This week’s good stuff: Meiser’s life in athletics, a tourism boom and a surprise rare book donation [editorial] | Our opinion

THE PROBLEM: Today is Friday, the day we take a few moments to highlight the good news in Lancaster County and the surrounding area. Some of these are welcome developments on the economic front or for neighborhoods in the region. Others are local stories of success, perseverance, compassion and creativity that represent welcome points of light in the third year of the pandemic and with other disturbing developments shrouding our nation and the world this fall. All of this uplifting news deserves greater attention.

We begin by congratulating Patricia Hofmann Meiser, a graduate of JP McCaskey High School, who received this year’s George W. Kirchner Memorial Award from the Lancaster Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association and the Lancaster County Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1974, two years after the passage of historic federal Title IX law, Meiser was promoted to coach women’s basketball at Penn State University. Title IX prohibits the exclusion of any person on the basis of sex from participation in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. As such, it was intended to level the playing field. And so Meiser was hired with the expectation from Penn State that increased funding for women’s sports would also mean increased time spent traveling, recruiting and build a national quality program.

“It was fascinating, because the world, the world of Title IX, was all around us,” Meiser said. “Things were changing so fast.”

And Meiser has become an important part of that world for more than four decades.

Meiser ‘made Penn State one of the top 20 programs nationally’, LNP | LancasterOnline’s Mike Gross wrote. “His teams have gone 92-52 in six seasons,” making the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women’s national championship tournament every year.

In 1978, Meiser was a finalist for National Coach of the Year.

After her success as a coach, she turned to sports administration.

“She became associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator at the University of Connecticut in 1983,” Gross wrote. “A decade later, she became one of only 12 female Division I athletic directors nationwide at the University of Hartford.”

Meiser was involved in hiring two great women’s college basketball coaches – Geno Auriemma in Connecticut and Jennifer Rizzotti in Hartford.

And she’s made her mark on college athletics in countless other ways over the years. The McCaskey graduate’s pioneering career is one that Lancaster County can be very proud of.

In other good things:

— There was great news for Lancaster County’s economy and businesses in an LNP | LancasterOnline’s Lisa Scheid in Sunday’s edition: Tourism in the county is booming.

This is a welcome and necessary development after the recession, especially in 2020, at the start of this long pandemic.

“Lancaster County tourism is on track for another record year despite an ongoing struggle to recruit workers and fewer coach travelers,” Scheid wrote. “Some tourism measures have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, continuing a trend that began in 2021.”

All of this is encouraging for those who manage and work at hotels, restaurants, attractions and events such as the recent Lancaster Balloon Festival and Country Fair near Bird-in-Hand.

To help make this happen, there has been significant work by those who market Lancaster County beyond our borders.

Discover Lancaster has revamped its website and social media marketing strategies, Scheid reported. Podcast advertising and digital ads now feature more prominently in the mix. Part of the funds used to promote the county comes from the US bailout.

“National trends toward family travel, romantic travel, and road trips play into Lancaster’s strengths,” Scheid noted.

By living here and enjoying all the county has to offer, including the outdoor recreation opportunities that have been added or improved over the past year, we are already aware of the quality of the county. We’re glad the rest of the East Coast – and beyond – are rediscovering this too.

— As book lovers, we couldn’t let go of the LNP | Gayle Johnson, LancasterOnline correspondent, on Douglas Dannay and his remarkable gift to the Lancaster Public Library.

Dannay, who died June 17 in Mount Joy, donated an incredibly valuable collection of rare books – 20 boxes worth – to the library. So far, books that have been appraised and sold through online auctions have earned the library more than $16,000 for library operations, Johnson reported.

Dannay’s father was Frederic Dannay, one half of the writing staff who for years wrote popular detective stories under the pseudonym Ellery Queen (Manfred Bennington Lee was the other author).

The collection donated by Douglas Dannay contained highly sought-after titles.

“Library volunteers discovered volumes primarily from Arkham House Publishers, which in 1939 began printing the works of American author HP Lovecraft and other writers of what was then called ‘the weird fiction,'” Johnson wrote. “They found titles such as ‘The Abominations of Yondo’ by Clark Ashton Smith. This one sold for $935 on eBay, where the library sells the rarest books.

“He was a man who really loved his books,” Lancaster Public Library volunteer Pat Ditzler said of Douglas Dannay.

And as he approached the end of his life, he also showed his love for public libraries. Because its collection – which is always carefully sorted – provides a great financial boost to the Lancaster Public Library and all those in the county who use it.

— Finally, more than 150 county high school students had the opportunity to explore possible healthcare careers during a program at Lancaster General Hospital earlier this month, LNP | LancasterOnline’s Scheid reported.

The “Day in the Life” event offered students the opportunity to shadow professionals.

“Students rotated through eight hands-on activities representing nursing, respiratory therapy, physical medicine, pharmacy, surgical technology, cardiology, radiology, and laboratory services in the hospital,” reported Scheid.

We commend those who organized this event and those from area high schools who helped their students get involved.

As we have learned, especially in recent years, healthcare workers are an essential part of the community. Everything must be done to encourage young people who might have an interest in doing such work. They will become the next generation of professionals looking after our well-being.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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