Social Media Review 2016

By on January 4, 2017


By Patrick Burns

The post-holiday season is here and 2016 has not yet faded in our rear-view mirrors.

With that in mind we’re going to look back on the year through the lens of our social media and online reports that allowed our readers to interact with us and other residents in the Ephrata and Cocalico school districts.

The first item that comes to mind was the history made June 2, 2016.

That Thursday afternoon, Ephrata High School baseball team claimed its first-ever District 3 Class AAAA title with a 7-4 win over Gov. Mifflin at the Reading Fightins’ First Energy Stadium.

Todd Ruth’s in-depth reporting, along with the stunning photography by Preston Whitcraft and Stan Hall, followed the Mounts to a semifinal finish in Lancaster Lebanon League.

The Mounts’ (who finished 21-5) win was just the seventh District team title of any kind in Ephrata history, joining boys lacrosse (2011-12), wrestling (1990-91), field hockey (1989-90 and 1980-81), softball (1989-90) and girls basketball (1985-86).

“It’s sort of surreal,” Ephrata Coach Adrian Shelley told

On the mound, pitcher Matt McGillan, also a senior, turned in another strong post-season outing. The big right-hander scattered seven hits with one strikeout and one walk in six innings before giving way to his freshman brother Zack McGillan, who closed things out in the seventh at First Energy Stadium in Reading.

  • The Ephrata Review’s social media pages resonated very well in 2016 with a 61 percent increase in Facebook “likes.”

er-facebook-sinkholeA great deal of those likes came from a few posts regarding a farm in Clay Township.

A video of an Amish barn raising posted on both the Lititz Record Express and Ephrata Review’s social media pages following a fire in June is perhaps the most circulated ever. With a combined reach of over one million on Facebook and You Tube, it captured the labor of scores of workers from the local Plain communities whose sense of friendship and community spirit compelled them to contribute their time and skills to rebuild a pair of barns destroyed in a fire on Friday, June 3.

lr-fire-viral-videoExcavation work was completed almost immediately at Stephen Stoltzfus’ dairy farm at 310 Hackman Road in Clay Township. The barn raising on the first structure was completed on Monday, June 6. Crews immediately went to work and the structural walls of the second building were up by Tuesday morning, June 7. The entire rebuild was completed on Wednesday, June 8.

  • Though 2016 will go down as the year of emotional politics, The Ephrata Review Facebook followers pretty much refrained from engaging in discussion before, during, and after the election.

Still, an online headline of Donald Trump’s win, ‘Adorable Deplorable,’ created an online buzz.

  • A series entitled “Never. Lose. Hope.” began trending immediately when the first part of the multi-part series on the addiction epidemic posted on the Lititz Record’s website Feb. 18, 2016.

The series is written by Janice Ballenger, who works at Retreat at Lancaster County, a 160-bed addiction treatment center in Ephrata. While working closely with patients suffering from addiction, she has a passion to raise awareness to what addiction truly is, namely, a chronic, treatable brain

  • One of the most discussed topics in 2016 was the sinkhole which opened up before the polls opened on election day, Nov. 8.

The sinkhole, which was the subject of no fewer than six print stories and dozens of posts on Facebook, generated hundreds of comments.

Much of the reporting centered on the residents who were driven from their apartments by the Nov. 8 sinkhole which collapsed the Park Avenue and Pine Street intersection.

Ephrata Borough officials said they may never know what caused the sinkhole hole which spread about 20 feet deep and 45 feet wide before excavation began.

While no one was injured initially — when the street collapsed and displaced 19 residents from 12 apartments on Park Avenue — a worker who fell in the hole required surgery.

Six other residents who live in a four-unit apartment building at 226 W. Pine St. returned to their apartments on Nov. 11.

Others were not able to return until the sinkhole repair was completed and Pine Street reopened to vehicle traffic Dec. 11.

  • While Ephrata High School students may have been off for Christmas break, the Ephrata Review’s Twitter and Facbook pages followed Caroline Stauffer campaign to earn her 1,000th point Dec. 28.

er-facebook-fair-stauffer-1000untitledStauffer, on Dec. 19, broke the record for made three-point shots in win over Garden Spot. So it was fitting she reached her 1,000th point by making a three-pointer after about 20 seconds had elapsed.

  • Of course our coverage of the 2016 Ephrata Fair drew much attention on our social media pages.

In August, we reported the Ephrata Farmers Day Association had canceled its 2016 pig chase.

As reported on our Facebook page, “Organizers say safety and protester concerns fueled the decision to cancel what would have been the 40th Ephrata Fair Pig Chaseer-facebook-fair-pg-1

Fair officials cited concerns about the “disruption” at last year’s event and another planned protest this year which elevated safety worries.

er-facebook-bmx-fair-sep-20“Sadly, after 39 years, the Board of Directors of the Ephrata Farmers Day Association, has decided to suspend the annual Pig and Rooster Chase at Tent City,” attorney Richard Young wrote in message sent to the Ephrata Review.

The pig chase was replaced by a show of some best BMX riders, rollerbladers, skateboarders and freestyle motocross riders who will performed stunts flying through the air off steep ramps on Sept. 20.

  • Our Facebook page blew up on Nov. 15 when we posted a piece about the shaky future of the Ephrata Main Theatre. Owner Steve Brown says ticket sales must increase by about 8,000 per year to remain open.
  • On a final note, one of the most commented on Facebook posts was a photo of a 91-year-old Akron woman.

The post read:er-facebook-91-year-old

“It’s a win for Martha D. Stoner, 91, of Akron, who spent three years crocheting a full-size bedspread made for one of her six children. The 90-something’s bedspread won first prize in its class at the 100th Pennsylvania Farm Show this week.”

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4455.

About Patrick Burns

Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

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