THUMBS UP: Vivian Davis outdid herself, and the rest of the field consisting of more than 150 pieces of Peep-inspired art, to take the grand prize at the 10th annual PEEPshow at the Carroll Arts Center with her entry, "Mother of (Peeps) Dragons." It was no small feat. Her piece stood 81/2 feet tall with a 6-foot wingspan and featured more than 5,000 Peeps. More than 25,000 visitors took in this year's PEEPshow. Between in-person and online voting, Davis' sculpture received 7,702 votes, the most in the contest. She said she began working on the dragon's armature after Christmas, but didn't apply her first Peep to the final piece until March 14, spending more than a few 8-hour work days getting her work of art ready to be viewed. "It was the 10th year," she told us, "I wanted to make something really big to honor it." That she did. And for her efforts, she received a giant plush bunny; a special VIPeeps visit to Just Born, the maker of PEEPS in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and an overnight stay at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem. Not to mention the appreciation of PEEPshow fans.
THUMBS UP: Considering some of the troubling stories we and all news organizations report on at the local, national and international level, it's always nice to learn about someone like Marie Schlitzer, selflessly caring for a creature that simply can't care for itself. Schlitzer lives on a farmette in Pleasant Valley with three dogs, 16 goats, five donkeys and 40 chickens. In February, one of the goats had triplets and one of them, Patsy, weighed only 8 ounces at birth, not moving and barely breathing. But Schlitzer dribbled milk into the goat's mouth and rubbed Patsy's body to improve circulation. She put up heating lamps but Patsy couldn't get warm. So Schlitzer brought the goat into the house, warmed her with microwaved towels and fed her milk with an eyedropper. Eventually, she began walking and playing with the dogs. At about 2 months old, Patsy now weighs 5 pounds and seems to be doing well, thanks to Schlitzer, who told us that Patsy is not much trouble: "She's been delightful."
THUMBS UP: The Church of the Ascension in Westminster took all kids into consideration when hosting a special Easter egg hunt last Saturday afternoon. In one section, all the eggs played music. In another part, the eggs were on a table for kids to find. The Easter egg hunt was for people with special needs, so the eggs that played music were intended to be found by visually impaired children. The eggs on the table were at eye level for people in wheelchairs. It was the first year that the church put on an Easter egg hunt for those with special needs, said church member Wendy Messersmith, who organized the event. Her son, Christopher Nusbaum, is visually impaired. "There's just never anything for [special-needs] kids. So I thought instead of one disability, let's do them all," Messersmith told us. She said they hope to do another hunt next year and invited other churches to join in.
THUMBS UP: The 2017 Walk MS: Westminster event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and it's a worthy cause with the funds raised going toward research for a cure and support services for people who have multiple sclerosis. Those who did not sign up ahead of time will be welcome at the registration tables, and Samantha Wolfe, fundraising and event manager, told us there are a number of ways to participate and help fight MS, a disease characterized by the body's own immune system attacking nerve cells, interrupting their ability to communicate and causing progressive symptoms including weakness, tremor and even blindness or paralysis. "You can walk and not donate, you can donate and not walk, you can walk and donate — it's tailored for anyone to partake in any way they feel comfortable," Wolfe said. In 2016, the event brought out 398 walkers and raised $47,902.06.