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Away from the maddening crowd...wildlife style - abc27 WHTM

Away from the maddening crowd...wildlife style

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  • Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Historic Ferry Boat Operation Still Draws Riders

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-08-26 13:16:25 GMT
    It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time."People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official....More >>
    It's only a one mile journey in distance, but it covers nearly two centuries in time."People come to enjoy the river," said Don Lebo, as he guided another load of vehicles onto the Roaring Bull V. "They come to enjoy the scenery and to enjoy the wildlife."Lebo should know. He's been at the helm of the Roaring Bull V and the Falcon III ferry boats for 25 years.The 20 minute trip across the Susquehanna River dates back to the early 1800's when the Millersburg Ferry system first became official....More >>
  • Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Book Trilogy Traces Elizabethville Woman's West Virginia Roots.

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:59 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:59:44 GMT
    For many of her 87 years, Anna Jean Bennett Ditty was told, "You ought to write a book!" So, ten years ago, she did. In fact, she needed three books to cover her life, starting with "The House on the Hill," about growing up with three siblings in a small West Virginia town during the depression, with a hard-working mom and an absentee father.Browsing through her first book, Ditty paused to point out a childhood picture of her baby brother Dickie."He's my baby brother," she said. "My momma alw...More >>
    For many of her 87 years, Anna Jean Bennett Ditty was told, "You ought to write a book!" So, ten years ago, she did. In fact, she needed three books to cover her life, starting with "The House on the Hill," about growing up with three siblings in a small West Virginia town during the depression, with a hard-working mom and an absentee father.Browsing through her first book, Ditty paused to point out a childhood picture of her baby brother Dickie."He's my baby brother," she said. "My momma alw...More >>
  • Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Perry County Church Given New Life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-08-19 15:02:59 GMT
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>
    A big reason why Darlene Barrick fought to save the Mahanoy Union Church from bulldozers lies in the small cemetery next to it."This is Ulysses Grant Baker. My grandfather Baker," said Barrick, pointing to one of several headstones in the church cemetery with direct family ties. "He helped build the church."At another stone she added, "This is my Uncle Albert who fought in World War One."Since closing in the early 1960's, the church suffered heavily from neglect and vandalism. But stepping in...More >>

For one week out of the year, Bruce Bickel's garage in Colonial Park becomes a bed and breakfast for Pennsylvania Farm Show guests. Nothing fancy. Just four crates and some covers.

"All I do is provide a place for the animals to stay for a week," said Bickel.

These guests come with no special plans. You could say they "wing it." Hosting them for the overnight hours of Farm Show week is a routine that Bickel started 20 years ago when his daughter volunteered her parents' home as an overnight lodge for a few small animals, reptiles and birds that were being shown at the farm show. At the time, she was a member of the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, owners and handlers of the animals.

Bickel said he is not involved in feeding or caring for his guests. "I only have to provide a cool place here in the garage for the birds that need to be cool and quiet," he said, " and a warm place in the back family room for the snakes, turtles and frogs that need to be kept quiet and warm."

That's right, snakes, turtles and frogs in his family room in sealed, ventilated boxes. Every morning at 8:00, a team of handlers arrives to check the food supplies and then transport the animals, birds and reptiles over to the farm show building in Harrisburg. At night, they bring them back. Those involved with the animals say a break from the noise and hustle of the farm show complex is welcomed by the mostly small wildlife.

"We know from taking care of animals that they're going to do a lot better staying in an environment where it's calm and quiet," said John Drummond of the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, Penn State Outreach.

Within minutes of getting to the farm show building, it's show time for the birds, animals and turtles. Using a stage of tables, tanks and displays, handlers offer a close-up look at some of Pennsylvania's most recognized wildlife for the seemingly endless crowds. At the end of a 12-hour day, it's back to Bickel's home for another night of cool, calm and quiet for these stars of nature.

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