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Archive for December, 2011

Two days ago, it snowed — fleetingly.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Geese flock near the 18th fairway at Springwood Golf Club on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, as the nearby pond begins to ice over. Snow flurries turned to a small but steady snowfall at the golf course.

It wasn’t supposed to. It was barely flurrying as I hurried back to my apartment, where I’d left my work phone, and took the back roads from there to my first assignment. En route, I happened to see a lone golfer at a nearby golf course. Having been advised by my editor to keep an eye out for local daily/feature art, I decided to head back to the golf course after completing my first assignment.

So, back I went. And, to my surprise and contrary to the forecast, snow was starting to accumulate. The man working in the pro shop offered me a ride to the 17th hole, where two of four golfers on the course were driving.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Andy Spence of Oneonta, N.Y., walks toward his ball after his first putt on the 17th green at Springwood Golf Club on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. Spence was golfing with his brother, Greg Pondolfino of Windsor Township, when snow started to accumulate while they were at the 10th hole.

“Please don’t tell us we’re the only idiots out here golfing in the snow,” Andy said to me as we got close enough to hear each other speak.

“You’re not — there are two other idiots around here somewhere,” I reassured him.

“Okay, good to know.”

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Greg Pondolfino's ball stops after just skimming the 18th hole and gathering too much snow in his putt on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at Springwood Golf Club. Pondolfino, of Windsor Township, took his brother Andy Spence of Oneonta, N.Y., golfing because Spence is visiting and on vacation. "You go golfing when you're on vacation, right?" Pondolfino said later while warming up in the clubhouse.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Andy Spence of Oneonta, N.Y., chips his ball at the 18th hole on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at Springwood Golf Club. Spence said the snow mostly affected how well he and his brother could putt, as well as how easily they could find the balls after driving them.

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Every year, one of the county parks hosts Christmas Magic — a half-mile trail of Christmas lights, music, food and entertainment — from the Friday after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. I’d known about the event since last November, when I was offered the York Dispatch internship, looked up the paper’s front page and saw a Christmas Magic photo. So I was excited to be assigned to make pictures there this year for The Daily Record.

Unfortunately, photographing Christmas lights in a functional, easy-to-read-on-newsprint way is a lot more difficult than I had remembered.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Left to right) Djuna Plumb, 3 of Lancaster, and Quinn MacBride, 4 of Alexandria, Va., wander through the Christmas Magic lights display on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at Rocky Ridge County Park.

Unlike other holiday light displays, Christmas Magic features predominantly figurines — whose figures can be hard to capture in a camera. I quickly figured out that the trick is to use a wide lens in those rare cases when you can distinguish the shapes formed by the lights, and to use a long lens for people photos so all the lights in the background are out of focus.

But it’s not even that simple. People don’t stop to admire the light displays at Christmas Magic. They keep moving along the trail. And if it’s dark and the lights are all spread out enough (which they were)… well, you gotta be fast if you want to catch a candid, genuine “people” moment.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The Christmas Magic lights display is up for its 28th season at Rocky Ridge County Park, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31. This year's display features 500,000 lights on its half-mile trail, as well as heated indoor areas for refreshments and other attractions.

It was tough. I had to walk the trail twice before I felt confident I had enough pictures. But it all worked out.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Gillian Sipe, 13 of New Freedom, checks her phone while waiting to perform as a member of the Trinity Bells choir at the Christmas Magic lights attraction on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at Rocky Ridge County Park.

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A few weeks ago, I went across the river to photograph a holiday-themed murder mystery theatre dinner. I’d never attended one, much less covered one, but the cast welcomed me with open arms. In their dressing room, I was privy to their joyful complaints and costume malfunctions; in the restaurant during the performances, I was tipped off to where the action would happen next.

It was a fun experience, and I’m hoping to go back sometime — as a guest at a dinner whose script and ending I don’t know.

Presenting: A few behind-the-scenes shots of “Murder in Toyland” –

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Actress Kate Hopkins applies the final touches to her "Barb-lee" costume -- elbow-length gloves -- before performing in the "Murder in Toyland" murder mystery dinner theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. Bube's Brewery in Mt. Joy is presenting a holiday-themed murder mystery dinner theatre, called "Murder in Toyland" through December. Like all the murder mysteries presented in the brewery, "Murder in Toyland" is an in-house production put on by Roundtable Productions.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Actor Sam Allen, dressed as a Jack-in-the-box toy, takes a sip at the bar before resuming his act in the "Murder in Toyland" murder mystery dinner theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, at Bube's Brewery.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lori Fleming, performing as the toy "Ann Raggedy," stands on the bar at the beginning of the "Murder in Toyland" murder mystery dinner theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, at Bube's Brewery in Mt. Joy.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Actor Mitchell L. Ernst, playing the role of a toy airplane, dances down the hall as seen through a window behind the bar at Bube's Brewery on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Left to right) Guests John Emerich of Myerstown, Ernie Rhine of Myerstown and Mandy Lanson of Lebanon and Kate Hopkins, performing as the toy "Barb-lee," react to another guest's raunchy comment during the "Murder in Toyland" murder mystery dinner theatre on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, at Bube's Brewery in Mt. Joy.

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While covering a high school swim meet, I sat down during the girls’ 500-yard freestyle — ’cause that’s a pretty long race, and my feet were tired, and I haven’t felt well in a week — and checked my phone.

Then I saw that my editor had texted, called and left a voicemail.

Then I left to cover a plane crash that happened about a mile and a half north of the school.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Emergency crews remove the body of a 38-year-old man who crashed this two-engine, 1980 Cessna plane in a farm field in Jackson Township on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011. The man, of California, was pronounced dead at scene.

Read Rebecca and Teresa’s article for more details.

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Tracks

I’ve recently moved into my own, second-story apartment, which includes a north-facing balcony deck that will be in the building’s constant shadow through the winter season. Meaning, when it snows, that snow will never, ever melt.

This morning, I opened the deck door to see if it’s warm enough for me to open the windows (it’s not), and had a small surprise:

© 2011.

So, apparently, I have a friend. A furry friend.

There aren’t any trees close enough for a squirrel to make a leap onto my balcony or my neighbors’ balconies, so I’m a little baffled. I just hope that, when it’s warm again and I have potted herbs and vegetables on my balcony, they don’t get ransacked by a mysterious creature.

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A few weeks ago, I got to spend a few hours with a little girl named Miracle.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Miracle Ross reaches for a glove that her nurse Lori Maxwell is blowing up for her in Ross's home on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. Maxwell, who works through Pediatric Services of America, has come to the family's home every day since Ross left the hospital as a 10-month-old baby in Oct. 2009. When she was born four months early on Jan. 23, 2009, Miracle Ross weighed 13 ounces and couldn't leave the hospital until that July.

The paper has run at least one story about Miracle before, given her delicate medical condition. Recently, though, she’s been diagnosed with liver cancer, and doctors say there’s nothing they can do: “She’ll never be cancer-free.”

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. With the help of her father Reggie Ross, Miracle Ross reaches for the ceiling fan switch in their home on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. Now almost three years old, Ross was diagnosed with liver cancer in May 2011 and receives chemo treatments every day at home when her blood levels are high enough. Ross also has a feeding tube and underwent a tracheostomy because her diaphragm and lungs are not strong enough to support her. Doctors have evaluated her to be at the same stage of mental development as that of a 10-month-old - an evaluation with which Ross's mother Sherrie Baker disagrees.

As I spent time with Miracle, her parents, her aunt and her nurse in that dimly-lit living room, I was overwhelmed by the warmth and love that surrounded the little girl. It’s a sad story, and I spent only a few hours with Miracle, but I left the house grateful for my own health and glad that the girl’s last memories will be of her family, home and love.

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When you’re bending over to make pictures of a 2-year-old… and you’re wearing your press ID around your neck…

Well, just remember that young children are tactile.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News.

More to come, soon.

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Up:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Beth Bowles of Westmoreland County, Pa., holds up her partner Ruth Heller's ferrets, General Quarters and Pandorica, while playing with them at the American Ferret Association's Winter Nationals Ferret Competition on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in West Manchester Township. Ferret owners and ferret vendors came together for the American Ferret Association's Winter Nationals Ferret Competition on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in West Manchester Township.

And down:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Beth Bowles of Westmoreland County, Pa., holds her partner Ruth Heller's ferrets, General Quarters and Pandorica, as Tabitha Hammer of Lancaster County lets them sniff her hand at the American Ferret Association's Winter Nationals Ferret Competition on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center in West Manchester Township.

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© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church member and volunteer Karen Gleba checks a deep freezer for more frozen soups in the parish hall basement on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. Church members cooked all the freezer sale items in the parish hall's commercial kitchen, and stored the finished foods in dedicated deep freezers until the annual Divine Delights Freezer Sale. Always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the freezer sale features foods ranging from pesto to pie. Organizers said the sale, which they hope raises $8-10,000 this year, benefits the church's outreach budget.

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