9/11 Memorial Sculpture groundbreaking ceremony takes place in Doylestown

by June Portnoy

Ryan Manion Borek, President of the Travis Manion Foundation, was joined by Bucks County Commissioners, Robert Loughery and Charlie Martin, as well as 9/11 Memorial sculptor, Alan Goldstein, during the official groundbreaking ceremony of the 9/11 Memorial Sculpture on July 1st at the new Justice Department in Doylestown, where the sculpture is scheduled to be dedicated this upcoming September 11th.

The sculpture will stand approximately 20-feet-tall, with a steel beam from the World Trade Center as its focal point, within granite that will read, “Renew, Resolve, Remember.”

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‘Hometown Hero’ honored by Phillies

Steve Kaufmann of Oakford, a driver for Waste Management, was recently honored by the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park, for providing a great value-add to a major municipal customer in late January when he extinguished a mattress fire that might have destroyed a home in a neighborhood he services.

Steve threw out the first ball as well as received the honor of going onto the field at the end of the third inning to make the “Hometown Heroes Base Change” presented by Rothman Institute, at the Phillies June 27th game versus the Washington Nationals.

Steve said he was on his route on January 30th at noon in the Crabtree section of Levittown. “I rolled into the section and I heard kids screaming,” Steve recounted. “I stopped the truck, looked around the truck real quick, and looked across the street where there was a kid outside the house screaming.

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PA principals launch community service project at New Hope-Solebury Library

by June Portnoy

Approximately 20 children participating in the annual Summer Reading Program at The Free Library of New Hope and Solebury had a unique surprise on July 14th when principals throughout Pennsylvania came to read to them following a Mad Science presentation.

The principals were all board members of the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PAESSP), the only professional organization to solely serve principals, assistant principals and other educational leaders in the state.

Jacqueline Clarke Havrilla, current PAESSP President, explained that after taking over the presidency of this organization in 2004, she created a Service Project Committee that has been working on developing several projects throughout the Commonwealth.

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PHS student is runner-up in Cancer Support Community Teen Essay Contest

by June Portnoy

The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia hosted an award ceremony on May 27th at its Gilda’s Club campus in Warminster, recognizing area middle and high school-aged teens for their winning essays expressing their first-hand accounts of how cancer has touched their lives.

Contestants of this third annual “It’s Always Something” Teen Essay Contest, described their feelings about losing a loved one to cancer or living with an immediate family member currently or previously battling cancer. In former years, young people wrote essays about their own experiences of living with cancer.

Justin Kolowajtis of Levittown, an 11th grader at Pennsbury High School, was a runner-up in this contest for his essay entitled, “My Journey With My Mom.”

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Local kids organize art show fundraiser

by Patricia Cangelosi

When young Yardley resident Allison Templeton heard about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through a school event in 2011, she decided to do something to help the patients there. And her idea was an out-of-the-box one. Allison created artwork to sell at a small art show, which took place at her home; friends, family members and neighbors supported her thoughtful endeavor, and the inaugural art show raised $750.

“It was really the support and enthusiasm of our friends and family that encouraged us to turn this into a recurring event and to build it into a larger event,” says Lauren Templeton, Allison’s mother.

Each year, 100% of the money raised is donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The fourth annual show took place on May 31st, at the Lower Makefield Township Building in Yardley.

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New Little Free Library caters to kids

by Judi Biederman

It is always interesting to hear about someone who has had a dream and worked hard to mount a project that is benefiting a whole community, but it is extraordinary when that person is just five- years-old. Yet that is true of Julianna Simmers, daughter of Jeff and Samantha Simmers and a young entrepreneur who recently started a new Little Free Library on Melvin Avenue in Morrisville.

Her mom says Julianna got the idea to start her library about a year ago when they visited the original Little Free Library in Morrisville to donate books.

“From that point on, it was all we heard about,” says Samantha, adding, “We honestly thought it would be a fad that would just fade away, but she was very persistent.”

Little Free Library is a grassroots effort to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges. There are more than 25,000 of these community exchanges across the world, all operating under the slogan “Take a book, return a book” and offering gathering places where neighbors may share their favorite literature.

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Casey Schaeffer lends a hand to help others

by June Portnoy

At just 11-years-old, Casey Schaeffer from Yardley, a fifth-grader at Edgewood Elementary School, dreams of starting her own non-profit organization. Casey’s first philanthropic endeavor was organizing a large fundraising event on May 16th to support A Soldier’s Hands, a non-profit organization providing skincare products to troops overseas.

Trish Shallenberger, also from Yardley, established this organization in 2007, and to date it has sent care packages to over 2,500 soldiers.

Each individual package consists of sunscreen, hand cream, lip balm with SPF, candy and handwritten letters from local students and seniors, giving these gifts a personal touch.

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Holocaust survivor speaks to Poquessing Middle School students

by June Portnoy

Reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” is part of the eight grade English curriculum at Poquessing Middle School.

To supplement this reading experience, the school’s eighth grade Learning Support Reading Teacher, Mrs. Melissa Mitnick, arranged an assembly with Holocaust survivor, Ronnie Reutlinger Breslow, who presented a first-hand account of how she escaped Nazi Germany as a child.

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Ari Bortman earns perfect AP score

Ari Bortman, a senior at Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, recently earned the distinction of earning a top score of 5 on his AP Spanish Language and Culture exam, and was one of only 91 students world-wide to earn every point possible on the test, answering all multiple-choice questions correctly and earning full points for the free-response section of the examination.

The College Board, in an announcement letter to the PHS principals, stated, “This outstanding accomplishment is likely a direct reflection of the top quality education being offered at Pennsbury High School. We applaud Ari for his hours of hard work and also his AP teacher for the ability to engage students and enable them to excel in college-level courses.”

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Julian Leveille receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Julian Leveille, a junior at New Hope-Solebury High School, has been honored for his exemplary service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognizes Americans of all ages who have volunteered significant amounts of their time to serve their communities and their country, was granted by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards programs on behalf of President Barack Obama. Julian was nominated for national honors this fall in recognition of his volunteer service as a local firefighter and as an emergency medical technician.

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