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Archive for the ‘The York Dispatch’ Category

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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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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I shot the District 3-AAAA girls basketball title game last night in Hershey. It was the lowest-scoring game I’ve ever shot, but it was also the best game I’ve shot since I acquired this full-frame. So I’m happy.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Red Lion's Gisselle Truiett gets a mouthful of the basketball as Wilson's Ivory Bailey fouls her in the third period of the District 3-AAAA title game on Friday, March 4, 2011, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

And so are the Red Lion girls, who defeated Wilson 39-20 and won the District 3-AAAA title…

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Red Lion's girls varsity basketball head coach Don Dimoff joins the team and cheerleaders in a cheer and dance on the court after defeating Wilson 39-20 for the District 3-AAAA championship on Friday, March 4, 2011, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

…despite there being quite a few weird moments, as well as fouls, in the game.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Wilson's Carley Brew fouls Red Lion's Shanley Harlacker in the second period of the District 3-AAAA title game on Friday, March 4, 2011, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

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Last night in Hershey, I photographed victory

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York Catholic's Morgan Klunk, Patrica McGann and Giana Lupinetti clap as their head coach Kevin Bankos awards them their District 3-AA title medals on Thursday, March 3, 2011, at the Giant Center in Hershey. Thursday's 61-45 victory over Delone Catholic marks the York Catholic girls' sixth consecutive district title.

…and defeat.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Eastern York boys basketball players stand wearing or holding their second-place medals as the Lancaster Catholic team receives its District 3-AAA title medals on Thursday, March 3, 2011.

As well as some game action:

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Eastern York's Andrew Nicholas catches the ball against Lancaster Catholic in the District 3-AAA boys championship on Thursday, March 3, 2011, at the Giant Center in Hershey.

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On Tuesday, I climbed 115 steps (not including 14 landings) to reach the belltower of Christ Lutheran Church in downtown York. Twice.

The first time, church secretary Tracey led me up there so I could make pictures and do some video. You see, for the first time since 1884, the church’s main bell — the one that dates to 1800 and that strikes hourly — is silent due to repair work.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Chuck Roeser, a tower clock renovation specialist from Lockport, N.Y., is one of two clockmakers commissioned by Christ Lutheran Church to renovate its bell system. Roeser, a tower clock restoration specialist from Lockport, N.Y., and Bob Desrochers, a clockmaker from Lancaster County, have been hired by the church to renovate the clock and bell system. The larger bell, which dates back to 1800, is having its striker replaced to improve the sound of its ring. After the bell and various gears and cables are renovated, the clock will undergo renovations.

But when Tracey and I arrived, the workers were gone. There was no note nor any indication of when the workers would be back.

So, figuring the workers would return soon, I hung out in the top level of the belltower (not including the crawlspace right below the cupola, which is accessible by an upright ladder) for a bit. It was a little strange. Normally, when you’re high up in a building, you’re in an insulated, soundproof area. But in the belltower, you’re still exposed to the cold air, you can hear the street traffic below and yet you’re apart from it all.

That top level happens to be where the four clock faces are, as well as all the gears and rods and cables needed to synchronize the clock and the bell. There’s also a lot of dust and graffiti.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch.

Tracey brought the pastor up to talk to me, and I interviewed him as we were surrounded by the four clock faces. Shortly thereafter, when it was apparent the workers weren’t coming back too soon, I descended the belltower and returned the office. On my way down, I counted the steps and made more pictures.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch.

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Besides Apple’s iPad 2 announcement, today’s big news was that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of protesters’ rights at military funerals.

I didn’t know it until today, but the grieving father who sued Westboro Baptist Church for protesting his Marine son’s funeral and criticizing him on its website is from the York area. He and his lawyers held a presser in downtown York that was attended by more media than I’ve ever before seen in the area.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Flanked by counsels Craig Trebilcock and Sean Summers, Albert Snyder of Spring Garden Township approaches a press conference on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the York County Administrative Center to address the U.S. Supreme Court's 8-1 decision in favor of Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest military funerals.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Albert Snyder, of Spring Garden Township, addresses the press at a conference on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, at the York County Administrative Center to address the U.S. Supreme Court's 8-1 decision in favor of Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest military funerals. Snyder said, "It's been a long five years, and I'm ready to put this behind me and move on."

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© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Shirley Ausherman of Windsor Township scans used books before placing them on the correct shelves in the correct rooms at the Book Nook in Windsor borough on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. The Friends of Kaltreider/Benfer Library sponsored a sale at the Book Nook at 144 West Main Street in Windsor borough. Open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, the sale featured used books at one dollar for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. The Friends of Kaltreider/Benfer Library already donated $7,000 to the library, and hoped to recuperate that cost via this book sale.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Valley View at Yorkshire secretary Peggy Dunty ("Little Cat in the Hat") pokes reading specialist Amy Hare ("Cat in the Hat") on the nose as they and other Valley View teachers read Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" to students in an all-school assembly to kick off B.E.A.R. ("Be Excited About Reading") Week on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Monday kicked off B.E.A.R. Week, in conjunction with Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America Day, at Valley View at Yorkshire.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Ray Bradley, of York City, sits with his dirty vodka martini at the bar in The Roosevelt Tavern during happy hour on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. A proposed law would ease up on when and for how long restaurants and bars can have happy hour. Under current law, establishments can hold happy hour for 14 hours per week and two hours per day. The proposed law would keep the 14-hour-per-week cap but allow establishments to choose how to divide those hours among days of the week.

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I’m not shy about admitting I know nothing about Harry Potter. I was a firm Lord of the Rings fan when the Harry Potter franchise started to take over the world, and as a matter of principle (and adolescent tenacity), I neither read nor watched anything related to Harry Potter.

So I was at a distinct disadvantage when my editor assigned me to photograph the first-ever Central Pennsylvania Open Quidditch Tournament on Sunday.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Ursuline School senior Sean Watson, of New Rochelle, N.Y., scores against Trinity High School in the Central Pennsylvania Open Quidditch Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, at Roof Park in New Cumberland. Ursuline was the only out-of-state team in central Pennsylvania's first-ever Quidditch tournament, and was also the tournament winner.

Going into the tournament — right after covering Daren Hidalgo’s memorial service (talk about a messed-up emotional state) — I knew only a few things about Quidditch:

  1. It involves balls.
  2. It involves goals.
  3. It involves flying.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Spare brooms lie on the ground during downtime in the first-ever Central Pennsylvania Open Quidditch Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, at Roof Park in New Cumberland. While a broom is necessary in playing Quidditch in Harry Potter's universe, the brooms for Muggles (non-witches) are of little functional use, except when the human Snitch is defending himself.

Since Muggles cannot fly, these high school and college students instead ran. And tackled. It was basically a combination of rugby, dodgeball, basketball, tag and soccer. There was a thick International Quidditch Association handbook available, but the game still made no sense — but it was fun.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Ursuline School senior Amanda Ungco passes the quaffle against Trinity High School in the Central Pennsylvania Open Quidditch Tournament on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, at Roof Park in New Cumberland.

(more…)

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Last week, Daren Hidalgo was killed in Afghanistan. Today, his friends and the Dallastown community gathered to honor his memory.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. A memorial service was held Sunday, Feb. 27, at Dallastown Area High School to honor Army First Lt. Daren Hidalgo, who graduated from the school in 2005 and was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sunday, Feb. 20.

Photographing this service was difficult for several reasons. First, I felt like a jerk walking around with a camera while people were grieving, so I did my best to exercise the utmost discretion. Second, I initially didn’t know if his family would be attending (they weren’t — they’re in Wisconsin). Third, I didn’t know who among the hundreds of attendees were the ones who knew him best and were most affected by his death… but was able to find out.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. A memorial service was held Sunday, Feb. 27, at Dallastown Area High School to honor Army First Lt. Daren Hidalgo, who graduated from the school in 2005 and was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sunday, Feb. 20.

After making the above picture, introducing myself to Phil and almost crying myself because of his immense grief, I then felt even more like a jerk, making camera clicks during the memorial service.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Levi Mattas of Lewisberry and Phil Bayliss of Philadelphia smile as Ali Merrifield of York Township recalls fond memories of their classmate and friend Daren Hidalgo, during a memorial service for Hidalgo at Dallastown Area High School on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. The three friends were among several speakers at the service who gave witness to Hidalgo's life. Members of Hidalgo's family, who now live in Wisconsin, were not present and will hold their own service on Wednesday, March 2.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Members of the Dallastown Area High School Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps unfold the American flag in preparation for the playing of taps at the end of a memorial service held for Dallastown alumnus and Army First Lt. Daren Hidalgo on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.

But it was really wonderful, seeing veterans, members of the Dallastown community and Daren’s old high school friends gather to honor his memory.

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For the second time in a week, I was assigned to photograph something pertaining to mechanized LEGOs. Not that I’m complaining. Anybody who knows me pretty well can tell you I love LEGOs. In fact, I’m fairly certain that for a while, my younger brother and I were at peace only when we were playing with LEGOs together.

That said, I was never “into” the mechanized or robotic LEGOs — but these kids sure are. Serious props to them.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Melissa Cook, of Spring Garden Township, makes a few suggestions to her daughter Lucy, 12, as Lucy; Isaiah Marsteller, 10 of Stewartstown; Andrew Strayer, 11 of Springettsbury Township; and two other York County 4-H youth practice on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, for the Maryland FIRST LEGO League Championship. The competition -- which will feature 64 teams from Maryland, Pennsylvania and other nearby states -- required teams to research a biomedical topic and to design a LEGO robot that can perform basic biomedical tasks, such as dropping a LEGO cast onto a "broken" LEGO bone.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Lucy Cook, 12 of Spring Garden Township, modifies a program that she will download onto her team's LEGO robot and that will control its movements and allow it to perform tasks, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. Each of the 64 teams competing in the upcoming Maryland FIRST LEGO League Championship in Baltimore had to design a unique robot that would be able to accomplish the tasks, or "missions," set forth by the competition rules. Each team is given 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get its robot to perform as many missions as possible, for points.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. (Left to right) As Isaiah Marsteller, 10 of Stewartstown, gives in to distraction, Andrew Strayer, 11 of Springettsbury Township; Lucy Cook, 12 of Spring Garden Township; and Kirstin Fink, 13 of West Manchester Township, plot their next course of action to program their LEGO robot at the York County 4-H Center on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. Thursday was their last practice session to nail down at least 4 of 11 possible tasks, or "missions," for their LEGO robot to perform.

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Yesterday, I went to City Hall to photograph a few Crispus Attucks Youthbuild Charter School students see their artwork on display there. They’d taken only two classes so far, and completed charcoal portraits of famous black Americans in history.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Crispus Attucks Youthbuild Charter School senior Isiah Jones, of York City, gazes at the charcoal portrait of York City mayor Kim Bracey that he drew, in City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Jones and several other students participated in two classes hosted by the York Art Association to learn about portraiture and draw portraits of famous blacks in American history. Jones said he had never done art before but was pleased with his portrait of the mayor, which won second place in a York Daily Record poll.

One student — Isiah Jones — chose to depict York City’s own mayor Kim Bracey.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Crispus Attucks Youthbuild Charter School senior Isiah Jones' second-place charcoal portrait of York City mayor Kim Bracey is on display in City Hall, among other portraits of famous black Americans in history.

And watching him see his art again — and getting recognized for it — was incredible. I’ve encountered so many students, here and elsewhere, who have been blasé, indifferent or even flippant about their own artwork and talent. But Isiah, who said this was his first foray into art, was proud of what he’d accomplished — and yet humble, too.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Crispus Attucks Youthbuild Charter School senior Isiah Jones relishes the moment after hearing his portrait won second place in a York Daily Record poll, in City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.

That was really neat to see.

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Last night, I shot my first doubleheader. It was also the first time I’d shot college basketball in about a year, and — despite the facts that this is not Division I basketball and that I’ve covered a lot of high school basketball — I felt out of practice.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College's Aja Wallpher tries to work around St. Mary's Jasmine Jones' and Taylor Petrisko's defense in the second half of the first game in the Capital Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at York College on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. York College defeated St. Mary's 74-61 and will continue to the tournament's second-round game against Marymount on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Also: I haven’t really had a problem with referees getting in my way at high school games, but that was definitely an issue with both games I shot last night, no matter where I moved or sat.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College's Julian Watson drives the ball against Salisbury's Justin Taylor during the first-round game of the Capital Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at York College on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. After tying 2-2 early in the first half, York College never gained the lead over Salisbury and lost 77-64.

Then again, my custom for high school games was to sit right under and behind the basket — where refs never go — whereas for these games, I made a point not to do so, to alleviate my backfocusing issues. As it turned out, backfocusing wasn’t such a big problem last night, but I know I missed a lot of great shots and great emotions because of the refs.

Long story short? I can’t win.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College's Jaimie Sapp shoots against St. Mary's in the first half of the first game in the Capital Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at York College on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.

But dammit, I’ll keep working and trying.

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A young man — one year older than I — was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Nicholas Horrocks, a Dallastown Area High School senior and cadet gunnery sergeant in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, stands as part of an honor guard in Army First Lt. and Dallastown alumnus Daren Hidalgo's memory in the school lobby on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Hidalgo, who graduated from Dallastown in 2005, was killed Sunday in Afghanistan while in combat operations. Members of the Dallastown JROTC will rotate shifts in the honor guard next to a projected portrait of Hidalgo throughout the rest of the day.

Although Daren Hidalgo graduated from Dallastown before the school began its JROTC program, five JROTC officers are standing on honor guard duty for him today.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. (Left to right) Dallastown JROTC Sgt. Major Dakota Richardson, Cadet Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Horrocks and Cadet First Sgt. Colt Eppley -- all Dallastown Area High School seniors -- stand in the school lobby waiting to relieve Cadet Captains Miriah Miller and Kareen Plaza in an honor guard in Army First Lt. Daren Hidalgo's memory on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Kareen Plaza, a Dallastown Area High School senior and cadet captain in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, stands as part of an honor guard in Army First Lt. and Dallastown alumnus Daren Hidalgo's memory in the school lobby on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.

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For the first time in my life, I wiped out on the ice last Thursday. Minus a buzzing headache, an aching elbow and a sore back, I brushed it aside. Then my 16-35/2.8 lens — which had been attached to my camera and had remained in my bag during my fall — came off my camera only after a struggle.

The lens is at Canon now and should be repaired soon. In the meantime, because I no longer have a wide lens for my own camera, I’m using the intern kit’s D2H with the 17-35/2.8.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Marc Johnson, 9 of Penn Township, Lancaster County, reaches across the table to help his cousin Brady Pratte, 7 of Springettsbury Township, construct a motorized LEGO race car on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at the York Jewish Community Center. Kids of all ages could register to build motorized LEGO race cars out of custom kits on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at the York Jewish Community Center. The sessions were sponsored by All About Learning, an organization that encourages kids to learn about math and science via hands-on interaction.

…And using a cropped sensor again for the first time in months is reminding me why I went full-frame.

Full-frame is just… nice.

Anyway, having realized that I should have a backup lens in the event of my very important wide-angle zoom going out, I’ve ordered a wide prime that should arrive on Thursday. In the meantime, I’m shooting midrange and telephoto on my own camera.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Taylor Pratte, 9 of Springettsbury Township, tests out her completed motorized LEGO race car in a hallway at the York Jewish Community Center on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011. The race cars were one of several motorized LEGO vehicles the kids could construct from custom kits.

Which means I’m shooting with both Nikon and Canon — at least until Thursday — for the first time since Dec. 2009, when I shot the Texas Bowl game. Which is always an interesting experience.

I guess I can’t complain about being kept on my toes.

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Here’re a few photos from the past several weeks that I never blogged. I think every now and again, I’ll just post “Vignettes” entries that include single photos whose captions and content need no further commentary from me.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Kerry and Juanita Kirkland are opening a new restaurant, Tanzania Seafood & Jazz, on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. The restaurant, located at 29 East Princess Street, will be open 5-11 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College junior Kate Estes removes old tags from donated dresses in the Junior League of York office on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. York College's Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and the Junior League of York are teaming up for their annual spring dress sale at the former DEB store in West Manchester Mall. The sale opened last weekend and will be open again 4-8 p.m. on Feb. 18 and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Feb. 19. Most dresses will be under $50, and customers who bring student IDs will receive a 15 percent discount. Members of the public can donate their lightly used formal wear, accessories, shoes and gowns whenever the sale is open; donations are tax-deductible.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. With the help of a volunteer chorus line, James Young, a Frank Sinatra impersonator from Lancaster City, sings "New York, New York" at a "Sweet Evening" event hosted by Colonial Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for its residents and their families on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. The event also featured finger-food items and a chocolate fountain.

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As an avid fan of jumping photos, I’m excited that I’ve now taken yet another one… for a York Dispatch assignment… and it ran on today’s front page.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Penn State York sophomores Angi Solle and Sam Noerpel are excited to be the campus's two designated dancers for the 39th annual Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which will require them to stay up for 46 hours on Feb. 18-20 in the Bryce Jordan Center without sleeping, sitting or imbibing caffeine. THON is a year-round fundraiser that benefits The Four Diamonds Fund, Conquering Childhood Cancer for the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital.

The idea behind this assignment was to show the excitement and spirit these two students have. (If they weren’t excited and spirited, they wouldn’t have been chosen to be Penn State York’s THON dancers.) What better way to show that than by jumping?

Angi and Sam were jumping-photo novices, but this photo took only a few tries. I asked them to wave their arms, bend their knees and go for height and not distance — and I’d take care of the rest. I even asked them to recall to mind the cover of “High School Musical,” to help them visualize what I needed them to do.

Sometimes, I really love being a newspaper photographer.

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Last week, I went to Dallastown Area Intermediate School, where one rotating unit of the gym class features Wii games and HOPSports videos.

As a survivor of gym classes where I endured playing endless volleyball drills, running countless laps and embarrassing myself in tennis and badminton, I can now appreciate my coaches’ efforts to introduce us to various sports and means of athleticism. I can also see the appeal of bringing wired technology into gym class — especially if it helps kids like Quinten.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Dallastown Area Intermediate fourth grade student Quinten Redelberger, of Dallastown, plays Wii bowling against fifth grade students Austin Wildasin of York Township and Mia Rexroth of Red Lion at school on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. The school received funding via a state grant to install Wii and other interactive fitness technologies for use during students' physical education classes. Redelberger, who has scoliosis, said he feels motivated to exercise using the Wii program because it helps him forget his pain.

Please be sure to check out the video I shot and edited, too, as it features an interview with and more information from one of the coaches.

(And special, special thanks to Jeff for buying me Final Cut Express. After using another video-editing program, using FCE for this project was a godsend.)

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