PennDOT hosts York job fair, others in the region to follow

If you’re a job seeker with a commercial driver’s license, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is hosting a recruitment event Aug. 8 from noon to 6 p.m. at the York County Maintenance Office, 1920 Susquehanna Trail North, York.

PennDOT is looking to fill posts for winter temporary and permanent CDL operator (starting pay $20.49 an hour) and diesel and construction equipment mechanic (starting pay $25.28 an hour) in York County.

This will be the second of eight job fairs to be held this summer in PennDOT’s District 8 south central region.

Staff will be available to discuss current and future openings for CDL operators, who must have a valid Pennsylvania CDL Class A or B with no restrictions, and diesel and construction equipment mechanics, who must have a valid CDL and a PA Class 7 inspector mechanic certification. Both positions also require a current medical examiner certificate.

On-the-spot applications, interviews and driving skills testing will take place. Applicants should bring their current CDL license and medical examiner’s card.

If needed, there will be help to navigate the new electronic application system, and human resources representatives will be on hand to discuss benefit options and opportunities for permanent employment.

For more information, call 717-848-6230.

Other upcoming PennDOT job fairs in the region are:

· Dauphin County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 17 at the Dauphin County Maintenance Office, 2140 Herr St., Harrisburg. For more information, call 717-787-5391.

· Lebanon County, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Lebanon County Maintenance Office, 1445 Cumberland St., Lebanon. For more information, call 717-450-2223.

· Perry County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Perry County Maintenance Office, 413 W. Main St., New Bloomfield.

· Lancaster County, noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Lancaster County Maintenance Office, 2105 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster. For more information, call 717-299-7621.

· Cumberland County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Cumberland County Maintenance Office, 40 Army Heritage Drive, Carlisle.

· Adams County, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Adams County Maintenance Office, 1185 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg. For more information, call 717-450-2223.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

As PennDOT preps winter, COVID becomes part of the snowplow calculation

Snow already has started falling in parts of Pennsylvania, and the state Department of Transportation has been preparing for whatever lies ahead this winter.

PennDOT says it is taking precautions with the coronavirus pandemic, but it could have an impact on storm-fighting efforts this winter. It could mean less service on some roads.

The department has published its annual winter services guide, which details its budgets and resources for tackling storms as well as winter driving tips for motorists.

Statewide, PennDOT has budgeted $223 million for this winter.

District 8 covers eight counties, including Adams, Franklin, Lebanon and York. The region averages 23 inches of snow.

What is the budget for this winter?

PennDOT has budgeted $22.7 million for District 8 this winter.

The amount is based on a five-year average. Last year, the department spent $13.1 million, which was less than budgeted because it was a mild winter, spokesman Dave Thompson said.

PennDOT also had leftover salt, salt brine and anti-skid at the end of last winter.

“Between material left over from last winter and new shipments this year, we currently are at 100 percent capacity at our stockpiles,” Thompson wrote.

How will COVID-19 impact plowing?

PennDOT is reminding employees to follow safety protocols, such as social distancing, wearing masks, and staying home if they are sick, said Christa Newmaster, maintenance services executive for District 8.

Crews are cleaning equipment, tools and touch points at the county stockpiles.

The department hopes these measures will minimize any major impacts to staffing, Thompson said.

“If there are impacts due to the pandemic, we have contingency plans in place for covering our snow routes, which may result in a lower level of service on our lower volume routes,” he wrote.

Those would involve the four-digit routes.

Heavily-traveled highways, such as interstates 81 and 83, and other roads, such as Route 30, are a top priority for plowing and treating the pavement.

For example, a plow route on a highway is expected to be completed in two hours during a low-accumulation storm, according to PennDOT’s winter services guide. It’s three hours for other major routes and several hours for secondary state routes.

How much snow will Pa. get?

A warmer than normal winter is expected, although it likely will not be as extreme as the last one, said Dave Samuhel, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com. Harrisburg recorded 5 inches of snow in 2019-2020.

Only about half to 75 percent of the normal snowfall is predicted this winter, Samuhel said. The region averages 23 inches of snow, according to PennDOT.

La Niña, the cooling of the Pacific Ocean waters near the equator, is the big driver this winter, Samuhel said. That means warmer temperatures and less snow for the mid-Atlantic region.

Residents will likely see huge temperature swings from warm to cold, he said.

Precipitation — rain and melted snow — is expected to be close to normal.

The threat for a big snowstorm is low, Samuhel said. Meteorologists expect fast-moving storms that drop small amounts of snow.

Winter prep by the numbers

Here’s a look at the counties and the resources:

Adams County

  • Budget: $2 million
  • Average inches of snow: 23
  • Snow lane miles: 1,222
  • Operators: 50
  • Temporary operators: About 20
  • Mechanics: 4
  • Plow trucks: 32
  • Anti-icing trucks: 2
  • Loaders: 8
  • Graders: 1
  • Stockpiles: 7

Franklin County

  • Budget: $2.3 million
  • Average inches of snow: 29
  • Snow lane miles: 1,394
  • Operators: 58
  • Temporary operators: About 12
  • Mechanics: 4
  • Plow trucks: 35
  • Anti-icing trucks: 2
  • Loaders: 9
  • Graders: 2
  • Stockpiles: 9

Lebanon County

  • Budget: $1.8 million
  • Average inches of snow: 19
  • Snow lane miles: 902
  • Operators: 37
  • Temporary operators: About 16
  • Mechanics: 4
  • Plow trucks: 25
  • Anti-icing trucks: 2
  • Loaders: 8
  • Graders: 2
  • Stockpiles: 6

York County

  • Budget: $4.6 million
  • Average inches of snow: 19
  • Snow lane miles: 2,686
  • Operators: 104
  • Temporary operators: About 28
  • Mechanics: 8
  • Plow trucks: 55
  • Anti-icing trucks: 6
  • Loaders: 14
  • Graders: 2
  • Stockpiles: 9

What to wear: Layer-by-layer, your guide to keeping the kids warm this winter

The Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will have “snowier-than-normal” conditions.

Perhaps not as intense as the “Polar Vortex” of some winters in recent memory, but it’s still a threat we’re taking seriously, and one that’s making kids downright giddy.

But before they run outdoors in jeans and a merely water ‘resistant’ jacket, let’s look at the appropriate way to dress for winter weather.

It all boils down to staying dry.


Base layer

  • This layer should wick moisture away from the body. Skip the cotton; when this fabric becomes wet, it can feel soggy and heavy.
  • Thermal long underwear or performance wear made of wool or synthetic polyester is a better bet. Think of materials that are typically found in athletic clothes (like Under Armour, Nike Dri-Fit, and Target’s C9-type products).
  • For the feet, again, avoid cotton; instead thick, wooly socks work wonders at keeping toes warm and dry.

Middle layer

  • The middle layer functions to insulate. It should fit close to the body, but be loose enough that it can be easily moved in during activities outside.
  • Ideally it can consist of clothing made of wool, synthetic polyester or fleece.
  • A long-sleeved shirt and a wool sweater.
  • A pair of leggings.

Outer layer

  • Waterproof coat to stay dry during the snow and sleet typical to winter.
  • Waterproof snow or ski pants if playing in the snow; heavy pants (not jeans) if hiking or playing outside in the cold.
  • Mittens keep fingers warmer than most gloves; waterproof, insulated mittens are best.
  • Boots should be waterproof, insulated, high enough to keep snow out, and have ample room. Choose one size above what your child typically wears so they’ll fit comfortably over those thick wool socks. Cramped feet also make the socks’ insulating efforts less effective.
  • Choose hats for comfort and function, and make sure they cover their ears.

Winter coat shopping tips:

So you’ve done an inventory of your closets and you don’t have the proper gear?

You’re in luck. We may be at the start of our snow season, but department stores are putting their winter gear on clearance to make room for springtime jackets.

When shopping for snow coats, it is important to distinguish waterproof from water-resistant. The former has a waterproof coating and fully taped seams to keep the wearer as dry as possible in really wet conditions—like rain or heavy snow. Water-resistant coats have a special coating that repels water; they can handle minimal rain. For days on the ski slopes or spent sledding, waterproof coats are ideal.

Kids typically outgrow coats quickly. Several companies, including Columbia and Land’s End, have created styles that have extendable sleeves so the coats can grow with the child. Additionally, many coat manufacturers have coat models that have removable layers: with the help from a few zippers and snaps, your child can have a lighter weight water-proof coat, or a wool jacket appropriate for a variety of weather conditions.


Lindsay Garbacik is a senior at Cedar Cliff High School and an editorial intern at Central Penn Parent.

Plan for safe sledding this winter

This is the time of year when we look over the kids’ winter clothes to see who needs a new coat, snow pants or boots. We’re busy stocking up on gloves, hats and scarves because we’ve been anticipating the arrival of snow. (The Farmers’ Almanac did warn of exceptionally cold, snowy weather in Central Pennsylvania, but so far…)

With the snow comes the best of what winter has to offer. Building snowmen, having snowball fights, making snow angels and hot chocolate are just some of the high points.

As a child, sledding was always a highlight of winter. Now that I am a mom, I want to share this tradition with my boys.

Sledding is something that can be enjoyed by the whole family and will undoubtedly create great memories for us all. Of course, the worrier in me knows that there are some risks involved in sledding. It can cause injuries, some of which can be pretty serious and irreversible.

Bundle up. “Manage risks before you even go to the hill,” said Mike Schuman, Director of Safety and Risk Management for Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, which offers tubing in the winter months. This means being dressed properly. Warm clothes are essential, as is proper footwear. Remember, you’ll be on slippery surfaces, so prepare! A lot of accidents can happen from slips and falls.

I am always sure to dress my family in winter clothing that is waterproof and warm. We change into something dry if anything gets wet. This will prevent frostbite and hypothermia. (Keep in mind that children cool faster than adults!)

Be mindful. Many unnecessary accidents can also be prevented with age-appropriate adult supervision. Adults need to consider the ages of those sledding when choosing the hill and sledding equipment. “Research shows that 20,000 Emergency Room visits per year are a result of sledding,” said Helen Lehman, coordinator of Safe Kids York County.

We have had our fair share of emergency room visits, so in order to try to avoid one this winter, I will be sure to follow general sledding safety rules, such as having my young children (5 and under): Sled with an adult; always sit facing forward on the sled; be sure the hill is clear of the previous sledder before taking off down the hill; and keep arms and legs within the sled at all times (to prevent broken bones). I also plan on following these tips from Safe Kids:

Avoid wearing scarfs since they can get caught in the sled and pose a risk of strangulation.

Wear a helmet designed for winter sports. If you don’t have a winter sport helmet, at least wear the helmet that you use for biking or skateboarding. (This is really important since the most common sledding injury is head trauma.)

  • Look for a sled that can steer and has brakes. (That means avoid using saucers, lunch trays or cardboard boxes as sleds.)
  •  Select a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom for gliding to a stop.
  •  Also be sure to pick a hill that doesn’t end near a street, a parking lot, a pond, trees, fences or other hazards.
  • Choose a hill that is snowy rather than icy.

Safe Kids also suggests going down the hill one at a time, walking up the side of the hill to leave the middle for other sledders and rolling off of a sled if you are on one that cannot stop.

I’ll be honest. Hearing that it is suggested that children wear helmets while sledding had me a bit skeptical. I mean, we didn’t wear helmets to sled when we were young. But we didn’t wear helmets while riding a bike either, and that is now standard.

With time comes knowledge and new equipment. Helmets are not an inconvenience and can be comfortable and warm, so why not protect yourself and your kids? Look around at the environment you are sledding in and always err on the side of safety!

Before we get a decent snowfall this winter and you head out to the hill to go sledding, please take time to think about these tips. Talk about them with your family. Stay safe, stay warm and have fun!
Megan Shaffer is a freelance writer and mother of three from Lebanon.


January events at Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story Museum

For the month of January only, The Hershey Story Museum’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

January Events at HERSHEY GARDENS
Reduced winter pricing from January 1 to March 31, 2017
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy Hershey Gardens and the new year-round indoor tropical Butterfly Atrium at a reduced winter rate.
Regular (ages 13-61) – $10
Senior (ages 62 +) – $9
Junior (ages 3-12) – $8


Saturdays and Sundays in January/February
Become an Official Hershey Gardens Bugologist
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Meet some amazing giant bugs, learn where they’re from and what makes them unique. Then touch – – or even hold – – them and receive an official certification as a Hershey Gardens Bugologist! Included with admission.


Winter Walks: “The Wonders of Winter”
Guests can enjoy the quiet, reflective side of Hershey Gardens during scheduled winter walks, with or without a tour guide. Participants will experience the bare bones of the Gardens and learn about colorful berry producing plants, textured bark, the design of evergreens and majestic redwoods. Included with admission. Please visit HersheyGardens.org for Winter Walk schedule.

Guided Winter Walk Tours at Hershey Gardens are held on Thursdays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. (Subject to cancellation because of inclement of weather.)

New winter programs at Gettysburg National Military Park include Reading Adventures for families


Photo: National Park Service

Winter is a great time to visit and explore Gettysburg National Military Park. On January 7,  the park’s new winter programs begin. This year Gettysburg National Military Park is offering lectures, a book series, farm programs, and a new reading adventures program for children ages 5 to 10 and their families. These free programs run January through early April at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

Winter Reading Adventures
January 7  through March 11, 2017
Saturday, 11 a.m.

Each Saturday morning, a park educator will read aloud a picture book, or parts of a chapter book, followed by an indoor game, activity, or visitor from the past… and then instructions for an outdoor winter adventure for participating families.

Winter Lecture Series
January 7 through March 12, 2017
Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m.
Featuring some of the best National Park Service historians from across the region, the 11-week Winter Lecture Series of hour-long talks will examine some of the more controversial and complex aspects of the American Civil War. From Emancipation to the legacy of George McClellan, the Lincoln Assassination to the battle of Gettysburg, the history of the American Civil War is fraught with myths, misconceptions, and controversies. The Winter Lecture Series is held in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center from January 7 through March 12, 2017.

Battlefield Book Series
January 7 to March 11, 2017
Saturday, 11 a.m.-noon
The Gettysburg Battlefield Book Series will examine significant works of history and literature on topics related to the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. Gettysburg National Military Park invites you to read along over the course of the winter before attending the informal one hour discussions in the Ford Education Center of the park Museum and Visitor Center. Park staff will lead the meetings, providing a brief overview of that week’s topic and discuss the chapters read.

Farms of Gettysburg
March 12 to April 2
Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m.

Join a Park Ranger in the museum’s Ford Education Center and discover the fascinating stories of the historic farms that still stand on the battlefield, and the people who once called Gettysburg home. These forty-five minute lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, and a full listing of all winter programs and events, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/gett or call 717-338-4468.

Snow, sledding and snowmen, Texan style: Southern Yankee

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, the A/C was running because we lived in the South.

That’s right, winter season in Central Pennsylvania as a Southern Yankee is a magical time. Born and raised in Texas, I have an overwhelming fascination with snow.

A Texas Christmas/winter usually means brown grass and cold winds. (Unless you live in the Panhandle; then you can get some good snow accumulation, but that’s another story.) When Texas has a “snowstorm”—what my Yankee friends call a “dusting” of snow—everything comes to a grinding halt: schools shut down, appointments are cancelled and the local grocer sells out of milk and bread.

I can still recall my first Christmas in Pennsylvania, the beautiful evergreens and the wonderful sparkling snowflakes. Yes, I am that person you see taking pictures in the snow!

But there are a few snow how-tos I had to learn quickly.

First, I wanted to master the skill of building the perfect snowman, which looked easy enough.

Looks, as the saying goes, are deceiving.

No one told me I had to build a snowman with the “right kind of snow”. I thought the right kind was “Christmas snow,” just like Frosty said. Boy, was I wrong. My first snowman looked more like Jabba the Hutt than Frosty.

The second snow skill is the art of sledding.

My first sledding experience was me dressed in jeans, t-shirt, jean jacket and cotton mittens. You see, during a Texas “Snowmagedon” (two inches or less), we wear fashionable-not-practical winter attire.

That doesn’t work in Pennsylvania.

I realize now that there is actual “snow gear” that includes waterproof clothing. Having that knowledge would have made my first time sledding much more enjoyable.

Another thing I didn’t realize about sledding is that steering a sled is quite difficult. And just a word of advice for other first-timers: Don’t choose the huge hill that will lead to the farmer’s corn field; those stalks look pliable, but they are not.

I also chose the largest hill so I could sled the fastest and longest route possible. It was only until reaching the bottom that I was confronted with the merciless law that cannot be overruled by any Texas Ranger: What goes downhill doesn’t necessarily go up–or, at least not without great effort.

But hiking back up to sled again was so worth it!

Before I moved to Pennsylvania, the only blizzards I’d experienced in Texas were at Dairy Queen. Now, I love the snow! I’m so glad I can experience winter again each season and have my Dairy Queen too!


My first snow (approximately 1987) taken at our Texas home. Me to the left and my brother at the right.  See what I mean about clothing? Who wears a dress and makes a snowman? By the way, that snowman was made by my brother and I gathering all the snow available in our yard that is full of brown grass. It only lasted a few hours.



Laura Page is a self-proclaimed “Southern Yankee” and invites readers to experience the lifestyles, culture, places and happenings within Central Pennsylvania through the eyes of a Texas girl. Email Laura at [email protected]m

9 reasons kids should learn to ice skate

My kids ice skate. A lot. Even my middle child, who doesn’t ice skate, still manages to ice skate. I don’t know how that works out, but it’s true.

When I was growing up, I skated every once in a while, mostly on the few days when my parents were certain the ice over the pond wasn’t going to give way and send me into an icy fish bath.

Central Pennsylvania is chock full of ponds and lakes that freeze over in the winter. But we’re also home to eight ice rinks, some with multiple sheets of ice. If you count skating rinks in Sunbury and State College, that makes 10 indoor ice surfaces. Eleven, 12, 13 and beyond if you trek just across the Maryland border or head toward Philly and Pittsburgh.

For a state that isn’t Minnesota, we’re lousy with ice.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ice skating, falling, head injuries and broken bones. Fair enough.

But try to consider this as well: bike helmet, skating lessons and access to a winter’s worth of “cabin fever” day activities.

Let me try to convince you a bit further. Here are nine great reasons kids should learn how to ice skate:

1. Ice skating requires paying attention.

Even the most action-packed, ants-in-their-pants kids will summon their powers of extreme focus when ice skating. Losing focus while on the ice is directly correlated with ending up on your bottom.

In skating lessons, the instructor will teach a child how to fall correctly and help bypass serious injury. But if you talk to folks who have been skating all their lives, they’ll tell you that focus is always required while on the ice. Like meditation, ice skating forces you to ignore all the distracting mumbo jumbo running through your brain. Both kids and adults could use an hour or two of “no mumbo jumbo” each week.

2. No matter the weather, ice skating rinks are always open.

Hazy, hot and 99 percent humidity? The skating rink is cooler than your pool. Ten below zero and too cold for polar bears? The skating rink is going to feel like a sauna.

In fact, the only two activities that completely wear out my kids are swimming and skating. Get a pool pass, get a skate pass, and your children will be happily exhausted.

3. Kids who can’t run fast can still learn to skate fast.

Skating may look like running on ice, but ice skating uses leg muscles in different ways than running does. Skating also requires less effort to get the “wind in your hair” feeling, although rounding the rink over the course of an hour-long public ice session can still be a great cardiac workout.

And because skating is a side-to-side motion instead of the up-and-down of running, joint impact is reduced. (Note: If you get to the point of working on your triple axel jump a few times a week, the “easy on the joints” discussion changes a bit. But that’s a conversation for down the road — or down the ice rink.)


4. Kids of all body types can feel graceful, artistic and athletic on the ice.

After mastering the basics, kids can learn to spin, spiral and dance on ice. Yes, Olympic-level skaters are generally lean and small. But kids of all ages, heights and weights can learn to perform the iconic layback spin of Peggy Fleming, practice the fancy footwork of Bobby Orr (shoutout to hockey players!) and hone the showmanship of Scott Hamilton.

5. Ice skating teaches kids to get up after falling. And to get up again. And again.

Persistence is a skill kids will carry off the ice and into the classroom. Check out U.S. Figure Skating’s WeGetUp site for an inspirational boost via ice skating.

6. Even little kids can learn to skate with confidence.

And younger children are already close to the ground, so falling doesn’t freak them out as much. By 3 years old, most kids can take group lessons and learn to skate.

7. As a sport, ice skating offers myriad avenues for true “rec league” competition.

Local ice hockey leagues all promote recreational-level playing opportunities for both kids and adults. USA Hockey, the organization that oversees amateur hockey, does a great job of keeping youth hockey’s focus on skill development and having fun. Trust me, no recreational hockey coach, parent or team is going to be disappointed if your child isn’t Wayne Gretzky. Rec league teams are very welcoming.

U.S. Figure Skating and the Ice Skating Institute both sponsor competitions in singles skating, ice dance, synchronized skating and theater-on-ice. In both recreational and club competitions, the focus is on building skills and having fun while setting and working toward personal goals.

A very, very small percentage of kids will go to the Olympics or play in the NHL. However, millions of kids and adults participate in various levels and types of ice sports competition, all free from Olympic-level pressure.

8. As a teen hangout, ice rinks deter many kinds of unwanted behaviors.

I can’t vouch for what happens off the ice. But for teens who do make the ice rink a Friday-night hangout, I can confidently bear witness to the fact that shenanigans are limited when you’re balancing on a three-sixteenths-inch blade.

9. Ice skating is an activity that kids can participate in through adulthood.

Maybe grownup skaters wear more padding to protect against falls. Maybe they don’t skate as fast, and perhaps older adults — who have work in the morning and kids to take care of — are more conservative with body contact during “beer league” hockey games.

But ice skating is truly a lifelong sport that can be enjoyed with relative safety well into what are normally the hip-replacement years.

Have I convinced you to seek out ice skating lessons? Check out Learn to Skate USA for a rink near you. Great! Have fun and skate great!

 Suburban Resistance is a weekly blog by Josette Plank. Read more every Wednesday at CentralPennParent.com.