Council Rock South Winter Guard wins top honors at WGI South Brunswick Regional

In only its second year of existence, the Council Rock High School South Winter Guard is having a banner season. On Saturday, March 1st the team appeared in their very first Winter Guard International (WGI) Regional competition held at South Brunswick High School in Monmouth Junction, NJ. With teams representing Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York in their division, the 20 young ladies and gentlemen of the Council Rock South Winter Guard were one of only three groups in the Scholastic Regional-A division to be selected to perform in Finals. CR South delivered an impressive performance, and went on to win first place with a score of 76.43.

Advancing to finals at a WGI Regional is a quite an accomplishment. Only the top scoring teams in each division are selected to advance.  Most nationally competitive teams from the Mid-Atlantic region were present. Winning a WGI Regional is something that will only be experienced by a select few winter guard students in the entire worldwide winter guard activity!  

CR South’s 2014 production is entitled “Boxed In,” with original music and choreography by Director of Bands John Burns, and color guard instructor Lauren Moffatt Burns. The students work on basic dance and learn to spin rifle and flag. 

Looking ahead, on Saturday, March 29th the team goes to Somerville High School in New Jersey, and their 2014 season comes to its climactic finish on Saturday, April 12th at the MAIN Championships at South Brunswick High School.

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Do you love butterflies?

If you would like to work with butterflies, the Churchville Nature Center Butterfly House is looking for you.

In this volunteer position you may put in as many or as few hours as you prefer. Available positions include raising or feeding the butterfly caterpillars, watering and pruning the plants in the butterfly house, and helping lead tours of the Butterfly House when it is open to the public. The Butterfly House will open for volunteers in the spring, and remain open until the end of September.

Some butterfly knowledge is preferred but CNC is happy to train. For more information, contact Stommy Blauth at butterfliesandmoths@comcast.net.

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Marine Corps League holds Officer installation

The Patriot Detachment of the Marine Corps League held its installation of Officers and Trustees at its meeting on February 19th. Presiding over the ceremony and swearing in the new Detachment officials were Division 2 Vice Commandant Bill Miller, assisted by Division 2 Assistant Vice Commandant Joe Kier. New Detachment Commandant Richard Weaver was sworn in and the gavel was transferred by outgoing Commandant George Kelly.

In addition, a Distinguished Service Award was presented by Kelly to Iwo Jima Veteran Henry Apice.  The Detachment meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad building, 140 Township Road, Richboro. 

For further information visit their website at www.mclpatriotdetachment.com.

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Council Rock presents two programs addressing substance abuse: A Better High and Straight Talk for Parents

During the week of April 21st, Council Rock is presenting two programs addressing the issue of teens and substance abuse.  

On Monday April 21 at 7 pm at Council Rock High School South in Holland, nationally renowned speaker and comedian Matt Bellace will present “A Better High: Supporting Teens in Making Healthy Choices”. Author of the book, A Better High: Laugh, Help, Run, Love… and Other Great ways to Get Naturally High!, Dr. Bellace uses humor and inspirational stories to teach how to communicate with teens without arguing while sharing examples of how to teach responsibility and healthy coping skills.

On Wednesday April 23 at 7 pm at Richboro Middle School in Richboro, Greg Schick of Drug Free PA will present “Straight Talk for Parents” – an engaging discussion with parents about on the prevalence of substance abuse in our schools and how to recognize signs of use and abuse. A US Army Veteran and currently in law enforcement, Mr. Schick is a member of the Drug Free Pennsylvania coalition, travelling throughout the state and providing parents with practical tools to open a conversation with their children about the dangers of drug use.

Parents and community members are encouraged to attend one or both events to learn more about substance abuse issues – from identifying warning signs in your teen to practical ways to help them grow up substance-free. Both programs are open to all community members and are free of charge.  Interested attendees are encouraged to RSVP to CRCHY@crsd.org so that event planners can prepare for refreshments and handouts.

The April 21st program is presented by Council Rock High School South’s SADD students.  The April 23rd program is the final event of the “Raising Great Kids,” Speaker Series presented by the Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth and the Council Rock Education Foundation and sponsored by Customers Bank.  For more information on these programs, visit www.creducationfoundation.org or email office@creducationfoundation.org.

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A Phillies Ballgirl close to home

by Matt Snider

If you are an avid Philadelphia Phillies fan you have probably kept up with all the recent big-name signings the team has made. In addition to Marlon Byrd, A.J. Burnett and Bobby Abreu, the Phillies have also welcomed the addition of college freshman and Holland resident, Michelle Hedricks, to the Philadelphia organization. Although Michelle isn’t a professional baseball player, she is one of the 20 young women to be named to the 2014 Phillies Ballgirls.

“It is literally the best feeling,” said Michelle of being one of the final 20 women to make the squad. “It is something that not everyone gets to do obviously, and I am just really excited for the summer.”

Michelle graduated from Archbishop Wood High School where she played softball for all four years. In addition to being a captain of both the softball and the track teams her senior year, she was also a part of a Philadelphia travel softball team that made it to the 2012 United States Specialty Sports Association Nationals in Florida. As she moved on to college, she made the Widener softball team as a freshman.

“I’ve been playing softball since I was five,” said Michelle. “It’s a big part of my life and I’m happy to continue it.”

Her love for the game on the diamond will take center stage this summer when she will be attending games as a Phillies Ballgirl. Although being named to the yearly roster is no easy task.

To begin with, applicants must submit a video to the Phillies organization about why they want to become a Ballgirl. After those countless submissions are viewed, the recruiters select a number of the women to come and physically tryout for the team as well as conduct an on-camera interview. “The actual tryout involved a lot of basic baseball skills,” said Michelle. “It involved hitting, throwing and fielding.”

After the interviews and tryouts, the final cuts are made for the roster following a personal, one-on-one interview. “You sit down and interview with the head recruiter. And after that they told me I had got the job,” said Michelle.

In addition to the job you see on television and at the stadium, the Ballgirls do a lot of work behind the scenes as well. According to the Phillies website, the Ballgirls make over 150 off-field appearances.  These include television and radio spots, as well as school visits, nursing home visits, golf and bowling tournaments and fashion shows. They also play a minimum of 10 softball games, which benefit various charities in the Philadelphia area.

“We do a lot of community service as a Ballgirl and it is something that I really love,” said Michelle. “When you are giving back to the community you know you are helping others and it is such a rewarding feeling. It is one of the reasons I want to be a pediatric nurse after college.”

With Opening Day quickly approaching, Michelle will soon be balancing her work as a Phillies Ballgirl and nursing major. Fortunately for her, the position of Ballgirl comes with the perk of free admittance to Phillies games. Something she says is easily one of the highlights of the job.

Keep an eye out for Michelle during Phillies’ home games this season.

PHOTO CAP: Michelle Hedricks

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Sam’s Hope: A shining light for pets in need

by June Portnoy

Every year an estimated eight million animals nationwide enter shelters. Nearly 50% never find homes and are euthanized. About six to eight percent of pets surrendered are due to a pet owner’s financial inability to care for them.

Citing these statistics, Marianne Iaquinto explains why she established Sam’s Hope, based in Richboro, one year ago. 

“I read how so many shelters are suddenly overflowing since the economy has been adversely affected, and I wanted to do something to help,” says Marianne, who has always been an animal lover.

“When money is tight, and you have to choose between feeding your family, paying your utility bills or caring for your pets, your pets become your last priority, which is why so many of them end up in shelters.”

[Read more...]

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BuxMont Organic Gardeners Club digs soil testing

by Patricia Cangelosi

“Don’t Guess; Soil Test!” This slogan epitomized the message behind the BuxMont Organic Gardeners Club’s meeting on March 10th, and raises an important point about what to know before you grow.

They share an enthusiasm for organic gardening and engage in open, casual discussions about their planting experiences. Members also share a passion for healthy, locally grown food, sustainability, and protecting the environment from harmful pesticides.

At their gathering, Doylestown resident Anna Marie Chiofolo led an interactive conversation about soil testing. Since gardeners cannot truly know how healthy their soil is without getting it tested, Anna Marie provided informational handouts and spoke about the soil testing process.

A fact sheet published by the Consumer Horticulture Center at Penn State University explains that plants cannot grow properly without fertile soil that contains the right elements in the right amounts. Sources of critical nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; Penn State offers a soil test that will measure all three, among other ingredients.

Anna Marie, who sits on the planning committee of the club, explained in a broader sense what soil is: an anchor for plant roots, a holder of nutrients, a mixture of sand, silt, and/or clay. In Bucks County, gardeners encounter soil containing mostly clay.

Penn State’s soil test is run through Extension, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to educate communities about managing and protecting resources, among other goals. The test measures nutrient levels and detects the presence of various elements in soil.

According to Anna Marie, “You dig down about six inches into the soil and get a one-cup sample. Put it in a bag and send it off to be tested. You also fill out a form and tell them what you intend to use that garden bed for.” The testers will send a detailed report and make recommendations about how to use the soil to its full potential.

The BuxMont Organic Gardeners Club sponsors several programs each year. On the agenda for April is a presentation about container gardening by master gardener Bonnie Oliver. May marks the group’s annual plant exchange, a members-only event that many look forward to, explains Joan Brown, another planning committee member. “People bring extra seeds to swap. It’s exciting because you get different varieties of plants that you might never have heard of,” she says.

In June, a representative from the Bucks County Department of Health will present about the hazards of summer, including Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and heat exhaustion. July and August are reserved for tours of local garden centers. Later in the year, the club will offer programs on growing garlic, fermenting (such as sauerkraut), and juicing of fruits and vegetables.

“We’re a close-knit group,” Joan says, and members are not shy about openly sharing stories and ideas. One idea that was discussed at the March meeting was laying down newspapers beneath a future garden bed to kill the weeds beneath it. Another suggestion was to do the same thing, but with cardboard. Both materials will eventually decompose and leave behind a solid foundation for a healthy garden.  

The club’s members meet on the second Monday of each month at 7:15pm at the Churchville Nature Center, 501 Churchville Lane, Churchville. The next club meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 14th. E-mail BMOGardeners@gmail.com for more information. Meetings are open to the public; donations are requested to fund speakers and events throughout the year.

For more information about Penn State’s Extension soil testing program, visit http://agsci.psu.edu/aasl/soil-testing.

PHOTO CAP: Anna Marie Chiofolo discussed soil testing at the BuxMont Organic Gardeners Club’s March meeting.

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April at the Northampton Library

After the grueling winter of 2014, rejuvenate this spring at the Northampton Library with programs and activities for all ages.  

Back by popular demand, Fred Miller’s Lecture-In-Song returns on Saturday, April 12th at 2:00pm. Dorothy Fields (1904-1974) was the first female songwriter inducted to the American Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, yet she is not a household name. However, we know her lyrics to the tunes of  “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “I’m in the Mood for Love.” Join Fred to explore her life, legacy, and contribution to American songwriting!

*Toddler Play Group – Friday, April 11th, 11:00am-noon, for ages 2-3½

Come and play with toys especially for toddlers. Meet new friends and enjoy fun social time. For moms, dads and grandparents and their toddlers. No registration required. 

*Book Bunch Book Group – Tuesday, April 15th, 4:30-5:15pm, grades 2 and 3 Book group for kids! Each month there will be a different book to read. Then on that third Tuesday, discuss the book with the librarian and other kids and have some snacks and lots of fun. Next discussion is reading “The Littles.” You must sign up at the library so you can pick up your book and start reading. Hurry! Registration required. 

*“For the Birds!” – Wednesday, April 16th, 7:00-8:00pm, grades K-3 

Spring is here and the birds are back! Join the Children’s Librarian to make crafts with our feathered friends in mind!

*Lego Club – Saturday, April 26th, noon-2:00pm Bring the family for a fun afternoon activity. Build with the library’s Legos and display your work in the library! Children under 10 years must be accompanied by an adult. No registration necessary.

To register and for more info visit www.northamptontownshiplibrary.org or call 215-357-3050.

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Mercer Bucks Cardiology offers free heart disease screenings for women

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, Mercer Bucks Cardiology is offering free screenings for women who don’t know their risk for heart disease. Screenings will take place all day Wednesdays through Fridays.

Women can reduce their risk for heart disease by as much as 80% by knowing their risk, taking preventative measures, eating a healthy diet and being physically active.

A healthy woman is the greatest asset any family can have, so ladies, if you don’t feel the need to get a screening for yourself, get a screening for your family’s sake. In one half-hour you will receive a two-page printout with your risk for heart disease, as well as preventative measures you can take to maintain and improve your health. Know what your numbers are so you can live a long, healthy life.

For more information about screenings call 215-710-3090.

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The importance of infectious control procedures at your dentist’s office

submitted by Dr. Michael Spadafora, D.D.S.

While infection control has always been a focus of the American Dental Association and the dental schools, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the general public really became aware of the issue.

The 1980’s brought AIDS to the public awareness. And with AIDS came a new term – “universal precautions.”  Universal precautions meant that every patient is treated as if he/she was a carrier of an infectious disease. This was done for the protection of all patients and the health care providers.

Although AIDS brought infection control to the forefront, today it is the hepatitis virus that is very concerning for patients and providers. This is because the hepatitis virus is more virulent and lives longer on surfaces.

So what do universal precautions and infection control mean for us today? In the dental world, it means that the dentists and clinical staff should be wearing fresh gloves to treat each patient. They should also be masked. All instruments that come in contact with the patient should be disposable or sterilized, using heat and/or chemicals. When the patient leaves the treatment room, the room should be thoroughly cleaned, using special chemical agents.

Opening the sterilization bags with the clean instruments in front of the patient in a dentist’s office is a subtle way of showing patients that infection control is a first priority.

As a patient, you have a right to ask about infection control procedures in the office. The dentist or staff should be more than willing to show you the sterilization area and explain what steps they take to protect your health.

If you wonder at all about your dental office’s infection control protocol, be proactive and ask questions. There is one rule of thumb, however, that is a good indicator. A meticulously clean dental office shows the attention to detail that will put your mind at ease. When it comes to infection control, every detail matters!

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