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Archive for March, 2011

As with many things, it all began with an iChat message: A few nights ago, Jeff told me to follow Michael S. Williamson, who was newly on Twitter.

“He’s back on the road,” Jeff added.

As a Washington Post Digital photo-editing intern in 2009, I was familiar with Michael’s work on the “Half a Tank” project. So, following him along for another extended roadtrip was a no-brainer.

Shortly thereafter, Michael contacted me and asked if I was going to the Three Mile Island vigil. I said no, and then yes. Later, I asked if we could talk in person about his “Recession Road” project — namely, why was he using exclusively his iPhone’s camera?

And so, at 2:30 a.m. on Monday, Michael and I met at Three Mile Island. He brought orange juice, I brought peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. He said my car was too clean for me to be a photojournalist, I said I’d had it for less than a week and to give it time. Then we talked for 45 minutes before we had to do our actual work.

I recorded the entire interview (with his knowledge and consent). Originally, I was recording just to make sure I didn’t misquote him, but Michael gave such good explanations and quotes that I had no choice but to edit those 45 minutes down into eight different audio clips and blog them.

You can read more about the tech-y aspects in a 10,000 Words post I wrote earlier. Here, I’m going to share some of the more photo-centric thoughts and audio clips.

  • Meet T.E.S.

Whereas Michael earlier trekked through America with Theresa, a reporter, he is now a one-man band. Therefore, when on the road, he lives in his tricked-out Honda Element whom he calls “T.E.S.” — an acronym for “The Element of Surprise.”

(No, I shouldn’t have to explain that for you.)

© 2011 by Chris Dunn. Wearing his trademark hat and with his face illuminated by his iPhone, Washington Post photographer Michael S. Williamson has made a home out of his Honda Element.

He showers at truck stops, and occasionally crashes on couches. Not having access to a bed or a private bathroom or any other such luxuries has emboldened Michael. He said he’s lonely, and this loneliness has made him hungry to meet people and get to hear their stories.

  • Why the iPhone?

Two reasons.

One: Immediacy.

Two: Nonintrusiveness.

  • “I’m already sick of Hipstamatic”

“It’s just too affected,” Michael said. He uses it on occasion, but he uses the settings that least affect the image, and he’s always sure to point out whether or not he used an iPhone app to enhance or change a photo. But overall, he doesn’t like it.

(more…)

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Eight hours after I covered the Three Mile Island vigil, I found myself in a black box theatre and surrounded by a bunch of clowns.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College student Joe Sheely performs as a clown as he wraps a bib around his neck in professor Rachel Snyder's Commedia Clown class on Monday, March 28, 2011. Snyder had her students bring baby clothes to class so they could try to put them on while performing as clowns.

Welcome to Commedia Clown — a class at York College wherein students learn to clown it up. And, believe it or not, it’s harder to play the clown than it might seem.

For more antics and commentary, check out the video I shot and edited.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College student Adi DiFabia looks astonished as classmate Vince Scalco proposes to her with a triangular protractor during a warm-up exercise in professor Rachel Snyder's Commedia Clown class on Monday, March 28, 2011, in the Perko Playpen Theatre on campus. During this warm-up exercise, students were asked to retrieve an item from their backpacks or purses and incorporate it into an act not normally associated with it.

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Thanks to a tip I got from a Washington Post photographer whom I’ve long admired (more on that in an upcoming post), I left my apartment at 1:15 a.m. today to cover the 32nd annual Three Mile Island vigil.

The vigil was about what I’d expected. There were signs…

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Joyce Corradi, center, of Middletown, and Paula Kinney of Hampden Township prop up a sign describing the Three Mile Island partial core nuclear meltdown, during a vigil marking the accident's 32nd anniversary outside the nuclear plant's Unit 1 on Monday, March 28, 2011. Kinney said after the accident, she and her family moved 20 miles upwind to avoid the spread of nuclear particles.

…and candles…

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Paper cranes, votive candles and sunflowers lined the feet of those who came to the annual Three Mile Island vigil outside the nuclear plant's Unit 1 on Monday, March 28, 2011. About two dozen people gathered the vigil in remembrance of the plant's second unit meltdown 32 years ago on March 28, 1979. This year's vigil was dedicated to the victims and survivors of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear plant crisis in Japan.

…and media.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. NHK Japanese Broadcasting Corporation reporter Ichiro Kabasawa files a report on Monday, March 28, 2011, from the annual vigil held outside of Three Mile Island in remembrance of the plant's second unit meltdown 32 years ago. NHK was one of several Japanese news crews at the event, in addition to local media.

There were also security goons…

© 2011 by The York Dispatch.

…who made sure nobody crossed the nuclear plant’s property line.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch.

On the surface, it was similar to many vigils I’ve covered. A few people spoke out against nuclear power and the powers that be. There were plenty of media, and there were plenty of candles and signs.

Yet, covering this particular vigil was a little strange to me. (more…)

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Slanted

Something caught my eye during my drive to the newsroom this afternoon. So I circled the block, parked and found the alleyway.

Shadows.

And then I looked up.

The source.

And then I continued on to the newsroom.

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PB-no-J

Who else but a great friend will send you a (sliced!) loaf of homemade bread and a jar of natural peanut butter?

PB&B?

Thank you, Cat!

(And thanks also to my sister-in-law Emily, who regularly sends me Hawaiian candy and, in her latest package, an assortment of teas! And, finally, thanks also to my mom, who sent me a few canned/packaged Asian grocery items and other goodies. Care packages aren’t just for college students, after all.)

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I believe it was my good friend Esten, on the first day of our epic spring break trip, who told me that the Spanish word for “pancake” is “panqueque” — which, if you break it down, translates to “bread what what.”

Ever since, I’ve enjoyed referring to pancakes as “¡bread!¿what?¿what?”

On a slightly more somber note: This morning, I got up and photographed a pancake breakfast hosted by a local church to benefit the Japan relief effort. The breakfast is still going on until 11:30 a.m., so if you’re in the area and want to donate to the fund and have your pancakes too, go for it.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Diane Imler, of Springettsbury Township, places a few homemade cranes and other origami figures onto the welcome table at the pancake breakfast hosted by St. John Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 26, 2011. The church has been advertising the pancake breakfast, which will benefit the Japan relief effort, this week via signs. Church members said a Japanese woman who works at a local florist saw the signs and brought the origami pieces to the church to show her thanks.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Five pancakes are almost ready to be removed from the griddle during the pancake breakfast hosted on Saturday, March 26, 2011, by St. John Lutheran Church on Mt. Rose Avenue. The church is hosting a pancake breakfast 8-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, 2011, in the school gym, to benefit the Japan relief effort, and is accepting donations of any dollar amount, and all donations will go toward the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care fund.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Isabelle Peregoy, 6, and Madison, 1, both of McSherrystown, join their grandfather David Peregoy of Spring Garden Township and other St. John Lutheran Church members in prayer at a pancake breakfast hosted by the church on Saturday, March 26, 2011, to benefit the Japan relief effort.

  • ADDENDUM — March 26, 4:31 p.m. EST –

I just called up Diane Imler, who was at the breakfast and helping coordinate things. She said the breakfast raised $1,150 this morning.

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There’s always something going on at the York Expo Center.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Florist Vince Butera's face is reflected in water-filled glass bulbs suspended from the birch-branch canopy of his booth's wedding pergola as he inserts Thai orchids into holes in the bulbs, on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. When completed, the pergola will feature the orchids from Thailand as well as roses from Ecuador, lilies from Pennsylvania and ranunculus from Holland. The annual Pennsylvania Garden Show of York, which opened at the Toyota Center on Thursday, March 3, featured 120 vendors in display gardens, building products, specialty designs and home improvement. This year's theme was "Romantic Garden."

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Diamond, a Standard Schnauzer, watches as her half-brother Schweitzer is groomed by her owner Carol Filer of Altoona and held still by Brenda Kibler of Monkton, Md., on the first day of the Celtic Classic dog show at the Toyota Arena on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. The annual Celtic Classic dog show opened at the Toyota Arena and Memorial Hall West on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. Featuring dogs from the York, Lancaster and Delaware Kennel Clubs, the show ran through Sunday, March 20, at the York Expo Center.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. A train rushes past several people and their parked cars on part of the model set built by the Susquehanna Valley Garden Railroad Society for the East Coast Large Scale Train Show in Memorial Hall at the York Expo Center on Thursday, March 24, 2011. The East Coast Large Scale Train Show's spring show is open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday, March 25, and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, at Memorial Hall in the York Expo Center. Featuring dozens of vendors selling everything from tracks to miniature shrubbery to trains, the show also is host to several clubs and societies that have constructed railroad models in the halls.

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© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Young broccoli sprouts are slowly but surely growing at Hueter's Greenhouses. The broccoli are just one of many of the vegetable varieties that the workers at Hueter's are planting and growing in preparation for the spring season.

Yesterday afternoon, I’d gone to Rocky Ridge County Park for the first time, to look (unsuccessfully) for mountain bikers, and en route, I noticed some greenhouses just off the road. So today, knowing that the paper would need us photographers to get some more enterprise/feature photos, I went to the greenhouses to make some pictures.

It’s not quite time for the tulips, lilies and hyacinths, but the ladies working there were planting seeds and transplanting young plants. Two of the pictures I turned in to the paper are pretty similar. One is a little more “artsy”; the other is more functional. I’ll let you decide which you prefer.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Hueter's Greenhouses employee Jane Gurreri works to transplant hundreds of young begonias from trays to pots in one of the facility's eight greenhouses on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. After a slow January-February season, the workers at Hueter's Greenhouses are planting seeds for various vegetables and transplanting young flower plants.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Hueter's Greenhouses employee Jane Gurreri waters newly-transplanted, potted begonias in one of the facility's eight greenhouses on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.

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© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York Suburban freshman pitcher Lewis Myers throws the ball under the tutelage of head coach Josh Leik during practice in the Luther Memorial Church parking lot on Monday, March 21, 2011. A few members of the York Suburban baseball team practiced in the parking lot because the morning rain had washed out the field. York Suburban plays its first game of the season on Friday, March 25.

I drove almost 50 miles in the immediate York area — a number I didn’t think was possible — yesterday in search of enterprise/feature photos. So when I pulled into the York Suburban High School parking lot and saw baseball players in the neighboring church’s parking lot, my interest was piqued.

Unfortunately, after I found out that a) yes, they were the home team and b) they were in the lot because their field was flooded out, I also found out that both my camera batteries were dead. So I raced home in rush-hour traffic, grabbed my old camera body (after checking that its battery still had juice) and raced back to the school. I was able to make pictures of just a few more pitches before they wrapped up practice.

That was a close call on my part, and that’s not happening again!

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When I was five years old, I wanted to be a ballerina, an author, a teacher, an artist, an astronaut, an equestrienne and, of course, a mommy.

When I was six or seven years old, my mother put me into a ballet class. After I-don’t-know-how-many weeks or months (not that many), I became fed up that we weren’t doing anything fancy. So my ever-patient mother let me quit the class. I don’t know if she was counting on my eventually learning from my impatience and my mistake of quitting prematurely, but that’s what happened: I ain’t a quitter.

And neither are these Greater York Youth Ballet dancers, and I was so excited to photograph them as they prepare for their first show of the calendar year: “The Velveteen Rabbit.”

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Jack Miller, 11 of Dallastown, performs as the young boy who just received a new toy: the Velveteen Rabbit, performed by Allison Smith of West York. "The Velveteen Rabbit" ballet was choreographed by Cynthia Ridler of the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet Company and School, and is based on the children's tale of a beloved stuffed animal.

The lighting was ideal, and I was welcome to move around the dancers as they rehearsed (“It’s okay, ladies, you can run her over if you have to,” the artistic director told them). This was absolutely a fun, beautiful assignment to shoot on a non-working day, and I’m really excited about the pictures I was able to make.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. The young adult members of the Greater York Youth Ballet stretch before beginning the final dress rehearsal for "The Velveteen Rabbit" ballet at the Greater York Center for Dance Education on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Jeanne Mallorey of Dover stretches before beginning the final dress rehearsal of "The Velveteen Rabbit" ballet at the Greater York Center for Dance Education on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Rebekah Coup, center, of York Township performs with other members of the Greater York Youth Ballet in the final dress rehearsal for "The Velveteen Rabbit" ballet at the Greater York Center for Dance Education on Saturday, March 19, 2011.

(more…)

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Shot tennis for the first time in over a year, on Thursday.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Spring Grove's Chris Mathews returns the ball to Northeastern's Lance Sanderson during a match at Spring Grove Area High School on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

One of the coaches was initially hesitant to let me inside the court to make pictures during the matches.

“Well, you can take pictures while they’re warming up,” she said. “It’s just that last time there was a photographer from [another newspaper], the shutter clicks really bothered the boys.”

I said I couldn’t run photos of practice — I had to get the matches themselves. I also didn’t want to get stuck taking photos from outside the fence.

“Did the other photographer just take photos incessantly? Was he or she just gunning the camera on motordrive?” I asked.

The coach said yes.

“Well, that’s not how I shoot tennis,” I said. “For me, I take one shot for every one of their shots. I don’t motordrive tennis. I’m a lot more selective, and it won’t be distracting to the boys.”

She let me go inside.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Spring Grove's John King returns the ball to Northeastern's Stuart Reilly during a match at Spring Grove Area High School on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

I’m not naming the other photographer nor where he/she worked, but I was surprised that someone would want to shoot tennis — or baseball, or softball — that way. In my experience, you either get the peak action, with the ball in the frame, or you don’t. Gunning your shutter is a futile and noisy waste of frames.

In my experience, at least. That said, my camera can only give me 3.9 frames per second in continuous mode. I guess if I had a faster frames-per-second rate, motordriving would be more appealing… but again, not in tennis, baseball or softball.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Northeastern's Lance Sanderson serves the ball to Spring Grove's Chris Mathews during a match at Spring Grove Area High School on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Or maybe I’m just crazy.

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Rita’s is having its 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway today, until 9 p.m.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College junior Blair Foster serves up a cup of strawberry-kiwi Italian ice at Rita's Italian ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011. March 20 was Rita's 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway.

These cups of Italian ice usually cost somewhere between $3 and $5, but today they’re free (plus $1 for the optional custard topping). And, according to the owner of the store on South Queen Street, people sometimes come from as far as Maryland, New Jersey and New York just to get free ice.

Which, if true, is incredible. I haven’t had Rita’s yet — when I have my Italian ice, I’ll pay for it — so maybe the ice really is just that good.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. People line up to get free ice at Rita's Italian Ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011, for the company's 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway. Store owner Rick Pickett said he has seen people come from Maryland, New Jersey and New York to get free ice, which normally costs about $3-5 per serving, and that he expects to see as many as 3,000 people come to the story today.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. (Left to right) Olivia Small, Katelyn Fissel, Dylan Small and Nate Geiger, all of Spring Garden Township, eat their free Italian ices outside of Rita's Italian Ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011.

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A week after I tagged along with volunteers releasing young trout into York County creeks, I returned to ride the trout train.

Yes. An actual train.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Jeremy VanSickle of Dover carries out a bucket of trout from the motor-car train, where volunteers tended to five barrels containing 500 trout as part of the preseason live-release program on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. A motor-car train on almost four miles of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad line in Chanceford Township was put to use to release trout in parts of the north branch of Muddy Creek that are otherwise inaccessible by public roads.

On actual tracks.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. The motor-car train, operated by Terry Smith of Yorkana, is maintained by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society. The railroad, nicknamed the "Ma and Pa," ran between York and Baltimore from 1901 to the 1950s. The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society also maintains almost four miles of original track between Muddy Creek Forks and Laurel in Chanceford Township.

With 500 fish.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Joe and Jeremy VanSickle of Dover carefully transfer young trout into one of five water barrels standing on a platform car in a motor-car train in Chanceford Township on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. About a dozen volunteers released the 500 young trout throughout almost four miles of the north branch of Muddy Creek by taking a motor-car train on the remnants of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad line between High Rock and Laurel.

It was a really pleasant way to start the day.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Jerry Eberly of Winterstown and Tim Gladfelter of Windsor discuss future stops in their route on the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad line along the north branch of Muddy Creek on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. About a dozen volunteers came for the ride on the motor-car train on almost four miles of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad line, along the north branch of Muddy Creek in Chanceford Township, to help release 500 live trout as part of the preseason live-release program on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. (Left to right) Jerry Eberly of Winterstown, Johnny Enfield of Winterstown and Sam Oberdorff of Windsor Township watch the passing scenery as they and other volunteers ride a motor-car train on the remnants of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad line along the north branch of Muddy Creek in Chanceford Township on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.

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It’s that time of year again for Pennsylvania students: time to take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams.

How did one school in York County handle exam time? By holding an academic pep rally.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Northeastern Middle School students race out to stomp on other teams' colored balloons during one of several competitive activities in the school's annual academic pep rally on Monday, March 14, 2011. Northeastern Middle School held its annual academic prep rally for the seventh and eighth grade students on Monday, March 14, 2011, to honor students with high grades and good attendance and behavior records, and to help students blow off some steam on the day before the school will administer the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Northeastern Middle School principal Michael Alessandroni wears his school loyalty on his socks as he participates in the carpet relay during the school's annual academic pep rally on Monday, March 14, 2011.

I wish my prep school had been this cool.

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Pickled beet eggs

Something I’ve noticed in grocery stores here that I’ve never seen anywhere else: plastic tubs of eggs soaked in bright red liquid.

I never knew what they were until my roommate — who was born and raised in the area — said they’re “beet eggs.” Pickled beet eggs. Apparently they’re a big thing among the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The basic recipe? Apple cider vinegar + sugar + water + beets + beet juice + hard-boiled eggs. Refrigerate overnight.

They tasted less “beet-y” than I’d anticipated. But my roommate suggested actually eating them with the beets, which I’ll try next time.

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If anything, I’ve learned that people like to congregate at watering holes, whether they’re collecting water, imbibing alcoholic beverages or actually, literally gathering around a watering hole.

As far as the actual, literal watering hole goes, I’ve seen it in Georgia…

© 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The infamous mud pit at the conclusion of the 2010 Redneck Games in Dublin, Ga.

…and now I’ve seen it in Pennsylvania.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Bikini-clad Tyler Rutter of Dillsburg attempts to pond-skim at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry on Sunday, March 13, 2011. To celebrate the end of the 2010-2011 winter season, the resort created a waist-high "pond" for its popular, annual pond-skimming event, which requires participants to ski or snowboard partway down the snow slope and then water-ski/-board across the pond.

Roundtop Mountain Resort closed its winter season today, and to celebrate, they dug out a trench, filled it with water and invited skiers and snowboarders to attempt to pond-skim. I’d never heard of pond-skimming until last night when I looked at the event flier and had to ask Jeff what it was.

“You go down a regular snow hill on skis/snowboard,” Jeff said, “and try to make it across a semi-frozen/half-melted pond without falling in. They do it at the end of the season.”

An employee at the resort told me the trick is to switch your skiing styles, seamlessly. A snow skier leans forward, whereas a water skier leans backward.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Kyle "Toast" Heintzelman of Dillsburg successfully pond-skims across a manmade "pond" at the bottom of the Minuteman slope at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

As a Southerner, I thought the whole thing sounded ridiculous — and, of course it was that. It was awesome, too.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Sam Palumbo of Dillsburg shouts, "Shiver me timbers!" as he is helped from the manmade "pond" after unsuccessfully pond-skimming at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Lewisberry on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

As was the case with the Redneck Games, photographing pond-skimming at Roundtop is an occupational hazard in and of itself. One of the employees there told me I was squarely in the “splash zone,” and was I ever. Whereas after the Redneck Games I was covered in mud, I was soaked to the skin and shivering after one hour of photographing people trying to make it across the water.

Should’ve brought my rainjacket.

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I went back to Hershey tonight to cover the first round of the PIAA Class AAA State Wrestling Championships. Which meant I had to drive 80 miles — most of which was on the interstate — in the big rainstorm. Which meant, for the first time since Sunday, I had to drive in (very) wet conditions. Which is now a terrifying concept and made me really apprehensive and agitated.

But I survived and made it there and back without incident. And, between each 40-mile stretch of road, I covered each of the nine wrestlers that York County sent to the state preliminaries. Here are a few shots:

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Spring Grove's Trey Duncan, top, wrestles Northampton's Cole Sheptock, in orange and black, in the 145-pound class during the first round of PIAA Class AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Spring Grove's Neal Grudi, top, wrestles La Salle's Nick Burns in the 171-pound class during the first round of PIAA Class AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Kennard-Dale's Chance Marsteller, bottom, wrestles Abington Heights' James Fruehan in the 152-pound class during the first round of PIAA Class AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Central York's Jake English, in black, wrestles La Salle's Shane Springer in the 160-pound class during the first round of PIAA Class AAA State Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Check out a lot more shots in the York Dispatch on-line gallery!

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Warning: This post will have “city girl” written all over it.

I didn’t work on Sunday or Monday for obvious, logistical reasons, but this week still seems like a two-day work week — because I had so. much. fun. on assignment on Tuesday when I followed a pre-season trout-stocking trip.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Charlie Meads of Hallam Borough releases trout in Fawn Township on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. During each trout-stocking trip, the caravan of trucks tries to stop at least four times per mile per creek to release fish, provided there is enough road access to that creek. Volunteers from three different York County fish co-ops helped Waterways Conservation Officer Darrin Kephart and Jay Bucher stock several public-access creeks with 3,000 young trout as part of the pre-season live-release procedure. The fishing season opens on April 2.

I’ve been fortunate to do and see a lot of cool things in my relatively young life, but I’m not kidding. This was easily one of the neatest things I’ve ever covered.

There was one big fish-tank carrier truck, followed by the Waterways Conservation Officer and a caravan of almost a dozen pick-up trucks driven by volunteers (most of whom are older and retired). Several creeks were to be stocked with young trout that day, so the access points were planned in advance according to which landowners gave permission. And each time the caravan stopped at an access point, they’d scoop the fish out of the truck and either dump them into the creeks via buckets or carry them out via float-boxes.

Riding in a truck, hopping out and photographing people putting fish in a creek may not seem very glamorous or interesting to a lot of people, but I was truly and honestly fascinated by the whole thing.

And, of course, I made a video, so check it out!

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Dozens of trout splash around in a float-box pulled by Rick Leader of Dallastown and Larry Bennett of Stewartstown, who would disperse the fish down South Branch Muddy Creek on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Dean Snyder of New Bridgeville hands a bucket full of young trout to Dennis Leicht of Lower Windsor Township, as Jay Bucher of Shippensburg fishes out more fish with a net in Fawn Township on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The truck is outfitted with seven different tanks, and can contain up to 3,000 young fish at a time. Volunteers released brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout and palomino trout.

I went along for the whole, four-hour trip. Later, some of the old-timers remarked I’m the first photographer to do so, as photographers in the past have accompanied the caravan for only one or a few stops. I didn’t care, and they didn’t seem to mind.

And I’m going to try to accompany them again on another trip — next time, with a pair of waders so I can get into the water with them.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Larry Bennett of Stewartstown and Rick Leader of Dallastown pull a float-box down South Branch Muddy Creek on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. If a creek has only one or a few good access points from a road, volunteers would wade out for a few miles in the creek to disperse the fish evenly. These volunteers were stationed at several points along the fish-carrier truck's route, to be ready to carry the fish out in float-boxes in the creeks.

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I went to a 7 a.m. Ash Wednesday service today at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist. I’ve never regularly attended traditional church services, much less ones for special days, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was sparsely attended, which is understandable given the time of day and the fact that the church scheduled four services throughout the day.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Marked with ashes, Kathy Johnson of York City reads along in the liturgy during the 7 a.m. Ash Wednesday service at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

Similar to another assignment, I kinda felt like a jerk for walking around and making camera-shutter noises that echoed in the largely empty sanctuary. But I was as discreet as I could possibly be, and I’d asked several attendees for their permission and names before the service began. Everyone seemed focused on the service and not at all distracted by my movements, which was relieving.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Kathy Johnson of York City kneels in prayer during the 7 a.m. Ash Wednesday service at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.

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Slow down before you start hydroplaning on a wet road. Even if you’re already going at/below the speed limit.

In Mill Creek, alongside Camp Betty Washington Road in York Township.

I’m thankful that I wore my seatbelt (as always), that the windshield didn’t shatter upon impact and that other drivers stopped to call 9-1-1 and kept me company as I was stuck in the driver’s seat and waiting for a rescue crew.

I wish I could’ve thanked those drivers, but they were gone by the time the rescuers extricated me.

License plate is blurred out for my mom's peace of mind.

So, um, yeah. Slow down on wet pavement. Especially on curvy roads that are conveniently next to creeks.

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