Editor’s note: This is one of five articles highlighting coverage from our hyper-local papers.
As the year comes to a close, the staff of the Lower Bucks Times wanted to take a look back at our coverage in your communities over the past year. While some events had county-wide or even global implications, we thought it best to reflect on the stories unique to your neighborhoods, and the people who live there.
This is the 2016 Year in Review:
Tawanka Elementary School constructed in Lower Southampton
Neshaminy School District placed the cornerstone of the district-wide consolidation plan in Lower Southampton.
At the start of the 2016-2017 school year, Tawanka Elementary School opened on Brownsville Road.
The 111,800-square-foot facility is designed to house 900 students throughout the district, complete with 40 classrooms separated into “pods” designated for each grade level.
The school includes a state-of-the-art library, athletic facilities and modern technology.
The district also hired a new superintendent, Joseph Jones III, who previously worked as superintendent of Woodbury City Public Schools in New Jersey since 2005.
“I think one of the healthy things for an organization to have is that kind of long-term leadership,” Jones said in his first meeting with the Neshaminy community.
Sculpture Garden opens in Southampton
Bucks County got its own sculpture garden this year thanks to the owner of Mad Golfer Golf Club on Street Road.
Inspired by New Jersey’s Grounds for Sculpture, Kal Katz, a resident of Newtown, turned the putting green behind his pro shop into an art exhibit, where he displayed about 30 sculpture works by local artists beginning in the summer.
Katz called the idea Art Community Experience, inviting locals and especially students to come check out the art. They were able to get up close, even touch the sculpture work in the garden.
“I decided, since I have the land here, that I was going to take it and turn it into a mini Grounds For Sculpture,” Katz said.
Katz said that he plans to expand on the idea in the future.
Feasterville Business Association honors military veterans
The Feasterville Business Association has made a concentrated effort to honor locals who served in branches of the United States military this year with ceremonies at the Lower Southampton Township Building.
The program honored locals like U.S. Army Specialist Sage Loitfellner and U.S. Navy Petty Officer Frank C. Leonhardt as they returned home from deployments overseas.
“The business association has an ongoing project to recognize servicemen from our township to make the public aware of who’s serving their community,” said William Wiegman, who is president of the Feasterville Business Association and former Lower Southampton Police Chief, during one of the ceremonies.
Members of Feasterville Business Association presented vets with their military unit flags, displayed at the township building during their deployments, and replaced them with American flags embroidered with their names at the Lower Southampton Wall of Fame.
Real-life Rosie the Riveter joins Lower Southampton’s July 4 parade
To go with this year’s “Celebrating the Sights and Sounds of the U.S.A.” theme, Lower Southampton’s longstanding July 4th parade featured 91-year-old Mae Krier.
A Levittown native, Krier is recognized as a real-life “Rosie the Riveter,” one of the millions of women who worked in factories and shipyards during WWII.
Krier herself worked at the Boeing Company manufacturing plant in Seattle, Washington. Starting there when she was 17, she and her sister, Lyola, built the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.
Now, she’s been working for years to ensure Rosie the Riveters — named after the iconic character in advertisements and songs during the war — are recognized for their role in the country’s history
“I’m very proud of the role we played,” said Krier. “That was amazing, what the women did. We kicked in the doors and showed women were just as capable of doing those jobs.”
Preteen cancer survivor takes over Rita’s Water Ice
Twelve-year-old Bridget Smith became CEO of Rita’s Water Ice this summer.
Her tenure lasted only a day, but Smith learned about all aspects of the company alongside Rita’s usual CEO, Jeff Moody, from sitting in on meetings at the company’s Trevose headquarters to learning how to run a franchise.
Together, they announced the launch of this year’s Paper Lemon Fundraiser, which benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for pediatric cancer research — a cause close to home for Smith.
The New Jersey native was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was 3 years old. After several failed chemotherapy cycles and two major surgeries over five years, doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said her cancer was in remission in 2012.
She has been cancer-free since.
“This is the third year we’ve done this, the CEO of the day … It’s my favorite day of the year,” Moody said, joking that it’s nice to have the day off.
“Her story is remarkable, to overcome this at such a young age.”
Trevose Horticultural Society goes to the beach for 93rd annual flower show
The Trevose Horticultural Society’s annual standard flower show returned to the auditorium at St. Ephrem Catholic Church for a two-day run in August
Though much smaller than the Philadelphia Flower Show, which takes over the Pennsylvania Convention Center for a full week each spring, this show has consistently displayed about 600 entries in each of the last few years.
That trend continued with this year’s “Surf’s Up” theme.
Show Chairperson Karen Wychock of Warrington won the NGC Award of Design Excellence and the Designer’s Choice Award for her “Pipeline” display.
She also earned the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania Award of Special Recognition for her season table floor design called “Beach Blanket Bingo,” and the society’s Sweepstakes Design trophy for most blue ribbons in the Artistic Design Division.
The show offers a glimpse into what locals can do and how they can get involved in it.
“If they want to come to a meeting or learn something more about gardening or just to admire the work at the show, we’re there as a resource,” Wychock said.