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CAYUGA COUNTY, NY - Late last month, after responding to the third horse and buggy accident in three months, members of the Cayuga County Sheriff's Office sat down to discuss what had gone wrong on the road.
HUNTSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH - In Amish society, young people between the ages of 16 and 21 are encouraged to explore the outside world before choosing the simple life and that often includes the use of alcohol.
The photograph accompanying this column tells the story of a phenomenon that somehow escaped the Scribbler’s attention when he discussed big-wheeled Amish scooters a few years ago. One of two sources, both of whom want to remain anonymous, took the picture.
BRASHER FALLS, NY - With the number of Amish families growing in their community, members of the Brasher Town Board have adopted a resolution that asks the state commissioner of motor vehicles to require members of the Amish community to install slow-moving-vehicle emblems on all of their vehicles that are used on public roads and highways.
PINECRAFT, FL - Each winter, for close to a century now, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families have travelled from their homes in icy quarters of the U.S. and Canada to Pinecraft, a small, sunny neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida. Arriving on chartered buses specializing in the transportation of “Plain people” from areas such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, they rent modest bungalows and stay for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time. It’s vacation. For many, it’s the one time of the year that they spend with people from communities other than their own.
ST. LAWRENCE, NY - In 2015, state and St. Lawrence county officials met with representatives of the Amish community to discuss how to increase safety when it comes to horse-drawn buggies.The all-black buggies can be difficult to see by drivers at night as well as in poor traveling conditions.Injuries and deaths often occur when motorized vehicles strike buggies using the same roadways.
MADISON, WI - Gov. Scott Walker signed into law this week a bill drafted to make roads safer for both auto and buggy drivers, mainly by requiring more visibility for horse-drawn vehicles.Authored by Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, and Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, the bill mandates that animal-drawn vehicles have a rear flashing yellow or amber strobe light, in addition to the one white headlight and two red rear lights already required by law.
Illinois - The proposed Illinois Amish Heritage Center has the potential to do more than inform the outside world.The Illinois Amish Heritage Preservation Foundation has set an ambitious goal: to build a heritage center in southwestern Douglas County. Already, the group has more than half of the $1.7 million needed to bring its plan to fruition.On 5 acres along Illinois 133, the Illinois Amish Heritage Center is to become a living-history farm and museum, so modern-day visitors gain an appreciation and understanding of the unique life and culture of this Illinois faith community that dates back to the mid-19th century.
MIDDLEFIELD, OH - Two West Farmington men are among three suspects accused of stealing a freezer full of ice cream in an Amish community.The Geauga County Sheriff's Office says Raymond Welz, Jr. and Mark Boggess, both of West Farmington, as well as Michael Pascal of Middlefield, have been arrested in connection with the crime.Detectives say Welz and Pascal were charged on March 21 with breaking and entering and theft after they were caught on a trail camera allegedly stealing a freezer an Amish freezer house on Old State Road in Middlefield Township.
WEST CHESTER, PA - A Sadsbury man was formally sentenced Tuesday to state prison for a series of burglaries at Amish owned businesses in western Chester County and Lancaster County.Jesse Lewis Johnson, 30, had pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary, and single counts of robbery, simple assault, flight to avoid apprehension and fleeing and eluding police in January. His sentence of 7 1/2 to 15 years behind bars was dependent on whether he paid restitution to his victims. If he did not, he would have faced trial and possible additional time behind bars.
MOUNT HOPE, OH - A sobering commitment to nonresistance in wartime was the theme given the most attention at the 13th Anabaptist Identity Conference.Hours of lectures on the experiences of nonresistant Christians during the American Revolution, the Civil War and World War I made up the bulk of the talks given March 15-17 in the horse sale barn at the Mount Hope auction complex.
Palm Desert resident John Peters, 66, came from a confused family background—which, in anyone else, might have led to dysfunction, insecurity and/or any number of psychologically traumatic results. But this ebullient man has not only prevailed—he has triumphed.Peters was born the youngest of four children in Intercourse, Penn. (Yes, that’s really the name.) His father died when Peters was 6 months old—and his mother remarried and moved, leaving behind the four kids. His two brothers were sent to an orphanage school; his sister was placed in a similar school.“There were no social programs back then for a young mother like there are today,” Peters says gently.
While most tourists are planning their trips to smorgasbords and souvenir shops, the heart of Lancaster County gathers every year in the mud.It's mud sale season: The time of year where Amish and non-Amish (or "English") gather to bid on goods while eating hot dogs and drinking milkshakes.Farm equipment, hand-made quilts, horses, furniture, wagon wheels, a circular saw that "runs good" — it all can be yours at a mud sale, if you're quick enough with your bid.
SARASOTA, FL - There’s a subtle quilt pattern that runs through Sarasota’s newest hotel.The small squares of color, along with handmade furniture and a few tastefully hung straw hats behind the front desk, set a unique tone for the 98-room Carlisle Inn off Bahia Vista Street near Beneva Road, just northeast of its sister property, Der Dutchman restaurant.This is a simple but elegant place.
Iron bars slammed shut with a clang in March 1958. It was the sound of the old order colliding with the new world.Horse-drawn buggies filled parking spaces outside Wayne County Juvenile Court in Wooster as dozens of Amish people waited quietly for the proceedings to begin March 12. The men wore black suits, suspenders and long beards. The women sat in long black dresses, black bonnets and boots.
LOOGOOTEE, IN - Stanley Knepp hears it all the time from friends and acquaintances outside the Church.Questions about avoidance of technology, beard styles and the differences between Mennonites and the Amish.“If I don’t know the answer, I’ll tell you I don’t know the answer,” he says before breaking into a big grin. “It never gets old.”
EDEN TOWNSHIP, PA - State police say a man pretending to be a police officer briefly detained an Amish buggy in Eden Township on March 4.The buggy driver told police a car pulled behind him and flashed red and blue lights. When the buggy stopped, the car’s driver asked if the Amish man had alcohol or drugs before driving away.The unidentified man appeared to be in his 20s, and wore a white T-shirt and sunglasses. His vehicle was a white and black decommissioned police vehicle, possibly a Dodge Charger.
DOVER, DE - A Hartly man received two years in prison Thursday morning involving a fatal hit and run crash with an Amish buggy in western Kent County last year.Robert H. Eckeard, 29 years old when arrested on Sept. 6, 2017, will serve a year of Level II probation upon release. He was convicted of leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death. Other charges were not further prosecuted after the guilty plea was accepted by Superior Court Judge William L. Witham Jr.The Delaware State Police determined Eckeard fled from the scene after his vehicle struck a horse-drawn carriage on Halltown Road (Del. 8) near the intersection of Hartly Road (Del. 44) on Aug. 31, 2017. Police said the buggy was attempting to make a left turn when struck.
Many people think of the Amish as living without. These devout communities, predominantly located in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, go without cars, TVs, computers, phones or even the electricity needed to run so much of 21st century gadgetry. But what researchers who have studied them have found is what the Amish have a surplus of: good health in late life. The average American life expectancy is currently just under 79 years. Back in 1900, it was only 47, but for early–20th century Amish it was already greater than 70. Over the decades, most Americans have caught up in overall life expectancy, but the Amish still have a significant edge in late-life health, with lower rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more. So how do they do it?
TEXAS - It may not be in the headlines much any more, but months after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in August 2017, the area is still recovering, and Mennonites and Amish from all over the United States are quietly contributing to those recovery efforts.Small towns, in particular, have suffered in the aftermath of Harvey's destruction without much help from the outside world."It didn't take long for us to realize this was where we were supposed to be for now," Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Executive Director Kevin King said in a statement in September. "And we are there for a lot of reasons. There is tremendous need. These are towns that are often last on the list. They become first on our list."
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH - An Amish man hauling lumber on a horse-drawn trailer was killed Thursday, reports say.The accident occurred Thursday afternoon on Ohio 89 in Ashland County, the Mansfield News Journal reports. Meno L. Yoder, 51, of Polk, was hauling a stack of flat lumber on the trailer when it went off the right side of the road.
VAN BUREN COUNTY, MI - When it comes to horsepower, the Amish have a lot of it. Police are warning motorists, though, that they need the roads just as much as drivers do."A lot of these Amish people are moving into the township and the community we need to raise awareness early on before there is a problem,” said Chief Derek Babcock with the Bangor Fire Department.Babcock and Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott are teaming up. They said Amish buggy's have the same rights to the road as farm equipment and motorcycles.
SUGAR GROVE TOWNSHIP, PA - An eight-year conflict has left a Pennsylvania family struggling to practice their faith against a sewage ordinance in Sugar Grove Township, Pennsylvania. Joseph and Barbara Yoder, an Old Order Amish family, have been ordered by local courts to install an electric pump in their outhouse, an action that directly contradicts their religious beliefs.Court documents from the original 2016 suit indicate that the Yoder family had previously been exempted in 2008 from the city’s demand that they connect their outhouse to the local power grid if the family paid both the connection fees and sewer charges along with monthly charges. Although the family kept up with these demands, in December 2010 the sewage authority filed a municipal claim against the Yoder’s, allegedly for “nonpayment of sewer charges.”
MADISON, WI - A new law authored by a pair of local lawmakers to ensure more safety on our roadways was passed by the State Assembly on Tuesday. State Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) worked together on the bill, and Spiros says AB 475 requires all animal-drawn vehicles, such as those used by the Amish and Mennonite communities, to have two amber blinking or strobe lights mounted on the rear of the vehicle.