Monthly Archives: October 2011

‘Occupy’ movement comes to York, led by ‘spirit fingers’

Originally published on Page A1 of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Thursday, October 13, 2011.

***Here’s what Sunday editor Scott Blanchard said about this article in his blog, YDR Storytelling: “This piece could have been dry; it’s anything but”

Daily Record/Sunday News

They raised their arms, and wiggled their fingers — their “spirit fingers,” if

Those present at Occupy York's first meeting used jazz hands to show their agreement with decisions being made.© 2011 York Daily Record/Sunday News -- Lauren Boyer

you will.

That’s protester hand-speak for “I agree.”

And with that gesture — coveted by cheerleading squads — the national Occupy Wall Street movement arrived in York Wednesday night, welcomed by more than 50 people gathered in the United Auto Workers hall in West Manchester Township. Continue reading


COLUMN: Confessions of a former Hershey Park mascot

Originally published in the Business Section of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Sunday, May 15, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

People sometimes tell me I’m a character. But they don’t know the half of it.

It was my first job title.

For my first job, I spent two summers dressed as a candy bar at Hersheypark.

For two years, I signed autographs and frolicked around Hersheypark as a life-size mock-up of the Hershey Kiss, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, and, yes, sometimes the York Peppermint Pattie.

It’s sort of creepy, if you think about it.
Continue reading

COLUMN: Anybody want to rent my mom?

Originally published in the Business Section of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Sunday, June 26, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

In this harsh economy, I’ve considered ways to supplement my lucrative

This is my mom and I -- two Penn State graduates -- after I was honored as Penn State College of Communications student marshal for commencement December 2009.

reporter wages.

I looked into part-time jobs. I thought about freelance writing. That’s when I stumbled upon the mother of all  business opportunities:

Momstitution. I’m going to rent out my mom, Ann. She’s awesome.

Hear me out.
Continue reading

The business of ‘manscaping’ in York County: ‘Guys are vain, too’

Originally published on Page A1 of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Sunday, February 27, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

In the mirror, Thomas Arendt cringes at his crow’s feet and the creases around

Thomas Arendt of Spring Grove has Radiesse injected under his skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles at Lebo Skin Care. © 2011 York Daily Record/Sunday News -- Kate Penn

his lips. Over time, they’ve deepened, like cracks in the road.

“Frown like you’re angry,” Bethann Mallon, an aesthetic registered nurse, instructs Arendt before frosting his cheeks with cream to dull the impending pain.

He doesn’t flinch as Mallon pierces his skin one-by-one with syringes filled with wrinkle-reducers — Radiesse, Botox and Juvederm. “I don’t have pain,” Arendt tells Mallon, insisting that the cream isn’t necessary. “You’re going to make me beautiful.”

But there’s no red carpet in Arendt’s future. No catwalks. No cameras.

He is a 74-year-old Spring Grove retiree — a proud grandfather two times over. He works behind the counter of a Tom’s convenience store.

“It’s vanity, I guess,” Arendt says, reclining into a beige chaise at Lébo Skin Care Center in York Township. “Guys are vain, too, whether we admit it or not.”

This same narcissism, once reserved for Hollywood heartthrobs, is jumping off the pages of GQ and into the Average Joe.

The industry shift has more York County men tossing out the “sissy” stigma and heading to places like Lébo, where men account for more than 30 percent of the patient base compared to 5 to 10 percent 11 years ago when the office first opened, said the business’s president, Hillary Lebouitz-Schaefer.

“Every year we get a little bit more,” said Lebouitz-Schaefer, a medical aesthetician. “The media is showing it’s OK for a man to take care of himself. It’s not just a woman thing. It’s an important part of health.”

Most male clients come to Lébo for tattoo removal, she said. But Lebouitz-Schaefer has other clients who seek services ranging from microdermabrasion to spider vein removal, called sclerotherapy.

For procedures unfathomable to previous generations, men unbutton shirts — and occasionally drop trousers — in the name of “ manscaping,” meticulous bodily hedge-trimming.

A daring few remove spare hair down there. It’s called a “Brazilian,” and it’s no longer just for women, said Theresa Haggerty, owner of bare Skin Care & Laser Center in Penn Township.

Haggerty targets this emerging hair removal market. A handful of men gathered to sip beer and learn about her company’s services at her first “Guys Night Out” event on Jan. 27.

“It’s embarrassing,” she said. “Men want to feel free to take their shirts off and not feel intimidated by a jungle of hair.”

Worth the cost

Popular culture reveals a different scene 30 years ago. In the 1980s, bushy bods epitomized manhood, popularized by famous follicles including those of “Magnum, P.I.” star Tom Selleck.

But the early 2000s brought shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which ushered in the era of the “metrosexual,” a heterosexual man willing to drop hard currency on fashion and excess grooming.

And beauty isn’t cheap.

In Arendt’s case, a face-full of youth could cost about $2,600, Mallon said. Injections on forehead creases alone total between $300 and $400, she said.

One of Haggerty’s clients, Ray Wenzel, 65, of Hanover, spent $500 for three laser sessions to remove brown liver spots from the tops of his hands, which he said, looked like “rotten bananas.”

But the grandfather, a retired Russian linguist for the U.S. Department of Defense, doesn’t view cosmetic procedures as treason against masculinity.

“It was about vanity. What have I else? It wasn’t for health reasons,” Wenzel said. “I acknowledge what it is. It is purely ego.”

According to Haggerty’s website, one laser treatment session can cost $55 to more than $400, depending on the region being zapped.

Laser treatments use variable pulsed light, which interacts with melanin, a pigment found in hair. The light heats the hair and damages the entire follicle, eliminating its ability to grow back.

It is the answer to Jesse Plushanski’s prayers. More than $1,000 later, the once-hairy 41-year-old from Westminster, Md., is “just tweaking things here and there,” he said.

A chef in Gettysburg, Plushanski spent his tax refund last year on five treatments to remove the back hair that’s slowly thickened since he turned 16.

“It just makes me feel better,” he said. “I can go outside without scaring the neighbors. I can walk around without being Sasquatch.”

Shaving, he said, didn’t cut it. “I needed someone to get my back,” he said. “I’m not a contortionist.”

The laser, he said, felt like hundreds of snaps with a warm rubber band. But it’s “worth the discomfort,” added Haggerty, who carved out a permanent mustache on her husband Scott’s face.

He was tired of daily shaving. She was tired of “prickle,” she said, adding that “it interferes with romance.”

‘More styling now’

It’s evident — now more than ever — that beauty is a unisex business, said Angela Watson, spokeswoman for Empire Beauty Schools, an 80-year-old institution that operates 102 locations in 21 states.

The change is reflected in Empire’s slight climb in male enrollment from 8.4 percent in 2008-2009 to 9.6 percent today, Watson said.

In fact, more salon chains, like the athletic-themed Sports Clips, are geared toward male clients, she said. The Pottsville-based academy recognizes the industry’s gender shift in its “Masters of Beauty” program, which helps licensed cosmetologists update their skills for changing fads.

Empire partnered with former TLC network’s “What Not To Wear” hairstyling pro Nick Arrojo to update cosmetologists’ skills, including more and more popular men’s cuts.

At Impressions Hairstyling Salon and Tanning, male clientele has increased from 25 percent to about 40 percent since the shop opened in 1990, owner Lisa Carr said.

Carr doesn’t “color” men’s hair. “Men don’t like that word,” she said. “I call it blending instead.”

She earned her cosmetology license in the 1980s, when many male styles, like fades and clipper cuts, weren’t taught in school, she said.

“There’s more styling now,” she said. Men are learning that appearance means a lot.

A regular at Carr’s salon, Stan Bunsick of Hellam Township isn’t there to get his ears lowered.

The 62-year-old office equipment salesman visits, typically twice a week, to catch some rays — “warm my bones,” he said.

“It makes me feel good,” Bunsick said. “When you feel good, you’re more alive.”

COLUMN: Mae on tap for 43 years and counting

Originally published in the Business Section of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Sunday, March 20, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

Maybe it was the DARE program or my parents’ stern warnings about alcoholism, but something seemed disconcerting about watching people crack

At 4'11" Mae Kreiger, age 86, is dwarfed by the taps at the White Rose. © 2011 York Daily Record/Sunday News -- Paul Kuehnel

open beers before the crack of dawn.

Reluctantly, I crawled out of bed, half-dreading the chilly, four-block trek between my house and Stogies, the White Rose Bar & Grill smoking lounge.

But I wanted to meet her.  Mae Kreiger, that is. She’s the 86-year-old bartender who unlocks the place at 5:30 a.m. weekdays, welcoming third-shift workers and those seeking a little something extra in their morning coffee.

Continue reading

Meet the York County lawyers who lunch

Originally published on Page A1 of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Monday, July 18, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

They come in different flavors — civil, criminal, family.

A slightly sweaty Judge Harry Ness stops by Central Market for a sandwich. To stay active, he spends three lunch breaks a week walking four miles on the York County Rail Trail with Judge Thomas Kelly. DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - LAUREN BOYER

One of them goes by “your honor.”

But when the clock strikes noon five days a week, they clutch menus around a York city lunch table, in the name of empty stomachs and colorful conversation.

Even after 15 years, the witty banter, jokes and idea-sharing remains as hearty as their appetites.

“We have networking and comraderie that you can’t get sitting at your desk,” said attorney Kathleen Prendergast, munching on a salad in Central Market recently.

Some might consider it a luxury in an age of shrinking lunch hours.

The average lunch break is 20 to 40 minutes, according to a CareerBuilder survey that also found 32 percent of workers taking less than a half-hour for lunch. Continue reading

Toilet paper goes tubeless: Some York countians say they would miss the cardboard core

Originally published on Page A1 of the York Daily Record/Sunday News on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

Daily Record/Sunday News

It’s always been there. Through thick and thin, you could always count on it until the end — of the  toilet  paper roll.

But things are changing. Kimberly-Clark has begun testing sales of the Scott Naturals Tube-Free brand of TP that doesn’t need a cardboard core to keep the good times rolling.

It’s the biggest change seen by  toilet  paper users since the roll first appeared in the 1800s. Continue reading