The last thing you may be thinking of in February is outdoors...well, it's time to change your thinking. There is plenty happening at Sweet Arrow Lake county park in February. First up is the annual Groundhog Day celebration. Come on Saturday, February 2 to learn if we'll have six more weeks of Winter or if Spring is right around the corner. After the groundhog's prediction there will be songs and stories by Matthew Dowd. All the groundhog fun is free but you can also stop by for breakfast, starting at 7:30 am. Breakfast tickets are $6 and $4 for those age 12 and under. There will also be a Groundhog Basket Raffle.
A few weeks later you can learn about Forest Forensics on Sunday, February 17 from 2 pm to 4 pm at the large pavilion near the clubhouse. Take a stroll with Frank Snyder to learn about the forest ecosystem. Dress accordingly! This is an event for all ages.
If you enjoy the Forest Forensics stroll come back the next week for a Cabin Fever Hike on Saturday, February 23 from 10 am to 11 am with Porcupine Pat. Meet in the clubhouse parking lot and dress accordingly!
Medical conditions touch our lives in many ways...perhaps a condition we are dealing with, perhaps watching a friend or family member deal with it or perhaps we just learn about a condition and want to help in someway. I'd like to touch on several very different conditions that all have events scheduled in February.
It's fun to see the annual Red Dress Event expand to also include the gentlemen -- this year it's the Red Dress-Red Tie Event. Of course, there's no requirement to wear a red dress, red tie or really anything red. But it is fun! Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the US so learning more about it - and how to prevent - is a good idea for everyone.
Held at Hillcrest Hall, Minersville on Friday, February 1 from 6:30 pm to 10 pm, the night will combine the fun of a dinner/dance with the chance to learn while listening to guest speaker Justin Guthier, D.O., LVPG cardiologist. There will also be a Basket Raffle with proceeds to benefit Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill. Tickets are $50 or $60 at the door. For tickets and information contact Mary Bardell at 570-621-4242 or Mary.Bardell@lvhn.org
There are more than 600 neurological disorders -- my own family has been touched by several, including strokes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, epilepsy and brain tumors. If you, or someone in your love is dealing with a neurological disorder you might consider joining one of several Neurological Disorder Support Groups that meet throughout the county on the third Friday of every month from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. Support groups can help you learn more about treatment options, overcoming day to day obstacles, insurance challenges and just having the gift of speaking to someone who understands what your life is about. If you want to meet like-minded people, here where you can find them:
Sadly, even though I have spread the word about them before there continues to be a need for this particular presentation: Public Access to Narcan. The presentation will be held at The Community Mission Christian Center, 336 N. Front Street, Minersville on February 21 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Information about addiction, opioid overdose prevention and overdose reversal using Narcan will be provided by Dr. John W. Stefovic, COGI medical director. The event is free but you must register by February 18 at 570-628-6990 or www.coginc.com
This may be short notice for all the parents, grandparents and coaches out there but I'm sure all our young basketball players are ready for this -- the Foul Throw Shooting Contest sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. The contest will be this Sunday, January 27 at the Nativity High School gymnasium in Pottsville.
The contest is open to boys and girls ages 9 to 14 who live in Schuylkill County and haven't already competed in another Knights of Columbus Foul Throw Shooting Contest this year. You must bring a copy of your birth certificate to prove age. Entry forms will be available on Sunday at Nativity but you can also contact a local CYO coach or call Michael McFadden at 570-622-3960 or Tom Kurtek at 570-617-1714.
Competitors should arrive by 3:30 pm (I'd recommend a bit earlier if you have to fill out a registration form) with the competition beginning at 4:15 pm. There will also be a pizza party for contestants afterwards, while awards are being handed out.
Which do you like better...a Green Weenie or a Wooly Bugger? I've got your attention now, don't I! Seems Green Weenies and Wooly Buggers are two popular flies used by fly fisherman and if you attend a local class in you can learn how to tie both. The free classes, hosted by Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited (SCTU), include experienced instructors and all the supplies you need. They are limited to 25 people so you must register by calling Tony Mione at 717-979-0235 or Bruce Herb at 570-573-7076. Call today!
There will be five classes held in our area, each from 1 pm to 4 pm:
Schuylkill Haven Recreation Center
Friedensburg Fish & Game Club
Tamaqua Community Arts Center
Valley View Gun Club
Is that resolve to change things in 2019 weakening? If your resolution for 2019 involves exercise what you may need is an exercise buddy. You can meet one by joining an exercise group. Exercise in Motion meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 am to 10:30 am at the Shenandoah Senior Loving Center, Anthony P. Damato American Legion, 116 N. Main Street, Shenandoah. This group is for people ages 50 and older of all fitness abilities.
You can also join an indoor walking club -- perfect for this chilly winter days. Hopefully one of these three is near you. If not, why not meet with your community leaders to try and start one in your community. Contact Walking club organizer Jenny Wagner to learn more about how a walking club works at email@example.com
Schuylkill Haven Indoor Walking Club meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Schuylkill Haven Center from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.
Tremont Indoor Walking Club meets Mondays through Fridays at the Tremont Center from 9 am to 10:30 am.
Frackville Indoor Walking Club meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Frackville Borough Buiding Gymnasium, 42 Center Street from 9 am to 10 am.
If you're 60+ you can also get a free monthly check of your blood pressure and blood sugar at your local Diakon Senior Community Center. For times and dates call.
We're only weeks into the new year, a time when many people are striving to eat better, and I am being bombarded by sweets thanks to creative fundraisers! My niece and nephew are selling whoopie pies in seven different flavors while a church I know is selling sticky buns that are so big it takes me three days to eat one. I just can't resist! Local libraries are also having their Deppen Pie Sale. The 9" pies sell for $12 and must be ordered at a participating library by February 7 and picked up on February 20. (Tip from a local librarian: Please come after noon so we have a chance to sort the pies.)
The varieties include: blueberry crumb, apple crumb, no sugar apple, strawberry rhubarb crumb, cherry crumb, peach crumb, raisin crumb, shoofly, coconut custard and lemon sponge. This pies freeze well -- with the exception of the coconut custard and lemon sponge -- so you can save them for Easter if you like. Stop by a local library or call them at:
Anyone in your life (including yourself) moaning that they're bored and want to do something different? Luckily, this weekend is the annual Fire & Ice Festival at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park. Dress accordingly, since a lot of the fun at this festival happens outdoors! Between 2 pm and 5 pm you can enjoy roasting hot dogs over a bonfire, an ice dive by Schuylkill Haven Dive Rescue & Recovery Team and, if the weather cooperates, ice skating or snowball fights. Indoors you can make homemade ice cream, enjoy musical entertainment, learn about chocolate and judge the Fire Hot Chili Cook Off. If you want to enter your world famous chili call 570-624-3018 for more details.
If you want to really go crazy with outdoors winter fun, why not try a polar plunge? Marian High School is hosting a "Be Cool for our School" plunge at Mauch Chunk Lake, Jim Thorpe on January 26. Registration is from 10 am. to 11:30 am and the $35 fee benefits Marian High School. Plungers receive a t-shirt. The plunge begins at noon. All plungers must be 18 years old, with the exception of current Marian students. You can also be a "chicken" and come to cheer on the wetter participants. There will be music and refreshments for sale -- hopefully soup and hot coffee. For more info or advance registration contact Kathy Goff at 610-704-8037 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to learn about all the interesting things to do and see here in Schuylkill County, now is the time to get your copy of the 2019 Schuylkill County Visitors Guide. This 60 page guide includes a fold out map of the county and is ideal for both visitors and residents of the county. You can download the guide or request a print copy at the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau website. The guide can also be found at the Visitors' Bureau, Union Station Building, Pottsville, welcome centers throughout Pennsylvania as well as spots throughout the county. Call 570-622-7700 or 800-765-7282 to learn more about where to find a guide.