Do You Know Who Comes Into Your Home Every Night?

Do you ever wonder who those people really are behind those taking heads on the nightly news? Valerie Pritchett and Flora Posteraro of ABC 27 News WHTM- TV in Harrisburg are hardly just talking heads. Both women have been serving the Midstate for several years.  “There are interesting people in the Midstate who have great stories to share,” says Pritchett. What does Posteraro like most about her job? “I like meeting people and telling their story. Every day I learn something or experience new and exciting things.”

In addition to her anchoring duties Pritchett is an award winning reporter. A project close to Val’s heart is Val’s Kids. Val’s Kids features children in foster care who, through the Statewide Adoption Network, are looking for permanent homes. Valerie also airs a segment every Friday afternoon called: Safe Kids. This segment relays information about various safety hazards involving children and how to best avoid injury.

Flora is an active enthusiast of the American Cancer Society, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Flora is also a Co-Captain for the Caring Place in Lemoyne. The Caring Place helps children who are struggling with a broken heart after a parent or a loved one died.  

A community volunteer, Valerie is the honorary co-chair for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and the honorary chair for Daffodil Days events. She assists The Lupus Foundation of PennsylvaniaThe American Literacy Corporation, and many other nonprofit organizations.

“I am an animal lover!” Valerie helps many animal rescue organizations with fund raising. Valerie is also a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Network. Both women reside in Harrisburg. Flora says that is a wonderful place to raise her son and loves working and living in the Midstate; still be close to her family in Pittsburgh. “My husband and I love living in the Midstate. There’s so much to do from enjoying a meal on Second Street to having fun with my two German Sheppard’s at the dog park,” says Valerie. And speaking of her husband he is a photog at WGAL, ABC 27’s competition.  When asked if this causes tension; she said not at all. “We just look it as we are working in the same industry not necessarily whose station has the number one seat.”  

Valerie Pritchett and Flora Posteraro can both be seen as anchors on abc27 News Live at Five. Tune in and watch how they are working for you!

The Hands-On Approach

For Spring Break 2010, some Elizabethtown College students are dedicating their time in a different way than most.  Through the Chaplain’s office and Faith in Action, they are helping the homeless in Los Angeles, CA.  Rebecca Furru, a senior social work major, is one of these students.  Furru decided, however, to do more than just serve the homeless.  By putting flyers up and sending out campus connections updates, Furru tried to get the campus involved in creating hygiene kits to take along on the trip.

“[Etown Students] don’t come in contact with the homeless every day,” Furru commented, “I wanted to go above and beyond just helping in the soup kitchens.”

The kits include donated toothbrushes, washcloths, Band-Aids, feminine hygiene products, and soap.  She also helped raise enough money to get deodorant and shampoo.  To top it all off, someone donated little back-packs that are great for holding all the items.

Furru got the idea from her aunt who is a nurse practitioner at Michigan State.  She passes out hygiene kits to those people in her area who need it on a regular basis.  When Furru mentioned that she was interested in doing something special for her break, her aunt suggested she do the same.

After taking a human services class sophomore year, Furru decided that social work was meant to be her major.  She came in as an international business major, changed to a psychology major and settled on social work.

“[Social work] provided more physical contact with patients than psychology did for me,”  Furru said.

Growing up with two parents with cancer, Furru had to learn at a young age to be a caretaker.  She would go to the clinics with her parents and sit and talk to the other patients.

To continue with the hands on approach, Furru decided that after college she has two options: to get her masters at Michigan State or to go into Brethren Volunteer Service.  If she does BVS first then she will go for her masters after she is done her two year service abroad.

With over 300 toothbrushes and many kits, Furru is well on her way with her personal contact side of social work.  She hopes to create a difference in some of the lives of the people she will meet in Los Angeles.  The rest of the group will be doing the same at the soup kitchens and working at a Brethren work camp.  This seems to be a promising trip and a great way to spend Spring Break helping others.

For the Cure

Elizabethtown College will host Relay For Life in the Thompson Gymnasium beginning April 10th at 6 p.m. and ending April 11th at 6 a.m.

Relay is about celebrating the lives of the people who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones who have lost, and fighting back against the disease. Raising over $87,000 in their 2009 Relay, Elizabethtown College hopes to reach a new goal of $95,000 for the 2010 year.

To help raise awareness and funds, the College will be hosting three fundraising opportunities that are open to the public:

  • March 20th – Baseball vs. Cancer: During the baseball game facts about cancer will be announced and t-shirts will be sold to help raise awareness.
  • March 24th – Fundraising Rally: Relay teams will be selling crafts, baked goods, t-shirts, and other merchandise from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the BSC’s Blue Bean. 
  • April 10th-11th – Midway Fair: From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. teams will be selling their products and refreshments and putting on games to continue raising funds for the final count.

Cancer is a disease that can afflict anyone, of any age–and it has no cure. Since 1913, the American Cancer Society has been researching to determine the causes of cancer and supporting efforts to prevent and cure the disease.

Dr. Gordy Klatt began the tradition of running a marathon to help raise money in 1985, and then went on to organize the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer in 1986. With 19 relay teams circling the track at Stadium Bowl in Tacoma, Washington, they raised $33,000 and solidified the tradition known today as Relay For Life.

During the Relay event, there are three traditional ceremonies. The event is opened with a Survivor’s Lap, where cancer survivors are celebrated as they circle the track. After dark the Luminara Ceremony begins. Participants circle in silence as candles are lit inside bags bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. The event ends with the Fight Back Ceremony, where participants make a personal commitment to help save lives and to take up the fight against cancer.

Consider these facts from the American Cancer Society about the U.S. battle against cancer:

  • 1,479,350 new cases were expected in 2009, and that number grows each year.
  • 28,690 Pennsylvanians died in 2009 because of cancer.
  • Cancer is the second most common cause of death, just after heart disease.
  • 1 in every 4 deaths is due to cancer.

Beginning in 1946, the Society has spent over $3 billion in the fight against cancer. As a private, non-profit organization, they depend on everyday people and government grants to help support them in their effort to save lives.

Family, Fun, and Pizza

 Looking for a great place to grab a delicious slice of fresh cooked pizza? How about chicken parmesan with spaghetti or a cold Italian wrap? Good food and great atmosphere are the staples of any good restaurant, staples that the P & J Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria serve in spades.

For 15 years the Bellia’s have owned and run the Pizza shop on 22 East High Street. They’ve blended the traditions of their Sicilian heritage with the traditions of their new town, Elizabethtown, to create a local treasure in the Elizabethtown square.

The business is a successful restaurant and has flourished in the hands Sal Bellia and his father Frank, even after a two-alarm fire nearly wiped out their business in February, 2003. The fire caused over $350,000 in damages and burned the two apartments above their shop. Today, pictures of the fire and articles of their store decorate the wall behind the counter, symbols of their dedication to their business and the town. Since the fire seven years ago, they have rebuilt the store and designed it to function with their daily needs, even installing a delivery window.

Even though the owners are named Sal and Frank, the restaurant is named P & J. “We wanted to keep it familiar because it was already known as a good pizza shop to the regular customers” said a member of the Bellia family of employees. When the family took over the business 15 years ago from Peter and Joe, they weren’t interested in starting afresh. Instead they wanted to improve on an already great establishment.

Their menu includes an assortment of subs, wraps, pizzas, calzones, and Italian Dinners. Gathering recipes from their trips to Italy and Sicily, the family spices their menu up with special meals and mixings. After his honeymoon in 2008, Sal returned from Italy with a few new pizza dishes, including the chicken and ham pizza with ranch dressing. Along with their traditional menu options, P & J’s also offers two customary Italian desserts; the Cannoli and Tiramisu.

Elizabethtown sophomore Kayla King finds P & J’s well worth the walk from Elizabethtown College. “I’d love to eat here every week because the food is just so satisfying and they’re very friendly owners.” In addition to great food, the pizza shop also provides free Wi-Fi, delivery to businesses, and catering service. P & J’s also works frequent deals with other local business owners to provide great deals to their customers. Currently, a customer can dine at P & J’s and get a deal to bowl a free game at Clearview Lanes.

Track Runner with Taco Bell In Hand

Elizabethtown College is the choice institution for approximately 1,900 students. A majority of students live on campus. Each school year, a percentage of students are given the privilege of moving off campus into properties in the community. Senior Mike Mauger was released prior to his junior year.

Mike calls Elizabethtown home during the school year and calls Pottstown, PA home when school is out of session. As a prospective student, Mike was recruited to play men’s soccer and to study in the International Business program. After beginning his time at Elizabethtown, he quickly changed his aspirations. Mike moved into the English major with a focus on Literature. He also decided to pursue his athletics career in a different matter than soccer. Mike has competed on the men’s cross country team as well as the men’s indoor and outdoor track teams.

Mike lived in on-campus housing for his first two years at Elizabethtown College. For his junior year, Mike moved into a house with fellow track teammates. He quickly realized that living in an independent environment was completely different than college housing. For his senior year at Elizabethtown College, Mike moved into an apartment with two fellow students. This location is a little more removed from campus. Mike’s initial thought about moving off-campus was to realize the changes that would come with graduation. He has enjoyed his time being independent, but does miss his time in on-campus housing since it is in close proximity to his close friends.

Even though he moved off campus, Mike is still heavily involved in many aspects of everyday life at Elizabethtown College. Mike is a Peer Mentor and Tour Guide for the Office of Admissions. He introduces prospective students to the campus and then works with a small group of first-year students in the fall semester. Mike can also be seen at the hilarious Mad Cow Improv shows. He is the Vice President of the comedy group and enjoys sharing his talent with others.

When he is not busy on campus or with his school work, Mike can be found spending time with his friends. He enjoys catching up on his sports on ESPN and laughing to television shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mike frequents Taco Bell, the Mexican fast food establishment, at all hours of the day. If it were possible, Mike would eat Taco Bell for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mike is eager to see what is next on his path of life, but will always remember Elizabethtown College and his life in Elizabethtown, PA.

Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania Citizen Journalism