Jim Hale

I’ve seen a few crazy comments on the Gettysburg Times‘ Facebook page.

We post stories there to alert our subscribers and, I hope, demonstrate to non-subscribers that we offer valuable content.

We post some important stories in full as a public service. Otherwise, full stories are visible only to logged-in subscribers.

Because of that, every once in a while, there’s a comment like this: “This is FB, it is free, don’t put a story on here and make us pay for it...I already pay for internet...”

Let me get this straight: we owe you our time, labor, and professional expertise because you paid your Internet provider? Netflix is delivered by Internet too. Have you tried not paying Netflix?

Who else do you expect to give you free merchandise? Does buying a car get you free gas? Does paying your water bill get you free plumbing services? Would you shoplift a physical copy of the newspaper?

If you want to read a story, it must have value, just like everything else you buy.

By the way, Facebook isn’t free. They sell every bit of the mountain of data they collect about you. You’re giving them something for free.

Andrea Grabenstein

Forget a mouse in the house, earlier this week there was a bat in my apartment.

Did I mention it was on my birthday? The universe seemed to remember how much I loved bats as a kid. They were my favorite animal; Batman was my favorite superhero. I am fascinated by those flying mammals, but as an adult, I’d still much rather watch them from behind the safety of glass at the zoo or high in the sky on a romantic moonlit summer night.

I wasn’t scared when I saw the little brown bat on the building’s inside hallway wall much as I articulately thought, “Uuhhhh, that doesn’t go there. Diseases. Animal control. Call professional. Now.”

The bat was just hanging peacefully on the wall right by the door leading outside, but I knew that when things get scared and backed into a corner, they tend to flail around uncontrollably, endangering everyone around them.

Like me at the dentist.

My neighbor appeared and I was ready to collaborate for the best course of action, “Should I call animal control?”

My neighbor looked at me.

“I mean you could,” she said. Like, you COULD go unicycling across the college campus in a full suit of armor while playing the tuba. I mean you COULD, knock yourself out.

With everyone aware and cautious, these things tend to work themselves out, she advised.

Sure enough, what with bats being nocturnal and hungry and with night approaching, the open door two feet away and summer insects in full swing, the bat was gone when I returned from work late that night. Upon close inspection, it didn’t bring back any friends.

It probably saw the price of air conditioning.

Happy birthday, me!

Oh, and I’ll miss you Vanessa, safe travels!

Adam Michael

In the last two weeks, we’ve had to say goodbye to two of the hardest working women in this newsroom, or any other for that matter. After five days holding down Holly Fletcher’s deserted fort, it’s safe to say that no one in this community knows just how much effort she put into this job while she had it.

For every visible task she performed, there are four or five happening behind the scenes that not even our editors had in their understanding. Holly always kept her composure and most importantly for me, stayed extremely organized. Coming through her files is a delight compared to the way most people leave things when they vacate a job. She’s been extremely helpful for me, even as she’s learning the tenants of a new position and for that I’ll always be grateful.

I first met Vanessa Pellechio at the newspaper which shall not be named in Hanover. As Marc Charisse, the editor at the time, made us neighbors in the newsroom, he pointed out that Vanessa always had a flower in her hair. Vanessa laughed with her voice and her eyes, then clasped one hand over the other while interlocking her fingers with both palms facing down. Finally she wiggled her thumbs in a circular motion. Awkward turtle, she said.

That’s how I’ll remember one of my favorite co-workers. No matter how tough or weird a situation got, Vanessa always came out smiling.

That made her the perfect reporter for a beat that would have left my stomach in eternal knots. It’s tough to walk into a courtroom every day, knowing that in most cases someone will feel gloom as they anticipate the next day’s story. Vanessa occasionally received angry letters from those who felt they were painted in an unflattering light, as well as from prisoners who felt they deserved another look. She always took the bad with the good, found the humor in it as she chattered around the office until she found her center again, then went back to her work determined to stay the course.

A lot of people have told her she might get bored in PR work, but Vanessa has always had an active and curious mind. Few people with such traits rarely find themselves stuck with nothing to do. I’m sure that my friend will find plenty to do to fill her time, and hopefully to contribute to our community in other ways.

Vanessa Pellechio

It has been difficult to say goodbye to the amazing people I have met here in Adams County.

There is truly not a more welcoming community than this one I’ve had the privilege to work in for the last five-and-a-half years as a reporter at the Gettysburg Times.

In 2011, I began my writing journey at Bloomsburg University, where I became actively involved in the university’s newspaper.

I had the unique opportunity to shadow a Press Enterprise reporter at the local Bloomsburg newspaper, which led to a part-time reporting gig in February 2012.

That is eight years with newspapers, including my time here.

I never imagined all the stories I’d get to write about at the Gettysburg Times. I’ve gotten to see residents go ice fishing as well as cover one of the biggest fires at Miller Chemical that was reported on internationally.

My heart goes into every story I produce. When people take the time to open up and share a piece of their lives, it has been a huge honor to be able to be that person listening on the other side.

Working at the Gettysburg Times has been an unforgettable experience, and I feel so lucky to have been able to do what I love for the past five-and-a-half years. I’m confident the Gettysburg Times will continue to do amazing work, and I will miss all the great people in that building.

I did not realize how special of a place the Adams County Courthouse is. Most people go in there when they need something. While I was mainly in there to cover the county commissioners and court hearings, the building became a second home.

I will miss setting off the metal detector because I accidentally wore the wrong shoes one morning. The security staff always chuckled when I went through there. They stopped me to find out what stories I was working on and genuinely were interested in my life. I will miss them so much.

If you haven’t set foot in the Adams County Office of Elections and Voter Registration, you don’t know what you are missing. The ladies in there can put a smile on your face in seconds. I feel so blessed to have worked with them.

Now, I can’t forget Adams County Controller Steven Renner, who has taught me so much about county government finances and how they operate. I appreciated all the time he took explaining the intricacies for me.

A lot of the county directors, like Daryl Crum and Sherri Clayton-Williams, took time from commissioners’ meetings to help me understand the complex topics relating to their respective departments.

I can’t forget to mention the tipstaff, who are the glue to the court proceedings in the courthouse. I am going to miss sitting through jury deliberations with them and counting the number of times jurors flush the toilet. After three flushes, a verdict was supposed to be ready. It never worked out that way, though.

Adams County District Attorney Brian Sinnett and Adams County Chief Public Defender Kristin Rice helped me understand the criminal justice process when I started covering court hearings. They took time from their busy schedules to even allow me to do feature stories on staff members in their departments.

The Adams County Court of Common Pleas Judges are some of the most empathetic people I have ever seen. I appreciate their kindness when each of them sat down with me at various times for feature stories about what they do. I barely scratched the surface with those articles. Their hard work does not go unnoticed.

Lastly, I need to thank the former and current employees from the Adams County Prison for recently coming forward. I’ve spoken to so many individuals after a prison board story was published in July. Their courage is admirable, and they reminded me why I love this job so, so much. It is about showing all sides to an issue, not just what is presented at a meeting.

Gettysburg Times Managing Editor Alex Hayes and Publisher Harry Hartman took a chance on a reporter from a nearby newspaper, and I’m forever grateful for that.

It is with much excitement that I announce the next chapter in my life will be at McDaniel College, where I’ll serve as a public relations coordinator. While I love journalism, I found a new passion for public relations that I knew I needed to explore. This job combines my two passions into one.

Once I get acclimated at the new job and married on Aug. 31, I hope to continue writing for the Gettysburg Times. It may be under a different byline with a new last name.

Charles Stangor

I was browsing the local events listing in one of our online Gettysburg and Adams County event calendars this week, and I was surprised to find so many entries.

Over the next four months, the calendar lists over 400 events in the county with more being posted every week. This weekend alone lists over 20 events.

The offerings include almost everything: Farmers’ markets, dances, films, concerts, art shows, theater productions, educational classes, civil war experiences, and a whole lot more.

And the calendar I was browsing didn’t even include any of our many local sporting and church-related events. And the college with its many activities isn’t even in session.

In case I’ve piqued your interest, here’s a sampler menu for this weekend:

• Over 150 bands are playing around town at the Gettysburg Rocks cancer benefit.

• The Bounty of the County food event began yesterday, with local restaurants creating special harvest menus

• The annual Gettysburg Music Muster taking place in venues around town includes free musical performances from the Civil War era.

• Music Gettysburg! hosts Celtic musicians Comorant’s Fancy at the seminary on Sunday.

• “The Lion King” and Adult Improv comedy are playing at the Community Theatre

• A new film about Toni Morrison, who died this week, “The Pieces I Am,” plays at the Majestic Theater

• The 29th Annual Peach Festival is being held at Hollabaugh Bros, Inc. fruit market in Biglerville

Well that’s just part of what’s happening around town …only the things that I happen to have learned about.

Sometimes I find myself wishing we had a few more restaurants, better shopping, or more entertaining diversions. But when I took a minute to discover what we do have, I was reminded that Gettysburg is full of people getting together, eating, learning, merrymaking, and sharing their talents. Maybe I’ll get out and join the fun!

Michael Cooper-White

Those of us who write in this weekly notebook generally try to keep things on the light side. After the past week’s dark events in Dayton, El Paso and places lesser known where too many of our sisters and brothers have been murdered, it’s hard to keep a spring in one’s step, pen or word processor.

We simply need to find a way to stem this tide of gun violence that’s killing people.The vast majority of Americans want to legislate more curbs on the sale of weapons capable of mass mayhem and keep them out of the hands of individuals bent on doing evil on a grand scale.

When tempted to despair, I’m reminded of prior plagues we’ve found a way to diminish or stop altogether. For a time, it seemed AIDS was unstoppable until we marshalled the political will and adequately funded medical geniuses who went to work and greatly diminished its death toll.

Are we on the cusp of a breakthrough on this? Will we stand up to bullies who threaten political demise for any elected officials who don’t do their bidding? As always in a democracy, which I’m confident we can and will remain, the answers are in our hands. In addition to folding them often in prayer we can put them to the plow and carve new ground.

D.K. Thomas

Here we are again, on puppy watch.

We were on puppy watch just over eight weeks ago when our girl Paka delivered three lovely little miniature poodle babies. One of those is going to Ohio, and one to a home right here in Gettysburg. The right forever home hasn’t presented itself for the third pup, yet. It will. No rush.

Now we are on puppy watch with our girl Memphis.

Memphis is a lovely little 13-inch Beagle from Serbia. You read that correctly, Serbia. She came to this country to show.

After immigrating here, with all the correct documentation in paw and securing all her proper U.S. paperwork, she married our boy Chekhov. Their babies are due any day, thus we are on puppy watch.

We haven’t had a litter of pups in about four years, so this has been exciting. And exhausting. Puppies are hard work, and frequently produce some serious stink after the mama stops cleaning up after them.

But, the reward is well worth it when you produce purposefully-bred pups with sound genetics.

Now, all we have to do is find a husband for our girl Lily, who is a Harrier, and the circle will be complete for a new generation in each of the breeds we show.

Alex J. Hayes

Vanessa is the best reporter the Gettysburg Times ever had who never applied here.

In late 2013, I was looking for a reporter and Vanessa’s resume came to me from another Sample News Group newspaper. I called her and here we are, almost six years later.

I have never met anyone who can get almost anyone to open up the way she can. She was more than an asset to our community.

Vanessa occassionally would challenge me in ways that were frustrating at the time but, for the most part, she made me a better person.

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