EDITORIAL: Venue offers hope for seniors

York Dispatch Editorial Board

Thumbs up to the Out Door Country Club, for giving York County’s graduating seniors hope to hold on to as their academic careers come to quieter than expected ends.

Pennsylvania schools have been closed since March 16 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, causing the cancellation of most traditional senior events like proms and commencement ceremonies.

The Manchester Township venue is planning a big bash in August for all county seniors — but the “postponed prom” hinges on state and health guidelines and restrictions being lifted.

More:PHOTOS: York County's 2019 proms

Though York County is slated to move from Gov. Tom Wolf's fully restrictive red phase to the more relaxed yellow phase on Friday, social gatherings will still be limited to 25 people.

The Out Door Country Club staff is still working out the details, and all plans are contingent on state and health guidelines and restrictions being lifted, said Susie Pickett, communications and special events coordinator for the club

“We certainly would not want to jeopardize anybody’s health," she said. "We just wanted to put it out there to offer some hope and give an opportunity.”

Still, the venue is taking a cautiously optimistic approach in planning the event, with the understanding it might need to be to a later date.

Tickets, at $75 per person, won’t be sold until the date is confirmed, Pickett said. Right now, she is contacting schools to gather interest and put them on a ticket list.

Thumbs up to York County’s newest U.S. citizens, who have been taking their oaths of allegiance in the shadow of the pandemic.

York County officials recently held the first of five planned outdoor naturalization ceremonies on the steps of the old courthouse on East Philadelphia Street.

Prothonotary Allison Blew said after those are finished, there will be 20 more people who hopefully can be naturalized at the same time in a traditional indoor ceremony in late June.

Six people originally from countries including India, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom took their oaths on May 12.

Paul Barlow, 47, and 18-year-old daughter Paige Barlow, both of Dallastown, came here from Yorkshire, England, in 2007 so he could work at Voith Hydro Inc., he said.

Paige graduated in 2019 from Dallastown Area High School and is studying biology at Penn State York, hoping to become an oncologist, she said.

Paul Barlow's wife died in 2011, but he is now engaged to be married to Erika Winemiller.

"Life is about the future, not the past," he said.

York County Common Pleas Judge Clyde W. Vedder administered the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the six, then led them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

He congratulated the new citizens, then quoted late Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia about what makes an American. It's "the belief in the principles of freedom and equality that this country stands for," he said.

In memoriam: York County lost a well-known legal pioneer when Jane Alexander died Wednesday at the age of 90.

Alexander was the second woman to be admitted to the York County Bar Association, which happened in 1955, according to a letter to member attorneys from bar association President Anne Zerbe.

Zerbe noted that Alexander was a well-known legal pioneer who was "instantly recognizable" in her signature hats.

More:York County attorney Jane Alexander, 90, was a pioneer who helped women, poor

York attorney Jane Alexander was twice elected state representative and was deputy secretary of the state Department of Agriculture.

A graduate of the former Dillsburg High School, Alexander graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 1954 and served on the Dillsburg Borough Council from 1955 to 1959, according to records from the Pennsylvania Legislature. She also was a twice-elected state representative and served on the board of the Northern Joint School District, according to state records.

U.S. Senior District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo said she was sorry to hear of the death of a colleague and good friend.

"She was a trailblazer," Rambo told The York Dispatch. "I have admired her over the years."