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He's looking down on us

 SnyderPixWEBPhoto Courtesy of Tricia Snyder -- Michael Snyder is pictured on his new motorcycle in this summer 2007 photo.

 

Michael Snyder has the content look of a guy who just got the motorcycle of his dreams. This treasured photo is how Tricia Snyder of Palmyra likes to remember her father.

“I remember when he brought that bike home and he was so happy about it,” she said. “That was like the best thing in the world to him. His face is something I will never forget, him being so happy about it.”

Michael Snyder had a passion for his motorcycle, but there’s no question he also had a passion for his family.

Once when Tricia was in the third grade, she fell off the monkey bars and hit her head. Her dad rolled up on his motorcycle to take her to the doctor’s office. The school nurse said “Are you going to put her on the back of a motorcycle?” Tricia remembers. Sure, her dad said, they were only going down the street, and it was alright, he had a helmet for Tricia to wear.

And everything was alright, until four years ago when Tricia’s dad was taken away from her by a murderer. Snyder was shot to death by Adam Homer, a 31-year-old drifter, at a campground along Swatara Park Road. He was 48 at the time.

Father’s Day is a tough day for Tricia Snyder now as it always will be. “For the first year or so I didn’t try to think about it all,” Tricia said of Father’s Day. “That day couldn’t exist for me.”

But Tricia admits time has helped and healed. On Father’s Day, Tricia, her two sisters and the rest of Michael Snyder’s family go to the campsite that Michael loved so much. They plant flowers and light candles at a memorial site that Michael’s brother, Allan, had made.

For Tricia, the campground remains a place full of wonderful memories of all that happened before that terrible day in 2012. “He had huge family get-togethers” at the campground, especially on the big summer holidays - Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Tricia said. “We had some of the best times with my dad. I picture him walking around, talking to everybody.”

Michael would hang out by the creek with his granddaughter, Tricia’s oldest daughter. “He’d say ‘let’s feed the fish’” and he and the little girl would stand on the bank of the Swatara Creek and throw rocks into the water. It didn’t matter what kind of a day Michael Snyder had, good or bad. “He loved being a pappy,” Tricia said.

Tricia admits she feels her dad’s presence in other ways. Not long ago Tricia and her kids were driving home along Hersheypark Drive when the car broke down. Tricia said she felt her dad’s spirit coaxing the car along just enough to get Tricia and the kids a block away from home, so everything would be all right. “He was probably yelling at me about my car,” Tricia said, but she knew he had confidence in her. “’You’re a strong woman, you can do it’” he always told her.

These are the memories and other things about her dad that get Tricia through the devastating pain of sorrow and loss. “He’s proud of me,” said Tricia, now 30. “He’s looking down on us and making sure we are all ok, all the time. He always helps me pull through everything. One way or another, I pull through everything.”


Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 14:24

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Middletown Arts and Crafts Fair returns to Hoffer Park

TIEDYE6 8 16webPress And Journal File Photo -- An artist creates a tie-dyed scarf at the 2015 Middletown Arts & Crafts Fair.

 

French painter Paul Cezanne once observed that art “is a harmony parallel with nature.’’ What better venue, then, for displaying art and crafts than in nature?

So it seems right that the 41st annual Middletown Arts and Crafts Fair will return to Hoffer Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. The sprawling park along the Swatara Creek will offer a large stage for a growing number of artists, craftsmen, musicians and others to sell and create.

The number of vendors will nearly double this year compared to last year, when the fair returned to Hoffer Park after a brief hiatus at the Middletown Area Historical Society’s Swatara Ferry House property at Ann and South Union streets. Nearly 100 vendors will display their work this year, compared to 51 in 2015, said Jenny Miller, a society trustee who is organizing the fair.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the fair returned to the park,’’ Miller said. “I got that a lot from visitors and vendors last year – they like the park.’’

The venue gives some artisans more room to demonstrate their craft to fair goers – that will happen again this year, Miller said.

There also will be 13 food vendors, with caramelized nuts and monkey bread being two new offerings this year.

“We are filling the park, that’s for sure,’’ Miller said.

Admission is free.

The fair will begin at 10 a.m. with opening remarks by Middletown Mayor James H. Curry III. A stage at the Main Pavillion will host a variety of acts, from Magical Nick, a magician, to the Keystone Concert Band to acoustic musician Jerry Haines.

The Fast & Loud III Car Show will begin at
11 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Registration for the show begins at 10 a.m. at the rear of the park.

The second-annual Baking Competition also will be held at the fair. Judging begins at noon inside the Main Pavillion.

The Capital Area Extreme Competitive Cheerleading team will perform on the lawn at 1 p.m. and the Freedom Independent Guard will perform on the lawn at 3:15 p.m.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 15:33

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Hitting the books: At Fink School, a focus on reading pays dividends

blueteacher6 8 16WEBPress And Journal Photo by Dan Miller - Reading teacher Amy Rhodes works with kindergarten student Frankee Shearer.


Students are doing better at the Lyall J. Fink Elementary School in Middletown, and the school is being rewarded for its efforts.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 15:30

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SOLEMN RITUAL: Middletown keeps its Memorial Day tradition alive with parade, ceremony

mainphoto6 1 16webPress and Journal Photo by Dan Miller -- The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 594 of Middletown, led by Uncle Sam, march through the town square during the Memorial Day parade.

A tradition is best kept alive by passing it down from generation to generation. So it is with the tradition of Memorial Day in Middletown.

Monday, May 30 was the first time in 20 years that Ed Fox of Lower Swatara Twp. attended Middletown’s Memorial Day event at the Middletown Cemetery on North Union Street. “We wanted to come back with our grandchildren,” said Fox, a 72-year-old veteran who served in the Army’s transportation corps from 1966 to 1969. “We remembered how good it felt to participate in the Memorial Day parade. We want to give our grandchildren an idea of what our service people did to preserve our freedom.”


Monday’s parade and ceremony also brought back memories for Isaiah DeJesus, but of a much more recent sort. He used to perform in each year’s ceremony as a member of the Middletown Area High School Band.

“When I was in the band I talked to (Sam) Fisher (the high school band director) about joining the U.S. Marine Corps band,” said DeJesus, who has lived in Middletown since the third grade.

DeJesus wanted to be a police officer and serve in the Dauphin County Crisis Response Team. Military service was a way to improve his chances, but instead of the band DeJesus became a combat engineer in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school in 2013.

Standing in the crowd on Monday, and standing out from the crowd in his Marine dress uniform, DeJesus said he has grown to love being in the Corps and plans to put off becoming a police officer for a while. He’s currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The seed was planted during those hot late May Memorial Day events at the cemetery, when the other kids were already swimming in the pool or enjoying a long weekend out of town with their families.

When DeJesus and other marching band members marched in the Memorial Day parade and played in Middletown’s Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery, “Mr. Fisher made it a big deal to us,” DeJesus said. Now, “I try to tell my Marines to go home” and attend the Memorial Day events in their hometown,whenever they can, he said.

The guest speaker at this year’s ceremony, Irvin Strohecker, described being a Survivor Assistance Officer during the Vietnam War while in the Army at Fort Dix. He had to tell 20 different families from throughout southern New Jersey that their loved one had been killed in action.

He has been to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and found all 20 of those names on its wall.

“It was only 20 of thousands,” he said. He also talked of the solemn duty of presenting the folded flag to the families of those who had lost someone in the war.

“Some loved the flag, some honored the flag, some just wanted to get rid of it,” Strohecker said. “They were destroyed by their loss, so I understand the loss and what it is that these people give their lives for, and I will always remember.”

Strohecker encouraged those gathered at the cemetery on Monday to visit Middletown’s own memorial at War Memorial Field behind Fink Elementary School on North Race Street.

“If you go up to the northeast corner of the stadium, you can see a monument that lists the names of all those from Middletown who gave their lives to help defend this country,” Strohecker said. “There’s room for more. I hope like the devil that we never add any more.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 14:25

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Resurfacing 322 ramp for Hummelstown/Middletown

Eastbound off-ramp closed Sunday from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday

Motorists traveling on US 322 in Derry Twp. have been alerted by PennDOT of work to begin Sunday, May 15.

Hempt Brothers, contractor for the project will eastbound U.S. 322 off-ramp for Hummelstown/Middletown from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning. Milling and resurfacing work will be undertaken, weather permitting.

The work is part of an ongoing $13 million construction project that began May 8 to repair and resurface a seven mile section of US 322 between the Eisenhower Interchange in Swatara Twp. and the Hershey interchange with Route 39 and US 422 in Derry Twp.

The contract includes roadway base repair, milling and resurfacing the existing roadway and shoulders with new asphalt. On the concrete portions of the project, the contractor will make concrete repairs and apply a thin friction course on the pavement. The project also includes guiderail replacement, minor drainage improvements, and curb ramp improvements associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Work under this construction contract is scheduled to be completed next summer.
PennDOT advises travelers that they may continue to encounter shifting traffic patterns and/or single-lane traffic restrictions through the work zone on weeknights from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Some sections of US 322 average more than 21,000 vehicles traveled daily.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 May 2016 14:03

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