EDITORIAL: Thumbs up for farmers and Dr. Levine

York Dispatch Editorial Board

Thumbs up to York County's Heartland Agricultural Relief Team, which spread the love last weekend by spreading some hay.

A group from HART left from Lower Windsor Township on Saturday to drive to Jackson, Kentucky, with five trailers filled with 150,000 pounds of donated hay.

Jackson, in central Kentucky, was hit hard by flash floods on March 1, and the York County group quickly got its volunteers working on gathering supplies and arranging travel.

"When these floods happen, everybody concentrates on the little towns because that's were the population is. Nobody helps the farmers out much; that's why we concentrate on the farmers," HART founder Jon Culp said.

HART became a nonprofit in March 2019, and the organization has since been traveling throughout the country extending aid specifically to farmers.

HART's relief effort hasn't ended. Culp said he and a few volunteers will go to Jackson on April 9 for seven days to help farmers with cleanup and repair and to "pretty much get their lives put back together." 

Culp said those wishing to help can donate or volunteer at https://hartpa.org/.

Speaking of farmers, thumbs up also to the group that put together a tractor parade to cheer up Marlyn Miller.

The 89¾-year-old Miller is well known around his Hellam Township farm for transporting hay bales by tractor to auction, for coming up with the idea of Drive Your Tractor to Church Day a few years ago and for driving a school bus in the community.

Miller had a stroke in November, daughter Gen Moore said, and he hasn't gotten outside much lately because it's been too cold. So Justin and Carol Hammers got the idea to bring his community to Miller. 

On Sunday, Miller sat in the sun and watched in delight as 63 tractors drove down his long driveway.

"I thought it was just going to be a handful of tractors," Justin Hammers said. "But then I started getting all these calls and texts and thought, 'Wow — this really blew up.' It was amazing."

An Velociraptor is one of the dinosaurs featured in the Jurassic Wonder Dinosaur Drive-Thru at the York Fairgrounds Sunday, March 21, 2021. The display featured animatronic dinosaur figures. The event ran through the weekend. Bill Kalina photo

Thumbs down to the people who stole two animatronic dinosaurs from a drive-thru show at the York Expo Center on Saturday night and turned them into party crashers.

Ted Hill of Jurassic Wonder discovered Sunday that a raptor and a baby T-rex were missing from his display. 

Hill offered a reward for the return of the dinosaurs, and he got several tips about their whereabouts, which he passed on to West Manchester Township Police.

When Officer Justin Hobbs went to the house, the residents said they had had a gathering the night before, and when they woke up, the dinosaurs were there.

Hill isn't pressing charges, he said.

"They look much happier now," Hill said of the safe return of his dinosaurs. "A little stressed, but they're going to be OK."

Dr. Rachel Levine testifies before a Senate committee on Capitol Hill in Washington in February. Voting mostly along party lines, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Levine to be assistant secretary of health. She is the first openly transgender federal official to win Senate confirmation.

Thumbs up for Dr. Rachel Levine, who was confirmed Wednesday as the U.S. assistant secretary of health.

Levine, formerly the Pennsylvania secretary of health, is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.

The vote of 52-48 ran mostly on party lines, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining the Democratic senators in the majority.

Levine has endured waves of transphobia since she was appointed as the state's physician general by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2015, and her confirmation hearings provided no relief. She responded to confrontational questioning from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on health care for transgender minors with a seemingly honest offer to convey more information to a senator who obviously was more interested in striking blows against the trans community than learning more about the situations many find themselves in.

As she moves into a higher level of government, we hope Levine will continue to face down those who deride trans people and continue as a role model for the community.