Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.
For use anytime:
Editorials from around Pennsylvania.
For Saturday, July 14, 2018:
YORK — It was 1968 and Joe Mincer, just a few years past returning to York after a stint in the Marine Corps, was wondering about his hometown. His service had taken him to the Far East and this country’s deep South. He had seen the best of the country - the service, long integrated at the time, serving as a model for how the country could get past the legacy of its original sin, slavery. And he had seen the worst, in the deep South, Albany, Georgia, to be specific, a place in which Jim Crow reigned and African-Americans remained second-class citizens, facing oppressive discrimination and being targeted by white police for abuse. Just a few years after returning from the service, he was living in York when the city began to tear itself apart, the result of a variety of offenses, not the least of which was the brutality the black community felt at the hands of the police. He expected it to be different when he returned home. Mike Argento, York Daily Record.
ALLENTOWN — Early each morning, a herd of deer visited Barbara Daneker’s cabin, tucked away in secluded Waldheim Park in Salisbury Township. “This eight-point buck was a heartthrob for me,” Daneker said. “He would come and stand among the doe.” Her husband, Bob, who was seriously ill, couldn’t get up early enough to see the deer. Bob died in November before he had his chance. The day after he died, Barbara Daneker walked to her favorite spot in the park. “I am praying and I open my eyes and there’s the eight-point buck,” Barbara Daneker said. “We sat there and looked at each and he slowly walked into the woods. All I could think was that God was telling me that Bob was OK. His pain and suffering was gone.” Privately owned Waldheim Park, just yards off traffic-clogged Emmaus Avenue, has been a place for Christians to connect with God and enjoy the unplugged beauty of nature over the summer months for more than a century. Jennifer Sheehan, The (Allentown) Morning Call.
PHILADELPHIA — Until a few years ago, the greatest threat to the future of the 99-year-old New Light Beulah Baptist Church in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood was a thunderstorm that barreled through one recent evening, ripping off part of the roof. The raging downpour in June 2010 flooded the sanctuary, rendering the church uninhabitable. Yet, the determined congregation restored its house of worship at a cost of $250,000, and a year later moved back to resume its ministry. But the vicissitudes of nature paled next to another looming threat: the pressures of gentrification on an urban pocket where housing prices have increased more than 400 percent since 2000. With longtime black neighbors moving out and mostly younger, mostly white newcomers moving in, the community’s transition sapped the church of its membership — Sunday attendance dipped from a peak of 250 to 65 — and turned the stucco and stone edifice into an albatross. Kristin E. Holmes, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
EXCHANGE-MACHINE GUN RANGE
PITTSBURGH — The 99 signs he has posted throughout the region — each including a phone number, the silhouette of a Rambo-style M60 machine gun and an advertisement for “Washington County Machine Gun Rentals” — has generated many a phone call to Tredd Barton. Some people are angry. Others are curious. Yet others are amazed over the opportunity to fire a fully automatic machine gun — an MP5, Tommy Gun, AK-47, or M16, among many others — for a price. Mr. Barton calmly answers the phone and sometimes encounters less than calm questions about his operations. He explains that machine-gun rentals are very much different from renting a floor sander or post digger. In that sense, the sign is a bit deceiving. The fact is, he owns and operates Washington County Machine Guns LLC and Tactical Range — a machine-gun shooting range — in Donegal, near West Alexander in western Washington County. He said he is one of the largest, and possibly the largest, machine-gun rental business in the eastern United States. David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
EXCHANGE-MINING TOWN EXCAVATION
ECKLEY — The house with the unpainted porch and bare-board siding typical of an old miner’s home suited Paul Shackel, who wanted his archaeology students to dig around a home occupied for most of the 165 years as the village developed from company town to state museum. Just as the home is the middle of the street, it had middle-class residents. The mine owner and foremen lived in the wealthy Protestant downtown on the western side of Main Street, which Shackel and his students might study next year, whereas the lower-earning laborers who lived at a house on Back Street around which the group excavated two years ago. On the lawn, the students dug test holes every 10 feet while prospecting for the richest sources of artifacts. They settled on two areas where soil had been disturbed, indicating that bygone residents had dug trenches for drainage or garbage disposal. In those areas, they dug square pits. Kent Jackson, The (Hazleton) Standard-Speakerr.