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WHITEMARSH -- Among the numerous casualties of the coronavirus pandemic – weddings. These days, the need for “social distancing” and all the other adjustments triggered by COVID-19 are huge concerns for prospective brides and grooms. But dealing with disrupted marriage plans during tough times is nothing new for some of us.

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With mandated shutdowns impacting some businesses, such as gyms, you might be in a bit of a tizzy figuring out the best way to keep up your workout routine since you no longer have access to the fitness equipment and accessories you’re used to.

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As we all sit at home from the effects of the pandemic coronavirus, let us turn to Jesus Christ our Savior to help us “through the desert” during this time of Lent. Do not forget that we are still wandering and confused in these times of Lent as Moses and the Jews who were in the desert for 40 years and Jesus who was praying in the desert for 40 days. It is the time to take seriously our task of “spring cleaning” as we ask God for forgiveness and read the Gospel. In fact, we were told this on Ash Wednesday when we received ashes: “Repent and believe in the Gospel!”

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HAVERFORD — When the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Observance Association issued the official statement on Tuesday announcing the 2020 Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade and all related events on Sunday would be cancelled “out of general concern for the well-being of everyone,” one local family quickly restructured its St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebratory events. The wearing of the green must go on!

Jesse Robinson, center, the development director for CADES in Swarthmore, spoke to the Springfield Lions’ Club members at their last dinner meeting.  CADES stands for Children and Adult Disability and Educational Services.  For more information about CADES, contact http://www.cades.org.  Lio…

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PLYMOUTH -- There were plenty of naysayers when plans for Greater Plymouth Community Center went public more than two decades ago. But as township officials prepare to celebrate GPCC’s 20th anniversary with festivities on March 28 and April 8, it’s clear the Jolly Road recreation complex has been a rousing success. In fact, as Plymouth spokesmen note, the center has served as a template for others throughout Pennsylvania and well beyond.

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With hints of spring in the air, organized walking groups offer a wonderful opportunity to explore the outdoors and see all that nature has to offer. While one might prefer to head out with the aim to enjoy some peace and solitude, and the hope of hearing and spotting some returning songbirds, there are also opportunities to mix and mingle.

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Many Pennsylvania seniors who require care at home may have that care paid for by Medicaid. If the patient qualifies both financially (gross income under $2,349 per month, assets of $8,000 or less) and medically (nursing facility clinically eligible), services may be provided through what was formerly called the waiver program. However, since Community Health Choices (CHC) has been introduced in the entire Commonwealth as of January 1, 2020, the payer for such care recipients is an MCO or managed care organization.

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Every March, I look forward to sharing with you some of the cool stuff I’ve learned at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Unfortunately, this year, at the last minute, I was unable to attend. So, I’m sorry to say that I have no nuggets of wisdom or exciting innovations from the show to relate. A sad turn of events, certainly; but happily, there’s never a shortage of interesting, informative gardening topics to explore here. And I often don’t even have to dig them all up myself. Sometimes readers and friends bring things to my attention.

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The work displayed in Colonial School District’s 2020 Art Show, scheduled to open to the public March 18 at 6:30 p.m., ranges from originals by fledgling artists in CSD’s kindergartens to the more evolved visuals created by teens in Plymouth Whitemarsh High School’s advanced art classes. Among the latter, the clean lines and direct messaging of PW senior Fatima Alsamakk’s design for the exhibit’s invitation and program: A camera trained on a pair of mountain peaks, chosen for its effectiveness in conveying the show’s “Future Ready” theme.

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It’s a Wednesday evening and the Towne Book Center in Collegeville is quiet. One woman is seated at a table near the store’s wine bar, absorbed in a book. Within a few minutes, several more women enter the store. They are all carrying the same book and, before long, they take too take seats near the wine bar and begin chatting.

SOUTH COVENTRY — The Owen J. Roberts High School Spring Musical Club will present "High School Musical On Stage." For this production, art imitates life as both the high school and shows mascots are the Wildcats! The story covers five days at the fictional East High School. Troy Bolton, the star athlete falls for the new girl, Gabriella Montez. The school cliques don’t approve of this new relationship and try to keep them apart. At the same time, thespians Sharpay Evans and her brother Ryan are plotting to prevent them from landing parts that they are auditioning for in the schools high school musical. Featured songs are "Stick To The Status Quo" and "Get’cha Head In The Game."The performances take place at the Owen J. Roberts High School auditorium on March 19, 20, 21 at 7 p.m. and on March 22 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets for these performances can be purchased at www.itickets.com/events/442710@html or at the door.Additionally, there will be a Veteran’s Appreciation performance on March  18 at 7 p.m. General admission tickets for this performance will be available at the door. Veterans are invited to attend for free. All other tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and students.

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CONSHOHOCKEN — The 14th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Conshohocken is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020 beginning at 2 p.m. The parade has grown into one of the biggest events in Montgomery County and last year about 30,000 people lined the one-mile Fayette Street route.

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It’s the beginning of March, and we’re looking at a stretch with daytime temperatures forecast to reach a spring-like 60 degrees. Lovely, right? And, certainly, a cause to celebrate? I know so many people who are cheered by this. Yet, there are also those of us who love the deep cold of winter; better yet, when the slanted sunlight reflects off a covering of snow, making everything sparkle. Personally, I have missed winter this year.

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Two Pottstown-area natives figured prominently in the investigations launched into the death of Oscar Booz, a Bucks County youth who was hazed by upper classmen at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

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Oscar Booz left his parents’ southeastern Pennsylvania home in June 1898 and traveled to West Point, N.Y., to take his place in the incoming class of the United States Military Academy. Thousands of young men had applied for admittance, so Booz’s appointment was a great honor. His sister recalled when he left home, “His spirits were buoyant because of the glorious career he felt he had before him.”

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Medicare beneficiaries have a benefit, often underused, that will provide intermittent skilled care at home if the beneficiary meets certain criteria, and has a physician order for care. This care is extremely important, both temporarily to provide physical therapy or occupational therapy at home, oversight by a skilled nurse, or assistance of an aide, or to provide continued skilled care and bathing assistance for those with serious chronic illnesses. However, some beneficiaries who are utilizing needed skilled care at home under their Medicare benefit are being told that Medicare has changed the rules and they no longer qualify for coverage. An article from Kaiser Health News on February 4 explains what has changed and how to fight for benefits. (https://khn.org/news/what-to-do-if-your-home-health-care-agency-ditches-you/).

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Pennsylvania lawmakers are attempting to address the practice of out of network balance billing commonly referred to as a "surprise medical bill." This results when a provider treats you in an emergency situation but that provider is out of the insured's network. Most emergency medical services (EMS) agencies meet these criteria due to the uniqueness of our industry or location of the insured when the emergency occurred.

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Today’s war-sparked refugee crises were decades away when philosopher Marshall McLuhan famously declared “The medium is the message.” But the medium behind the vivid orange crucifix at Flourtown’s St. Miriam Parish and Friary -- life jackets discarded by Syrian war victims who’d fled across the Mediterranean Sea to the Greek island of Lesvos -- is clearly the message.

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Biodiversity. Is this something you think about in planning your gardens and landscape, and deciding what to put in the pots on your patio or balcony? Typically, gardeners and landscapers have been interested in colors, textures, and seasonal interest – how beautiful a property can be. Lately, however, biodiversity is becoming the watch-word, as we gardeners learn more about the increasing loss of species and look for ways that we, as individuals, can make a positive difference. Our challenge is how to create the beauty we want while supporting our intricate ecosystems.

If you haven’t gotten your Real ID drivers license which some of us need and some of us don’t and good luck figuring that out -- prepare to enter your cavernous DMV building to find aimless souls twitching their legs and checking their phones and wondering which bleary rep will input the vital info that proves you are who you say you are and who you are is maybe A-OK.

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Imagine: the sun sparkling on the Mediterranean, the scent of lavender filling the air, a chic bistro serving bouillabaisse. Relish a “Riviera Holiday” at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show.