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Success dependent upon many

By Staff | Jul 15, 2016

Shepherdstown lucked out again with the weather on July 4th this year and we managed to get through all of the town’s parade and most of the picnic that followed without any of the rain that had been forecast. And the cool weather was a real plus.

In the end, the parade included 74 entries, which was a new record. And both the parade and picnic drew good crowds.

As usual, lots of people deserve credit for making the parade and picnic a success.

Thanks are due to all of the people, literally hundreds, who organized and participated in the many different units that marched in the parade: from Martinsburg’s Civil Air Patrol Squadron, which provided the color guard that led the parade to the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, which closed out the parade. It was great to see more floats this time; they’re a lot of work but they add a lot of fun to the occasion.

Thanks are also due to the many hundreds more who turned out for both the parade and picnic. It’s impressive to see so many people take an interest in our town and its events.

As always, we also want to thank Shepherdstown’s elected officials, Mayor Jim Auxer, Recorder Lori Robertson, and other council members, for being so supportive of our 4th of July efforts. And the same goes for the town hall staff and our police and fire departments.

Finally, we want to thank the following individuals for volunteering time and donating funds, materials, and services to help with the parade and picnic. Many, but by no means all, are members of the Shepherdstown Rotary Club. Hopefully this list includes everyone who helped, but so many were involved that we may have missed some.


Holly Morgan Frye and Peter Smith, who organized the parade.

Todd Coyle, parade announcer.

Michele Maiden and Dann Vreugdenhil, parade photographers.

Other parade volunteers:

Jacob Bailes; Kahlen Browning; Debbie Dickinson; Briar Dillow; Donovan Frye; Theresa Johnson; David Manthos; Dore Ann Miljour; Howard Mills; Paige Palmer; Sandy Sponaugle; Tabitha Sponaugle; Rie Wilson.

Chef Miriam Conroy, who planned and directed all the food and drink service at the picnic, and her husband, Chris.

Walt Eifert, who played a major role in overall picnic planning and then supervised its setup and, with his wife, Kim, helped staff it.

Sandy Brown, who organized and directed the picnic’s children’s activities, with help from Shelly Feist, Christy Hagerty, David Leonard, Vaida Manthos, Wendy and Stan Mopsik and Jenny Seeley.

Other picnic volunteers:

Lillian Anderson; Justin Anderson; Terry Anderson; Richard Anson; Erwin Asam; Kathryn Burns; Steve Campbell; Michelle and Richard Casucccio; Holly Frye; Elizabeth Granzow; Gary Heichel; Karen Kinnett; Dick Klein; Paul Kradel; Jack Lantzy; Monica Lockett; David and Vaida Manthos; Greg Mason; Tom Miller; Dave Miljour; Charles Nieman; Nicole Saunders-Meski; Alex Shaw; Peter Smith; Sandy Sponaugle; Tabitha Sponaugle; Paul Woods.


Doug Alexander; Erwin Asam, Sandy Brown; Michelle Casuccio; Walt Eifert; Gary Heichel; Jefferson Distributing; Dick Klein; Paul Kradel; Ann Marie Legried; Monica Lockett; Dave Miljour; Tom Miller; Carl Moore; Dana Orsini; and Progressive Printing.

We say this every year because it’s true: Shepherdstown is a great place to live, in no small part because it includes so many enthusiastic, community-spirited people! Let’s all do our best to keep it that way in the years ahead!

Sincerely yours,

The officers and members of

The Rotary Club of Shepherdstown

Success dependent upon many

By Staff | Jul 15, 2016

Children were full of questions and delight at a Shepherdstown Library’s summer program called, Critters and Conservation, as Melissa Kowalski brought a few of her critters for show and tell.

Kowalski owns the business, Critters and Conservation and operates out of her home in Ranson.

The children first met and learned all about a four-foot, 10 year old ball python named Moonlight. Kowalski explained that those snakes curl into a ball and hide their heads when they are frightened, and are aptly named for this action.

She went on to talk about how these snakes smell the air, eat, sleep and have young. A few of the children said they didn’t like snakes, but Kowalski explained that they are an important part of the cycle for population control, rodents in particular.

Kowalski continued the show with a blue-tongued skink lizard, named Zelda, a Russian tortoise named, Boris, an African pygmy hedgehog named, Apple and a green aracari toucan named Squishy, who the kids got to pet at the end of the show.

Kowalski has a deep love for animals and conservation.

“Part of the reason I do these shows,” said Kowalski, “is that I hope children will remember these animals when they grow up and are able vote for conservation issues. The hands-on aspect really brings it to life for these kids.”

Kowalski has over 25 species of animals at her home, not including insects.

She said she started out as primarily a rescue facility for animals that people no longer wanted or could not provide adequate care for.

“I get a lot of my animals from classified ads where people are giving up pets. I try to encourage that (re-homing) because there are a lot of parrots and reptiles that need homes, not just dogs and cats,” said Kowalski.

“There’s a big crisis now with parrots actually, because they live so long and people aren’t prepared for that. People also buy them because they’re beautiful, but then they realize that they bite and scream and make a mess. Some don’t want to deal with that.”

Kowalski said she has always loved and learned about animals and is an expert on her own animals.

“As a kid, I brought home all the strays and injured wildlife. I even had a pet sitting business. I’ve tried to learn as much as possible about different kinds of animals.”

“People will often ask me about getting various pets and I will help and encourage them to really do their research before buying a pet and steer them in the right direction,” said Kowalski.

“Not everyone can handle a 15 foot snake like a constrictor. Some people are good at it and have large collections, but it’s definitely not for everyone.”

Kowalski has been taking her show on the road for 10 years, visiting libraries, schools, camps, boy scouts, church groups and more.

For information on her business, visit www.crittersandconservation.com. To learn about upcoming library programs call the Shepherdstown library at 304-876-2783 or view their website, www.lib.shepherdstown.wv.us.