Millersville is Dancing through the Decades

By Lauren Ressler –

“This is the big kick-off to a year-long celebration.”

The small town of Millersville, Pa., is celebrating 250 years on the map starting February 26th of this year.

Millersville is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year.

‘Dancing Through the Decades’ will be held at Pucillo Gym Saturday as the first event of many that will be held throughout the 2011 year to celebrate Millersville as being one of the first towns established in Pennsylvania in 1761.

The series of celebratory events has been chaired by members of the Penn Manor School District and Millersville community.

Ellen Pollock, assistant superintendent at Penn Manor, is serving as an events co-chair for the anniversary. Pollock said she is looking forward to this event in particular because it is the “kick-off” of an entire community celebrating its history, and there will be many highlights to the evening.

Dancing Through the Decades is themed by growth throughout generations. Pollock said there will be professional ballroom dancing demonstrations throughout the night, featuring time-period costumes provided by former Penn Manor student Christina McSherry.

Millersville is famous for its swans.

McSherry said she has been involved in National History Day with Penn Manor for many years where she has made costumes reflecting historical America.

“Last year I did a fashion show display that covered ancient Egypt to the 1960s,” said McSherry. “Ms. Pollock saw the display and contacted me when they began working on the Dancing Through the Decades event and we decided that I would set up a display of historic ball gowns covering the late 1700s until 1970.”

McSherry added that she already had some gowns made from previous displays, but she has made multiple gowns and male garments for this event, coupled with time-period accessories and antique pieces.

Other students from the Penn Manor community have been eager to help with this event. Pollock explained that members of Penn Manor’s National Honors Society will be attending the event to escort and greet guests. Also, students from the Agriculture department at Penn Manor High School will be making twenty boutonnieres for select members attending on Saturday, and students from Eshleman Elementary School have been working hard at creating centerpieces for the tables.

Co-chair of the 250th celebrations and Assistant to the VP for Alumni and Community Relations at Millersville University, Steven DiGuiseppe said, “I’m looking forward to interacting with the descendants (of the founders of Millersville), and guests… The celebration as a whole.”

DiGuiseppe said the events committee is hoping to have a turnout of 150 people. Guests in attendance will be people from all over the community including borough representatives, the Herr family (of John Herr’s Village Market), donors and sponsors of the anniversary events, the Wiley brothers (of Wiley’s Pharmacy), and television’s Cake Boss’s very own Mauro Castano.

Yes, that’s right, Carlos Bakery of the TLC show ‘Cake Boss’ is coming to Millersville. Chef and cake designer Mauro Castano will be delivering the cake at Pucillo Gym.

According to Castano, the cake will feed about 200 people, and will be filled with devil’s food and vanilla cake with chocolate fudge. The design elements will be made of krispie treats, modeling chocolate, and fondant. Castano said the cake will feature aspects of the town, such as the lake at Millersville University, Biermesderfer Center, John Herr’s Village Markey, and Wiley’s Pharmacy.

“At the end of the day, we put our heart and soul into our product. Each cake is a piece of edible artwork, and we work hard to make sure there is great attention to detail,” said Castano about theCarlos Bakery, located in Hoboken, New Jersey.

DiGuiseppe confirmed that Lori Burkholder of WGAL-TV will be covering the making of the cake Tuesday or Wednesday, reporting from the bake shop in New Jersey.

Dancing Through the Decades will also feature food and drinks, music by DJ David Nye, and fireworks at 10 p.m. that will be launched from Comet Field. Tickets are on sale for $50 per ticket, and can be purchased by calling 717-872-3811. The event will be held from 7 to 10 p.m.

High School Locked Down for Drug Search

By Kendal Phillips and Sarah Garner –

“It was planned.”

The answer to the question that most Penn Manor students were wondering.

At the beginning of second block Friday, students and staff were notified by an announcement to go into a modified lock down.  Teachers were to lock the doors and open the blinds.  For students and staff it was unexpected and teachers were not made aware of the upcoming drug search.

Officers from Southern Regional Police Department and their canine unit searched the high school for evidence of contraband.

Teachers received an e-mail at 10:05 a.m. informing them of a random drug search, also at that time Penn Manor School District’s website had a banner describing that a drug search was going on and that students were not in any danger.

The district website described the drug search.

This drug search was free of cost and it was the first time Penn Manor participated in a random search, according to Principal Philip Gale.

“We met the officer who handles the dog at the end of January, January 25,” said Gale.  “In December we actually had the officer do a demonstration for us [at Pequea Elementary school] and there were three school board members present with us to show how the dogs would detect.  They brought drugs with them and put them in different places (for the dog to detect).”

With the support of the Millersville Borough and Southern Regional Police Departments, a search of all lockers, bathrooms and locker rooms was conducted with the use of the drug-detection canines.

The school administration made an announcement saying the hope is that students continue to be part of the solution in helping to make schools safe places to learn by reporting any drug use to an adult.

The use of the drug detection canines adds an additional element of security for all students and adults at Penn Manor High School according to the letter that was sent home with the students.

Penn Manor’s school resource officer was not involved with the search because, “his burden of proof is much higher than our burden of proof,” said Gale.  “[School Administrators] have to have reasonable suspicion and [police] need probable cause.”

When dogs detected specific areas in the school, they were marked to be further investigated.  After the search was completed and the canines left, administrators searched the marked areas.  No lockers were opened while the police or canines were still in the school.

Several lockers were detected, about a dozen students were called out of class to watch their locker get searched, according to Gale.  There were at least two administrators who searched each locker, along with the student, if a student occupied the locker.

The areas that were most frequently hit (indicated by the dog) were water fountains and door handles.  These areas are commonly touched during the school day and traces of substances could be left on them.

Gale had three major reasons for the random drug search;

1. “We have had a number of drug violations over the drug and alcohol policy this year.”

2. Keeping the school a safe environment.

3. Southern Regional police are a part of our school district so we wanted  to work with them.

“There were a number of hits due to the sensitivity of the dogs,” said Gale, “nothing was found.”