The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 5, 2013

19 racing turtles sidelined in New Berlin

NEW BERLIN — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission dashed the dreams of 19 turtle racers Thursday by banning wood and Eastern box turtles from competing at New Berlin’s annual Turtle Derby.

“Nooo,” said Dylan Conner, 9, when organizers pointed out that the two wood turtles he and his brother, Luke, 7, carried in separate white buckets are endangered.

The Jersey Shore boys took the rejection of their turtles from the competition in stride and listened intently as C. Tristan Stayton, an assistant professor in biology at Bucknell University, provided details about the turtles. Their grandmother, Diane Dershem, of Lock Haven, wasn’t as fascinated.

“I’m disappointed they couldn’t race them,” she said.

It’s the first time the family has attended the derby, but they plan to come back next year, possibly with a painted or snapping turtle, which are not on the state’s endangered list.

Just days ago, the Boy Scouts of Troop 508 were notified by the state commission that box and wood turtle species are now on the state’s protected list and would not be allowed to race at the annual event, which has been held for more than four decades.

That edict caused a few frowns, and even tears from one young participant, when organizers informed 19 of the 38 children who arrived at the derby with turtles that their entries were banned.

“It was a bit of a hiccup, but we’re trying to make the race an educational experience for the kids,” said Todd Bieber, who worked at the registration booth just hours after screening his 80-minute documentary, “Turtle Derby,” for 250 viewers at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.

The Winfield native, who won the derby 26 years ago and co-produced the movie with Juliana Brafa, said the turtle race is a wonderful experience for youngsters and hopes the ban on certain species won’t dampen enthusiasm for the event.

Derby emcee and past winner Zane Patterson, 12, of New Berlin, said he thinks the government may be taking it too far by forbidding kids to race certain turtles.

“They can just release them afterward,” he said.

That’s what the Conner boys planned to do, but first they had to rename one of their turtles — from Sheldon to Shelly — following their encounter with Stayton.

Text Only
  • Board breaks silence on Snook suspension

    The Midd-West school board is breaking its silence about the suspension of acting superintendent Daphne Snook.

    April 16, 2014

  • milehill16a.jpg SUV tumbles down hill, trapping driver

    SUNBURY — A driver was injured Tuesday night when his SUV careened off Mile Hill Road and down a steep 20-foot embankment, knocking over trees until it crashed and twisted around a large tree trunk.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DEA packet compares school scores, salaries

    DANVLLE — Members of the Danville Education Association are circulating a pamphlet as part of their planned strike on Thursday.

    Click Here to see the pamphlet

    April 16, 2014

  • Snyder DA says email security breach could be a crime

    MIDDLEBURG — Even though acting Midd-West Superintendent Daphne Snook may not have broken school policy by monitoring district emails, Valley legal experts say she still may have broken the law.

    April 16, 2014

  • Midd-West board feels backlash

    April 16, 2014

  • Good Morning Central Susquehanna Valley

    Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year. On April 16, 1964, The Rolling Stones’ first album, eponymously titled “The Rolling Stones,” was released in the United Kingdom by Decca Records (a slightly different version debuted in the United States a month and a-half later).

    April 16, 2014

  • Donkey basketball draws 600, raises $1,800

    SUNBURY — The Shikellamy Fieldhouse was loud and rocking Tuesday night as Shikellamy High School students took on the Valley All-Stars in a donkey basketball fundraiser to benefit Newspapers in Education.

    April 15, 2014

  • mail16a.jpg Post Offices busy just before today's tax deadline

    SUNBURY — Bill Shambach plopped his three envelopes addressed to tax collectors on the counter of the Post Office on North Third Street at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon — four hours before the office closed for the day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guzzardi_Bob.png Governor's Republican opponent remains on primary ballot

    HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania state judge has ruled that a Republican gubernatorial candidate can stay on the May 20 primary ballot as the lone challenger to Gov. Tom Corbett.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspect in Kansas shootings faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Are you among those who will be completing and mailing your tax forms today?

No - Already Filed
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.