Archive for June, 2011

I photographed the York County Senior Games swim meet a few days ago. It was awesome.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lore Gutmann, 82 of York City, kisses Bryson Neidigh, 7 of Springettsbury Township, on the cheek after he presented her with her gold medal for the 50-yard breaststroke in the 80-84 age division in the York County Senior Games swim meet on Friday, June 24, 2011, at Central York High School. Seniors ranging in age from 51 to 88 swam three strokes and an individual medley to compete in the 10th annual York County Senior Games.

I’ve shot high school swim meets and pro swim meets, where the natatorium is always full of tension as the swimmers look at the timeboard and either grimace or sigh in exhausted relief. With the seniors? People were just having fun, and even the two men boasting a decades-old rivalry had great camaraderie.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Left to right) Tim Grumbacher, 71 of York Township, shakes hands with Jon Edmonds, 70 of Springettsbury Township, after defeating him in their 100-yard freestyle heat in the York County Senior Games swim meet on Friday, June 24, 2011, at Central York High School. Grumbacher and Edmonds said they have competed against each other since they both participated in the 1980 Oxford Triathlon.

I should add that a few of these seniors could easily outswim me. I can only hope that when I’m their age, I too can still get in the water and swim a few laps.

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Well, it’s over.

I mean, not quite. There’s a press conference this morning, and of course the show airs in September. But the big reveal happened yesterday, and for now, for me, it’s over.

I could go on about how they took down the media tent 30 minutes after I arrived and how we were left to stand in the sun… or how the family’s ETA was 2-4 p.m. and how they actually arrived around 6 p.m. … or how I was on my feet for seven hours with one bottle of water and no food, without a break… but I won’t.

Everything that three other photographers and I endured for so many hours — the sun beating down on us, the security guards’ keeping us in the media pen, the builders’ blocking our view of the family — led up to a single shot that I knew I had to make. And, despite all those obstacles and more, I was able to make that shot. So I’m happy.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Brian Keefer, center, and his family react after seeing their newly renovated home for the first time on Sunday, June 26, 2011, in Newberry Township. Per "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" tradition, the show's bus blocked the family's view of the house until host Ty Pennington, the family and 1,000 supporters shouted, "Move that bus!"

I made some other shots, too, of course. So my editor is happy.

This was hail-mary’ed at 200mm:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dawn Keefer of Newberry Township reacts tearfully after learning that that donations by local community members and businesses paid off the family's $90,000 mortgage on their home, which was renovated by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Taken from a ladder conveniently left inside the media pen, at least until security made me descend:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Production crew members complete finishing details inside and outside the Keefer family's newly renovated home before their arrival on Sunday, June 26, 2011, in Newberry Township.

Taken during one of the camera crews’ many takes of the crowd:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" designers Jillian Harris, Ed Sanders, Tracy Hutson and Paul DiMeo try to rev up the crowd of supporters before the Keefer family arrived at their newly renovated home on Sunday, June 26, 2011, in Newberry Township.

Be sure to check back with the paper for more wrap-up coverage! Also, the show airs on Sept. 25 on ABC — it’s the season opener.

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Early Wednesday morning, reporter Kevin and I arrived in Newberry Township to cover the overnight shift at the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” build. It didn’t work out, and we never got to go to the build. Even though we did get a good story and video out of our experience, I was bound and determined to return and cover an overnight shift at the build.

So, after several phone calls with several people, I was cleared to access the build, which I did at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. This time, I went solo. It was my idea to return, and none of the reporters (understandably) had the time for it.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. The sky begins to pale over the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build early Thursday, June 23, 2011, in Newberry Township. Siding on the back of the house will be completed during the day on Thursday, with landscaping scheduled to begin in the evening.

This night shift was quiet, although lead build staff Jon Scroggin assured me that the previous night — when Kevin and I were stuck at the sign-in tent — had been hectic. But because everything on Thursday morning (mostly drywalling) was happening inside the house, where media aren’t allowed during construction, I was once again stuck outside the action.

So I focused on the quieter moments.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Lead build staff Jon Scroggin of Mechanicsburg and Keith Barefoot of East Pennsboro Township in Cumberland County rest for a moment by the backyard pool at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build early Thursday, June 23, 2011, in Newberry Township. Scroggin and Barefoot are two of several volunteers who are working at least 12 hours every night to make sure production runs on schedule between day shifts, when the TV crews are active.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Volunteer Mark Snyder of Mechanicsburg watches as another volunteer operates a track backhoe to loosen up the compacted topsoil in front of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build in Newberry Township on early Thursday, June 23, 2011. According to lead build staff Jon Scroggin, landscapers will begin work at the build at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Sunday is the big reveal day, so fellow photographer Paul and I will go together to cover the excitement. In the meantime, be sure to check out the short video I produced from that second consecutive overnight shift.

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Say what you want about “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” — it’s the best show on TV, it’s the cheesiest show on TV, it’s uplifting, it’s emotionally exploitive — but it’s here in York County, and people are excited.

We’ve been covering the build every day since Ty Pennington and the crew knocked on the Keefer family‘s door on Sunday, but my first chance to go to the site wasn’t until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Reporter Kevin and I arrived at an elementary school parking lot, where all volunteers and media sign in and take a shuttle to the build, just before 2 a.m. Our goal: To report on what it’s like for volunteers to work the overnight shift at the build. Due to various logistical happenstances, however, we couldn’t get cleared to actually go to the build. It was either go home or stick around — but for what?

We did what the Philmont rangers do — “Scramble, be flexible” — and stuck around. For the first half-hour or so, we hoped to get in touch with one of our contacts and, thus, get cleared to go to the build. But soon we decided to focus instead on what it’s like for volunteers to work the overnight shift at the sign-in tent.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Security guard Robert Haun and volunteer Lisa Dorr of Dillsburg chat during the early hours of Wednesday, June 22, 2011, outside the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteer sign-in tent in the Red Mill Elementary School parking lot.

When you step back and think about it, building or renovating a house in one week is a pretty big task that requires a lot of manpower and coordination every hour of every day. And when the vast majority of your manpower consists of volunteers — well, you need a team of volunteers just to coordinate the other volunteers. That’s what happens at this tent in the Red Mill Elementary School parking lot: Registration and traffic control.

And a little fun, too, sometimes.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News: Volunteer Daniel Eyler, 15 of Dillsburg, caps off a stack of hardhats for fellow volunteer Josh Dorr, 16 of Dillsburg, as they pass time in the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteer sign-in tent early Wednesday, June 22, 2011, in the Red Mill Elementary School parking lot.

And, for some, a bit of a wait:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Volunteer Derick Greiner of York City sits on his hardhat and smokes a cigarette in the Red Mill Elementary School parking lot early Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Greiner and several other volunteers arrived around 5:30 a.m. to help do the siding at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build, but were told they had to wait until 7 a.m. before they could start work.

Kevin and I did eventually hear back from both our contacts later in the morning, but we stuck with our “scramble” story and never did go to the build.

Coming up next: My second consecutive overnight shift. Extreme? Fittingly!

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I’ve already written a bit about one reason why I love York: It’s old and beautiful, and it has old, beautiful churches. Plenty of them, in fact.

Here’s one more old, beautiful church I got to photograph earlier for a religion story: St. Patrick Church.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Father Samuel Houser enters the sanctuary at the beginning of the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 18, 2011, at St. Patrick Church in York City. The Vatican will introduce several changes in the Roman Missal in November, which will affect the wording of several prayers spoken by the priests and congregants during Mass.

The story? The Vatican is changing some things around. This meant that I, not knowing much of anything about Catholicism, walked into this old, beautiful church and was very fortunate that everybody I encountered was kind enough to answer my questions and help me out.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Will Koch, 16 of Spring Garden Township, holds open a copy of the Missal for Father Samuel Houser as he says the opening prayer at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 18, 2011, at St. Patrick Church in York City.

In turn, Fr. Houser introduced me to the congregation and assured them I wasn’t a spy. Much appreciated, Father. 🙂

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Dad Day

Today is Father’s Day. Like the past four or five Father’s Days (and Mother’s Days), I’m at least a thousand miles away from my dad. Thank goodness for phones, right?

Three years ago, in 2008, I was the editor of Philmont Scout Ranch‘s internal staff newsletter. It was a weekly production with a skeleton staff, but I was and am proud of how we recruited other staff throughout the camp to write weekly columns, encouraged and published submissions and injected our own voices into the newsletter.

In the final full issue, I summed up three of my favorite memories from what proved to be my last summer at the ranch. One of those memories is of my dad’s and my hike up Wheeler Peak — New Mexico’s tallest peak, at 13,161 feet above sea level.

Click on the image above to download/view the full issue of The PhilNews. This reflection was published on pg. 15.

There’s a lot I could write about my dad. After all, we’ve known each other for 23 and a half years. But I’ll let the text of this reflection — copied out below — say it all.

Clouds are brewing overhead, but it’s a cool, windswept day near the treeline of Wheeler Peak. My dad has been having trouble since before we reached Williams Lake, and has had to stop after every 10 feet of gained altitude. Even though my friends have gone on ahead and I’d love to reach the top in record time, I remain with my father, making him drink water and eat energy-loaded dried fruit and encouraging him.

My dad and I have never been very close. We didn’t really start getting along until after I graduated from high school. And I’ve never been one prone to give words of comfort. I’d like to think I’m a motherly figure of sorts — I love cooking for and helping out friends and family — but encouragement is not my strongest suit. I’m really struggling with trying to keep my father from collapsing altogether, in body and in spirit.

We’re out of the treeline and almost to the snowbank that separates the skreefield from the rest of the slope, when my dad has to stop again.

“You’re doing great, Dad,” I say, and we pound fists.

“You’re a good girl, Christine,” he says. I’m a little startled at his use of my full name — it’s something he does only when in earnest.

“I try,” I say, trying to keep it lighthearted.

“No — you are,” he says, and I suddenly remember all the times he’s told my brothers and me, “Do not try; do.”

“You’re a good daughter,” he then says.

My dad never made it to the top. He finally stopped after we crossed the snowbank, and told me to go on ahead. But it means so much to me that he tried so hard.

Happy Dad Day, Dad. I’ll see you in a few weeks.

(On an egalitarian note, I wish I’d written up something about/for my mom. Next year, Mom. Next year.)

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On Wednesday, for the first time in more than a year, I laced up my trusty Chuck Taylors and went for a run.

Then I went to work, where my two assignments for the day consisted entirely of walking. First, four injured veterans and other volunteers are walking across (most of) the state to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. They entered York County on Wednesday. Bill (the reporter) walked with them on the Rte. 462 bridge across the Susquehanna River. I walked with them as they left Wrightsville.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Michael Barbot of Martinsburg, W.V., leads about 20 other people walking the Pennsylvania Hero Walk for the Wounded Warriors Project on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, in Wrightsville. Barbot, who is a resident in the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center in Johnstown in Cambria County, is one of four wounded veterans participating in the two-week walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to raise money to aid wounded service members' recovery. Barbot served in the Army from 2004 and 2009, and was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Later, as evening approached, Bill and I met up with a father and son who are trying to lose weight together by regularly going on an almost four-mile walk near their house.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Zack McFatridge, 11, and his father Kerry wave to a neighbor as they walk up Round Hill Church Road near their home in East Hopewell Township on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The McFatridges have been walking an almost four-mile loop regularly since March in an effort to lose weight together.

Shooting this assignment was interesting. Bill and I — plus Kerry’s sister, who got him into walking — were accompanying Kerry and Zack on this walk, and we (mostly Bill) were talking to them the whole time. But every time we went up or down a hill or approached some nice scenery or light, I’d look at Bill, Bill would move to the other side of the road, I’d run ahead (usually uphill) and then I’d start walking backwards to make pictures.

Short of renting a helicopter or backing off by about a half-mile to shoot with a 400mm (which I don’t have anyway), I think I made just about every “walking” photo I could have. You can view more photos on the article page to see for yourself — and you should read the article anyway, as Bill did a really nice job.

Needless to say, by the time I returned to the newsroom, my legs and feet were sore. Running in the morning, walking in the afternoon and running up and down hills in the evening… it was a good workout.

Also, I think I need new shoes.

These tears just keep... tearing.

My track record of functional journalist footwear is not very good.

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Call me un-American, but I’d never heard of American Legion baseball until the day before I shot a game.

After checking out the list of teams, though, I’m not too surprised about my ignorance: There are only 26 teams in Texas (where I grew up)… and there are 393 teams in Pennsylvania (where I am now).

So yesterday around sunset, I photographed my first legion ball game. It was a junior game, with the boys’ ages ranging from 16 to 19. The light was beautiful, and the field was nestled behind a small business and between several backyards.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dallastown's Travis Hamberger pitches against Spring Grove in the seventh inning of an American Legion baseball game on Friday, June 17, 2011, at Shryock Field. Spring Grove defeated Dallastown 7-1 in seven innings at Shryock Field in an American Legion baseball game on Friday, June 17, 2011.

I also brought along the paper’s 300mm, which proved to be too tight for home plate, at least from where I shot (on the further end of the home team’s dugout).

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Spring Grove's Paul Smith slides into home in the first inning of an American Legion baseball game against Dallastown on Friday, June 17, 2011, at Shryock Field.

And, finally, an autofocus accident with which I’m okay:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Dallastown pitcher Tyler Fisher watches as second baseman Ryan Tracy makes a catch during the first inning of an American Legion baseball game against Spring Grove on Friday, June 17, 2011, at Shryock Field.

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I’m just past the one-month mark here at the paper, and today — a day of optic nerve pain — was the second time I’ve had newsroom coffee, ever.

That was two hours ago. Within the past hour, I looked at my coffee and discovered the creamer was having a little fun in there.

8:45 p.m.: Paramecium.

(Compare: A diagram of a paramecium.)

I checked again later.

8:55 p.m.: Neuron.

(Compare: A diagram of a neuron.)

And once more.

9:11 p.m.: Back to being a paramecium.

Is this normal? I’m not asking whether my taking pictures of how newsroom coffee and creamer interact is normal (it’s not), but rather, whether it’s normal for creamer to assume the shapes of various microorganisms and cells.

I’m not a regular coffee drinker. At all. So I don’t know any better.

Also, as of 9:32 p.m., it is still a paramecium. I guess that’s its default.

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One of my favorite parts about working at The York Daily Record/Sunday News — and no, nobody’s asking or hinting for me to write this — is that we photographers also do the art for our other publications. Like Smart Magazine. And Spaces (another magazine). And FlipSide.

FlipSide is a weekly arts/living/food/features pub that’s inserted into the paper every Thursday, and for today’s edition, I was assigned to shoot the art for the centerfold “Date Night Guide.” So I went to Glen Rock Mill Inn on two separate occasions to make pictures of the nighttime dining experience.

The first night I went — a Thursday — was rainy, which was great for some exterior shots but not much else.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. This photo didn’t run – obviously.

So I returned on Saturday and got to make some pictures before the rain came and chased any would-be patio diners indoors. This photo ran on FlipSide‘s cover:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Left to right) Fred Cockey of Seven Valleys and Roland Miller of Monkton, Md., listen as their wives Carolyn Cockey and Patricia Miller chat while waiting for their food in the patio of Glen Rock Mill Inn on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Check out the full Date Night Guide write-up, too.

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No matter where I go, I can’t escape mixed martial arts.

I’m not complaining. The sport fascinates me, and the fact that it’s on the rise doesn’t surprise me too much. It was on the rise in Missouri, and it’s on the rise here in Pennsylvania.

Last week, I spent a few hours in an airless, stuffy gym as a former high school wrestler and his former coach duked it out in preparation for their upcoming fights on Saturday. By “duking it out,” I mean that they were just rasslin’ — throwing punches during training would be a little extreme when they’re so close to their fights.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. A photo that didn't run. Sweat marks.

One thing that Bill Walizer — the former wrestling coach — said that surprised me was that many wrestlers are going into MMA. He said wrestlers coming out of college have few options to pursue wrestling professionally, and so many of them turn to MMA.

Eric Albright — the former high school wrestler — said wrestling is the best base for training in MMA.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Eric Albright lies splayed out on the wrestling mats after a three-minute match against former Red Lion wrestling coach Biff Walizer, on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at Red Lion Area High School. Albright, who wrestled at Red Lion Area High School in 2004 and 2005, is promoting the upcoming "Brawl in the Hall" mixed martial arts tournament via his organization FightRight MMA.

“You can control where the fight goes,” Walizer added. “You don’t have to play to your opponent’s defense.”

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. FightRight MMA promoter Eric Albright, left, observes as former Red Lion wrestling coach Biff Walizer, center, and mixed martial arts fighter and trainer Casey Bush demonstrate a jiu-jitsu position on Wednesday, June 8, 2011, at Red Lion Area High School. Walizer, who was Albright's wrestling coach, just ended his final and 12th season coaching at Red Lion and has fought 16 MMA fights.

Check out Ted’s article for some more information about the fighters and the tournament!

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What would you do if your grandparents bought you a new car?

These girls — who each received a new car, along with their cousin — whipped out their iPhones. But rest assured, they did hug and thank their grandparents first.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Taylor Garrod, 19; Audra Garrod, 21; and Brooke Garrod, 17, of Manchester Township use their iPhones to take pictures of their new cars at Apple Honda of York on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Barbara and Eugene Garrod, of Manchester, bought a silver Honda Fit Sport hatchback car for each of their four granddaughters who are licensed to drive, on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at Apple Honda of York.

The extended caption:

Audra Garrod, 21; Taylor Garrod, 19; Brooke Garrod, 17; and Allison Hollerbush, 17, arrived on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, to pick up their new cars. Audra Garrod, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania who is working in Lancaster for the summer, wanted a car with better gas mileage and originally asked for help buying a Honda CR-V. Her grandparents Barbara and Eugene Garrod then decided not to let their other granddaughters feel left out, and accordingly purchased identical cars for all four granddaughters.

I’ve lately been thinking a lot about my student loan payments, insurance payments, rent and everything else — plus a few other debts to my parents — and just, wow. These girls are very, very fortunate.

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We just ended the high school graduation season here in York County. Here’s the shot from yesterday’s commencement ceremony for William Penn Senior High School:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. William Penn Senior High School graduate Maleny Joann Acevedo tosses her cap in the air after York City School District Acting Superintendent Eric Holmes proclaimed her and her classmates to be graduates of William Penn on Friday, June 10, 2011, at Small Athletic Field. About 240 William Penn Senior High School seniors walked in the school's commencement ceremony.

Check out the full list of York County schools’ commencement ceremonies that The York Daily Record/Sunday News has covered over the past week.

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The recent heat that’s swept across the Mid-Atlantic isn’t just making everybody wonder why summer is in such a hurry — it’s also shortened the strawberry season.

Last week, I went to Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market to photograph people picking in their strawberry fields. This is what was published on the front page:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Carol Brown of New Freedom picks strawberries at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market as her youngest son Mitchell, 8, searches for more berries on Thursday, June 2, 2011. The Browns -- no relation to the orchard -- moved from Arizona last week and had not been able to take their children berry-picking until now. The recent hot weather has shortened strawberry season, according to workers at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market in Loganville. Fresh strawberries are available for sale in the market, and the farm's strawberry fields have been open to pickers all week.

And this is the photo that was my personal favorite/runner-up but that I knew was too weird/messy/weird to run:

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Mitchell Brown, 8, far right, gets to his feet after sampling a strawberry as his older siblings and parents pick berries on Thursday, June 2, 2011, at Brown's Orchards & Farm Market in Loganville.

I’ve lately been asking friends and fellow photographers how they would characterize my style or vision or whatever as a photographer. Some have noted a difference in how I shoot/edit for work versus how I shoot/edit for myself. Others have said that I’m not afraid to get close to people — that is, physically close to people, with a wide lens on my camera.

I honestly don’t know what my style or vision is. I’m either too young or too inexperienced to know, or maybe I just haven’t cared enough to recognize and cultivate it. Or, maybe my photographic style is that I have no style. Who knows? I don’t. I just like making pictures. I do think, though, that my personal attachment to the second photo does say something about me as a photographer. I’m just not sure what.

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After I cruised sat around in street rods for a few hours on Saturday, I headed over to Penn Park, where several William Penn High School students had organized a block party.

When I last shot a block party (in Atlanta), my favorite photo was of a small girl dancing on the tennis courts. My favorite photo from this block party? This kid doing back flips — without running or any jump starts or anything. He just… flipped.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Yonti Ritter, 10 of York City, practices a back flip on the basketball court during a block party on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at Penn Park. Students in William Penn High School's service learning class planned the block party to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity.

If only I had the confidence to attempt that and trust myself to land on my own two feet — which he did, every time.

(And check out those two kids on the right. What do you think they’re thinking?)


Also, apparently, being in a fire engine is something to call home about. Literally.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Makiasha Daniels, 10, talks to a friend's mom's friend on the phone as she sits in the passenger seat of one of York City's fire engines on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at Penn Park. Two York City firefighters brought the engine to the block party so children of all ages could explore it. "I'm in a fire truck, I'm in a fire truck," Daniels repeated on the phone.

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For one of my last York Dispatch assignments, I accompanied World War II veterans, Northeastern High School juniors and dozens of volunteers to Washington, D.C. The students had organized the entire trip so that local World War II veterans could visit the U.S. National World War II Memorial and see the changing of the guard in Arlington Cemetery, free of charge.

I shot photos and, despite some mic/audio problems, put together a video. Yet, although I spent a full 10 hours with the group, my favorite picture from the day was taken just before the buses departed the school.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Volunteer Sandy Brenner (in maroon shirt) hugs Mary Blymire goodbye before Brenner and World War II veteran Junior Aughenbaugh, right, all of Mt. Wolf, board one of two buses destined for Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 7, 2011, in the Northeastern High School parking lot. Brenner was one of about 40 volunteers and Aughenbaugh was one of 57 York-area World War II veterans to visit the U.S. National World War II Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery free of charge as part of an "Honor Bus" trip organized by 12 Northeastern High School juniors.

It was a long trip and a good day.

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The York Expo Center was converted into one big used-car lot this weekend.

By “used cars,” of course, I mean street rods.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Ozzie Payne, of Pontaic, Mich., fills out his personal and vehicle information on the safety inspection form for his 1935 Chevrolet Master 51 Coup on Saturday, June 4, 2011, at the York Expo Center. The 38th annual Street Rod Nationals East Plus show, hosted by the National Street Rod Association, has taken over the entirety of the York Expo Center grounds June 3-5, 2011. About 3,500 cars were registered to display, and all were originally made before 1981.

I had two challenges going into this assignment (besides my not applying sunscreen). First, my editor asked me to turn in at least eight themed photos from the street rods that would be an easy visual in print and easily click-through-able in a slideshow on-line. I thought about focusing on grills or fenders, but quickly realized that these street rodders keep their cars way too polished (reflective).

So, I focused on dashboards. Even some of those were too reflective, but the cool part is, I can now say I’ve been behind the wheel of 11 cars whose individual values exceed at least three years of my annual salary.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. (Click on the image above to view more dashboards.) The dashboard of Dan Watson's 1938 Dodge Sedan. Watson is from Shiloh, Pa.

The second challenge was finding something to cover. As I wrote in my first graf, the show was basically one big used-car lot, with the street rodders hanging out in lawn chairs next to their cars as attendees strolled and looked around. Not a lot of action.

Fortunately, I found some action: Vehicle safety inspections.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. New York state safety inspector Bob Warner and Florida state safety inspector Rick Leary check over the 1932 Ford Coupe of Don and Linda Elliott, of Chalfont in Bucks County, Pa. About a dozen volunteer members of various states' National Street Rod Association Vehicle Safety Inspection crews performed 23-point inspections for the street rods. The service was free of charge at the show, and strictly voluntary for the drivers.

Bam. Done.

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Oct. 15, 2009: I came home to find my roommates Shelby, left, and Chelsea dancing the Thriller. Typical.

Shelby, my college dormmate of one year and roommate of two years, passed away on Saturday.

Shelby was the quiet type who, when you walked to class with her and another friend, was the one who listened. You wouldn’t get to know her very well unless you happened to spend a lot of time with her. If you did know her fairly well, you’d know that she was a natural writer and editor, had a huge soft spot for babies and weirdly cute animals and had lofty expectations of the man she’d one day marry. But even if you barely knew her, you’d know that she cheered for the Ravens, was a Pepsi-loving vegetarian and was one of the nicest people you’d ever meet.

Together, we walked to and suffered through journalism classes, celebrated our 21st (and 22nd) birthdays in style and watched the Kentucky Derby three years in a row. We experienced not-unusual roommate tension, but we nevertheless bonded as we despaired over frustrating assignments, screamed at our football team when it lost and stayed up late watching bad television.

Our paths drifted after I graduated in May 2010 and as Shelby completed her degree in the following fall semester. But we met again in Columbia over lunch, and then at karaoke night at a favorite watering hole, when I visited town during that fall semester. On her birthday last month, I promised her and myself that once I was more settled in my new full-time job in York, we’d meet again over lunch. This lunch meeting would have happened this week or next.

Instead, earlier today, I attended Shelby’s service outside of Baltimore. For the first time in almost a week, I now have a sense of closure, and I can only hope the same of Shelby’s family and other friends.

From the program.

Rest in peace, Shelby. We miss you so much.

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