedback while also getting a new learning experience on different forms of writing, including different types of poems, short stories, novels and novellas.

“When people come to creative writing class, they look for a way to express themselves through their writing.” Mr. Hertzog said. “What is interesting for me is that in creative writing, there’s almost no topic that I can’t write about — there’s really no limit.”

The class has students write frequently. Some of the writing styles are not easy, so practice is always emphasized.

“Some do it for the grade, but others want the piece to be the best that it can be,” Mr. Hertzog said.

Mr. Hertzog mentioned that the club and class are pretty well mixed, saying that out of the 22 or so students who will attend the class, about half of them are already involved with the club.

“I hope that the passion that the club members have will join with that of the classes attitude as well,” he said.