Episode 9: North Star Initiative, loKal Experiences – May 5th, 2021

by | May 5, 2021 | Lancaster Connects Episodes

On Episode 9 of Lancaster Connects, we’re joined by Alicia Corrado and Janelle Esbenshade from the North Star Initiative who talk about the very important work they’re doing right here in our community in Lancaster.

We’re also joined by Mike Simmons from LoKal Experiences, a very interesting and fun business right here in town, uncovering great things to do, great scenery to take in, great events – and a nugget of local history that’s right under our noses.

There’s also:

  • 🎟️ Our weekly local events roundup
  • 🥡 Our food truck alert – which food trucks will be where and when
  • 🤝 How you can help the Lancaster Community
  • 🐺 Our Pet of the Week
  • 🍔 Our $25 Gift Card Giveaway for local Lancaster restaurants
  • 🛌 And a tip on how to Sleep Better.

🍔🍗 Are you hungry for some good eats from a local Lancaster Restaurant? Fill out the form below to enter for your chance to win one of two gift cards to a local restaurant!

😴 This show is sponsored by Gardner’s Mattress & More in Lancaster, PA!

Get your FREE copy of Ben McClure and Jeff Giagnocavo’s book – “Sleep Better”: https://gardnersmattressandmore.com/


This Week’s Guests:

👉 North Star Initiative:

👉 loKal Experiences:

Events Around Lancaster This Week:

  • Tuck Ryan Band At Tellus360 – Thursday May 6th, 8pm-10pm
  • First Friday: Lancaster – Friday, May 7th, 5pm-9pm
  • Tammy Pescatelli At Phantom Power – Friday, May 7th, 6pm
  • Laura Luce At Tellus360 – Friday, May 7th, 6pm-8pm
  • Job Fair – Sponsored by Miller Brother Staffing – Saturday, May 8th, 10am-2pm
  • Treat Mom At Kitchen Kettle Village – Saturday, May 8th, 11am-3pm
    • Bring mom to “Treat Mom” Mother’s Day Special at Kitchen Kettle Village. Stores including Good Vibes, Brighton Collectibles, Village Quilts and more will be offering special mother’s day treats to visitors.
    • Location: 3529 Old Philadelphia Pike, Intercourse, PA
    • Website: www.KitchenKettle.com/Event/Details/9624
  • “On Your Feet” – The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan At The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater – Through May 29
    • The Dutch Apple Dinner Theater presents “On Your Feet”, the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Matinees and evening show tickets available.
    • Location: 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster, PA
    • Phone: 717-898-1900
    • Website: https://dutchapple.com/shows/on-your-feet/
  • Jam Session with Matt Wenger At Tellus360 – Sunday, May 9th, 2pm-5pm
  • Be The Difference, Virtual 5k – Through May 17th

    Lancaster’s Food Truck Scene For This Week:

      Lancaster Connects Community:

      • Walk MS: Lancaster 2021 – Saturday, May 15th
        • Click here to visit the Walk MS: Lancaster 2021 page.
      • Volunteers Needed at Steven Greenland Cemetery
        • In advance of Memorial Day there is an incredible effort of informal collaboration to honor those who’ve been forgotten, and who served our country in the ultimate way, now interred at Stevens Greenland Cemetery.
        • 3 Ways To Help:
          1. Volunteer to help with clean-up for all the Saturday mornings between now and Memorial Day.
          2. Donate for repairs and ongoing maintenance by sending a check to:
            • Sons of the American Legion Post 34 c/o Gary Wilson, 1388 Arcadia Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601
          3. Attend on Memorial Day to honor those who have served our country.
        • Email DRIVE@co.lancaster.pa.us for more information
        • Location: 1000 S Duke St, Lancaster, PA 17602
      • Volunteers Need For “Hanging Baskets” With Lancaster’s Economic Action for Downtown’s Success (LEADS)
        • LEADS is having their next basket hanging in Downtown Lancaster on Saturday, May 15th – and they’re looking for volunteers.
        • Starts at 8:30am on Saturday morning, until around 11am or 12 noon.
        • Doughnuts and coffee will be available for the volunteers.
        • More information: info@lancasterLEADS.org or go to their Facebook page:Facebook.com/LancasterLEADS
      • Blood Drive At City-Center Branch Of Lancaster YMCA
        • There’s a blood drive Saturday, May 8th from 10am-2pm at the City-Center Branch of Lancaster Family YMCA.
        • Support the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank Drive by giving blood and you will receive a pair of Lancaster Barnstormer ticket vouchers anthatd are good for any 2021 regular season game!!
        • To donate, a form of ID is REQUIRED. 
        • Contact: Jessie Rodriguez at JRodriguez@LancasterYMCA.org for more info.
        • Location: 265 Harrisburg Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603
      • Do you have a non-profit, good cause, or worthwhile endeavor that you’d like to promote on the show?
        Tell us all about it via our contact form.
      • Do you need volunteers to donate their time to help with a non-profit, good cause or worthwhile endeavor?
        Tell us all about it via our contact form.
      • Would you like to donate some of your time to supporting local non-profits, good causes and worthwhile endeavors in the Lancaster area? Join the Lancaster Connects community by checking the box on our free restaurant gift card giveaway entry form!



      Additional Links:

      • Photo Contest Update
        • Voting for our 1st round is still going!
          • Visit our “Photo Contest – Round 1 Voting” post and leave a comment with the number of your favorite photo!
        • Round 2 has begun!
          • Enter the contest by posting your picture as a comment on our “Photo Contest” post on our Facebook page.
        • Winners in the photo contest will get a $60 custom pillow from Gardner’s Mattress And More!


      Episode Transcript (Click Here To Open/Close)

      Jeff Giagnocavo 0:00
      How can you support the local Lancaster community?

      Ben McClure 0:03
      That’s what this show is all about.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 0:22
      Coming to you from the Dream Room and Gardner’s Mattress & More Lancaster Connects is brought to you by the Sleep Better book. You can get a copy of the Sleep Better book, we’ll mail you a free copy if you go to GardnersMattressandMore.com. Well, here we are. We’re recording on a new day and new time.

      Ben McClure 0:38
      Yeah, man.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 0:39
      So this is [Inaudible] Ben. Ben hits me right after the intro. Like we should have masks and hats and…

      Ben McClure 0:46
      Just do something different for every intro. Hit ’em with something different.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 0:51
      I was wondering what are the hats and the masks for? Are we gonna rob a bank? You know, I guess everybody’s halfway there now today as it is, but…

      Ben McClure 1:02
      Maybe now wasn’t the right time.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:03
      Yeah, it just really threw me for a loop. Like don’t do that as we’re reading scripting stuff. Oh, my goodness. Anyway, speaking of don’t do that. How’s it going with coaching youth football…not football…I mean baseball.

      Ben McClure 1:16
      You know, baseball is going really well now. I was really proud of the boys on Saturday. We had our third game. I think they’re good…hitting the ball. They’re paying attention better, which was the biggest problem for these six, seven and eight year old boys. Paying attention is not necessarily a strong suit for for that age group. But they’re fielding the ball. They made some outs in the field. I was really proud of the boys this week.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:44
      That’s good. Well, I think that’s probably a testament to patient coaching.

      Ben McClure 1:51
      There was a practice a couple weeks ago that I was not so patient.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:54
      Yeah, that happens. That’s how we we move on those things happen. So we’ve got some great guests on this show. Alicia Corrado and Janelle Esbenshade from the North Star Initiative will be talking about very important work they’re doing right here in our community. Welcome, ladies. And Mike Simmons from LoKal Experiences a very, very interesting and fun business right here in town, uncovering great things to do, great scenery to take in great events and maybe some unknown history that’s right under our noses here in town. Welcome guests. Hello. Good morning.

      Mike Simmons 2:32
      Good morning.

      Janelle Esbenshade 2:33
      Good morning.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 2:34
      Well, thank you for joining us. We’ve got a quick rundown on what’s going on around town. Some other updates for our listeners. We’ll be back with you momentarily, alright?

      Ben McClure 2:46
      Don’t forget that all of these links are available on the Lancaster Connects website. You can also enter our giveaway which we’ll talk more about in the middle of the episode at LancasterConnects.com. You can subscribe to our weekly email update and again all the info, events, food trucks…where they are and who they are. All that is going to be on LancasterConnects.com so give it a look.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 3:11
      Yeah, so we’re getting into what’s going on and around Lancaster. We’ve got our photo contest update. I’ve got a tip for you as always from our Sleep Better book. I guess on our Sleep Better book could be correct to, just depends. Also, what food trucks will be where and when. And how you can help your neighbors by joining the Lancaster Connects community. We’ve got our pet of the week segment and our local history nugget. Mike’s excited to bring us bring us that this week. And of course our weekly restaurant gift card giveaway. And remember the show is also available as a podcast, you can find the links at LancasterConnects.com. Please like and share this video. Leave a comment and tell a friend about this show. Ben, why don’t you jump into the first?

      Ben McClure 3:56
      Let’s talk about the Tuck Ryan Band. They’re going to be at Tellus360 on Thursday, May 6, from 8-10pm. They are a Lancaster based band called again the Tuck Ryan Band. They’ll be Live in the Temple at Tellus360…enjoy the soulful blend of American jazz and R&B…more info at Tellus360.com/events.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 4:22
      Friday, May 7th, in downtown it’s Lancaster’s First Friday…downtown Lancaster springs alive from five to nine. Art galleries, studios, museums, restaurants and shops stay open late as folks enjoy festive downtown atmosphere as well as art galleries, museums, performing groups theater, the symphony and more. More info on the City Events tab at www.VisitLancasterCity.com.

      Ben McClure 4:47
      On Friday, May 7th, comedian Tammy Pescatelli will be at Phantom Power at 6pm. Pescatelli has been a fixture on Comedy Central. That’s pretty cool. And you can find her stand up special “Finding the Funny” on Netflix. More information at PhantomPower.net and you can learn more about Tammy Pescatelli at www.pescatelli.com.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 5:14
      And then we have also on Friday… a lot going on on Friday May 7th…which is good I guess. It’s the first Friday so a lot of things. Also back at Tellus360 highlighting there from six to eight Laura Luce will be Live on the Roof Top and Tellus360. Come out and listen to her smooth vocals while relaxing and enjoying a cold one. More information at Tellus360.com/events.

      Ben McClure 5:39
      And Saturday May 8th from 10am to 2pm, Miller Brother Staffing is hosting a job fair. There’s going to be donuts, coffee and careers. I like the doughnuts and coffee part, but I think we have careers so we won’t be attending but you can.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 5:54
      I’ve had way too many doughnuts in the past. [Inaudible]

      Ben McClure 5:58
      You can get more information at @MBSLancaster on Facebook.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 6:04
      And then on Saturday, May 8th, we’ve got “Treat Mom” at Kitchen Kettle Village. Anyway, Saturday May 8th, bring mom to “Treat Mom” Mother’s Day Special at Kitchen Kettle Village. There’s a bunch of stores there…Good Vibes, Brighton Collectibles, Village Quilts, and more will be offering a special Mother’s Day treat to the visitors from 11 to 3. More info at KitchenKettle.com. Again, all the links here for anything we’re sharing, if it catches your attention, are going to be in our show notes. So you can easily just hit that up in your email or on our website. You’ll have all the information right there in one spot.

      Ben McClure 6:50
      I’ve got one for you, Jeff. “On Your Feet”, the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Now through May 29th at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater…They present on your feet the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Matinees and evening show tickets available at DutchApple.com.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 7:12
      And what was that song that was just such a rockstar hit back in the day? Come on baby…not even gonna try it. It’s hitting my head. It’s hitting my brain. It’s just not coming out. Do that bomba? Don’t you know? Any longer…come on, baby?

      Ben McClure 7:29
      Yeah, yeah. I don’t know. It’s also in my head now.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 7:32
      Something like that. Yep.

      Ben McClure 7:33
      Yep. Yeah. Like it.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 7:35
      There you go, folks. I’m your guy right there. I am not going to attempt to tell any of the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. But on Saturday, May 9, from two to five we’ve got a jam session with Matt Wenger…an informal gathering of musicians…one starts a tune and those who know it can join in and those who don’t, can learn it. Seems like I should do that for the Estefan stuff. That’s at Tellus360. Again, you can go to Tellus360.com/events.

      Ben McClure 8:04
      And we’ve got a virtual 5k by the 2021 Community Services Group, I’m sorry, the Community Services Group, my wife works for them. It’s the 2021 Community Services Group’s virtual 5k. Now through May 17th. Runners and walkers are invited to participate. They raise money for Mental Health First Aid training for organizations in Lancaster County and across Pennsylvania. More information, also in the show notes at LancasterConnects.com.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 8:36
      Yeah, and you know, I see this virtual fine, okay. You know, we did, my family and I did this past weekend, the virtual walk for MS. And, you know, I know all of these charities in the last year, year and a half are really coming up with different ways. So if you can find it in your heart to help them again, we talk about that a lot. If you can help them financially, that’s great. It’s also obviously the fastest way you can help but that might not be for you. See if you can help help these charities out in a virtual way. If you have like computer skills, IT skills, I’m sure they would all love that. And any way that you think you can help with your time and your skill set is just tremendously helpful because all of these charities still need to raise funds, they still need to execute their mission. So that’s really nice when we can help. As always, all info and links are available on the website and via email each week. Just enter our giveaway at LancasterConnects.com to subscribe to our weekly email update with all of our show info. Remember, this show is also available as a podcast and you can find those links at LancasterConnects.com. And please don’t forget to like and share this video. It really helps us get this show out to more people, so leave a comment and tell a friend about the show.

      Ben McClure 9:56
      It was neat this morning. I got in and the first thing they said to me was. “I saw you guys three or four times in my newsfeed”, so there you go. Yeah, we’re just showing up.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:04
      So we’ve moved beyond mom.

      Ben McClure 10:08

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:08
      In the echelon of podcast video show success…there’s moms…employees,

      Ben McClure 10:16
      Right. Yeah.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:17
      Yeah. Great success. great success. All right, guests…any of those events that caught your fancy? Is there anything that sounds interesting?

      Mike Simmons 10:29
      I am always up for a little music at Tellus, so I’ll be checking that.

      Ben McClure 10:33
      There you go.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:35
      Anybody want me to serenade them with Gloria Estefan’s best hits?

      Mike Simmons 10:41
      I thought one of the hints there would have been “Get On Your Feet”, so you know, maybe that song?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:48
      That’s it! That’s it! Thank you! Thank you! Yes! That was the one!

      Ben McClure 10:54
      Was that the one?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 10:55
      He knew it and just left me…You just left me hanging!

      Mike Simmons 10:58
      I definitely did not know it.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 11:00
      All right. Well, Mike, thanks for supporting Tellus360. Since we have Alicia and Janelle here, why don’t we bring you right on and let’s start to talk about what you do at North Star Initiative? So welcome, ladies. So North Star Initiative, why don’t you get into the purpose of what you do? And then we’ve got a video for you that will play after we do that?

      Alicia Corrado 11:29
      Sure. So North Star initiative supports women who are survivors of domestic sex trafficking by providing physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual care through a Christ-centered focus. A little bit of history about North Star, it began in 2009 as a Christian grassroots movement, when our founder Jen Sensenig, suspected that women at a spa along Route 13 quarter, were being used for sexual services, and with Jen’s help there was a police investigation, and they were able to, in fact, prove that there was a large scale prostitution ring going on, that was happening and operating along the east coast. And they were eventually freed. But in that moment, Jen had realized that rescue does not mean freedom, and that these victims needed a lot of aftercare services and a holistic restoration program. So in 2017, the Harbor was opened, which is our long term home and restoration program. The heart the Harbor is specifically designed to address the needs of female sex trafficking survivors. The Harbor is a 24-7, supervised restoration home for female survivors of sex trafficking, that are ages 18 to 35. The reality is that survivors rescued by law enforcement come to us, sometimes locally, sometimes from all over the US. And we receive referrals from many different outlets, from local law enforcement, from Homeland Security, domestic shelters and the National Trafficking Shelter Alliance. One of the things that we like to make sure that people understand is that at North Star, we do not rescue, we provide extensive restoration services and aftercare. Most of the victims of sex trafficking have been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, while in the hands of their traffickers. So that experience leaves them physically and psychologically damaged with the amount of trauma they’ve experienced. So North Star is able to, through fully staffed and licensed professionals, we’re able to really serve the complex trauma that these survivors have experienced by providing them the tools that they need to heal and recover.

      Ben McClure 13:40
      Wow, that’s a really incredible service that you provide. Let’s watch the video that you gave us to watch.

      Video Speaker 1 13:56
      I was 15 when it all happened when it all got started.

      Video Speaker 2 14:01
      I was 14 or so. And I was living with my mom and I was an honor student. This is when my own addiction started.

      Video Speaker 1 14:10
      I was so happy before everything that happened when I had an actual normal life.

      Video Speaker 3 14:20
      I didn’t have any where to sleep and it was just starting to be cold. And so there was a trafficker he, he was like, “Well, you can say in my car.”

      Video Speaker 2 14:29
      He just down his window was like, “Hey, do you want to make some money?” And, you know, I was like, “Yeah”, money sounded good when you’re homeless.

      Video Speaker 1 14:38
      He just gave me everything that I wanted.l…clothes…drugs.

      Video Speaker 3 14:47
      I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t really know until we were only getting people under the age of 15 in the car.

      Video Speaker 2 14:58
      He told me like they cared, that I was his girlfriend. And I just started noticing, like little things that started changing. I just felt I couldn’t leave. He always had people watching, I felt so stuck.

      Video Speaker 3 15:12
      I wasn’t allowed to eat because I had to be under 100 pounds. I was supposed to look like a kid. And then like, we’d get locked in the box or, or we would just work a lot.

      Video Speaker 1 15:24
      He would always get mad and he like, tracked where I was, and all that crazy stuff.

      Video Speaker 2 15:30
      There was one girl who got out, and they found her and they lit her on fire. And I just knew I had to run or like I’m gonna die here.

      Video Speaker 1 15:40
      I was at school one day, and I decided to go see my guidance counselor. And she said that I needed help. And so I went into detox and got help.

      Video Speaker 3 15:53
      Homeland Security was in the hotel room, and they had him in handcuffs.

      Video Speaker 2 15:59
      I don’t want to be scared all the time anymore. Like I I have a safe place to live. And like I know I’m going to eat there. It’s just a nice, like, to have a place where I am welcome. Like everybody has my best interest there. It just feels like home. And I don’t think I could have ever explained “home” before.

      Video Speaker 3 16:19
      Really God and North Star gave me that opportunity to be a daughter, again, to be a granddaughter to be a mother to my children.

      Video Speaker 1 16:29
      Being able to actually live a normal life and to go to college for music. I did not think that I was ever going to get out of any of that. But I did. And there’s hope in that.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 17:12
      Well, I’ve seen that video before, just as powerful seeing it again, multiple times over. I think when I watched thatthen I…and then I’ll have a question and I’ll throw it to Alicia…but a couple phrases in that video remind you of how disturbing this problem really is. And the fact that it’s happening right here in our town, which some may not think could happen. You have a high school girl, having her guidance counselor come to her saying she needs help. And it blows my mind to think that can happen. And then you have another one of your ladies that you work with say, “I get to be a daughter and granddaughter”. Yeah. And just having somebody be that far removed from humanity by someone else is so disturbing to me. So, Alicia, here’s the question that I have…what exactly does human trafficking look like here in Lancaster and Lancaster County?

      Alicia Corrado 18:12
      Sure. So human trafficking can take on many different forms. And that’s actually the reason why it can be so hard to detect it. Because it can look very different to many different people. So depending on who is recruiting or who is in charge of luring females or males out of their schools or out of public places, it could look different. So we say for children that are in high school or children that are in grade school, it can look like them coming home with new jewelry, extra money, it could look like them having older friends, especially older female friends. So we find that a lot of the recruiting is actually happening with older females looking like they’re friends of your child that are maybe taking them places or maybe pretending like they’re doing good things. And actually, they’re actually introducing them to other people that are potentially bad. And then in older adults, what we’re finding is that this looks more like somebody who’s been taken over by an older gentleman, maybe they were homeless, maybe they were looking for work, maybe they thought that they were getting help, and they weren’t. And what we find with trafficking is that it doesn’t look as scary to begin with, it is a slow fade. So these women really don’t realize what they’re getting into until it’s too late. And then they really have no recourse to get out. The trafficker makes sure to isolate them to make sure that they’re afraid he may beat them. He may threaten them. He may have lots of things against them, and he may take their children against them. So we find that single mothers that are looking for help are oftentimes brought into maybe a gentleman’s house that he says he’s going to help them and he ends up then trafficking her and then using the kids as leverage. So there’s lots of different ways that trafficking can present. And because of that law enforcement is constantly trying to figure out what is the next way that the trafficker is going to use to exploit somebody for the purpose of gain.

      Ben McClure 19:58
      So Alicia, when does North Star become involved?

      Alicia Corrado 20:02
      Yeah, so after law enforcement would get involved and either rescue or the female would be able to get out of the situation herself that we are there for the restorative care part. So they’re able to reach out to us independently to fill out an application and then we would meet with them or we’re contacted by either an advocate of the court or to advocate for law enforcement, or some sort of domestic violence shelter, because typically trafficking can present as domestic violence. Now with the new laws in Pennsylvania, specifically, the the law that penalizes John’s for actually victimizing somebody that is a victim of sexual servitude. Now, there’s laws in place where they can actually have penalties for those people that are soliciting them. And that just happened last year in 2020. So the laws have really not caught up with the crime. And that’s the reason why it’s continued to get worse and worse than Lancaster County.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 20:52
      So you use the word there it is, you’re there for restorative care right on the screen. What does that mean, as far as like the support, you provide restorative care?

      Alicia Corrado 21:03
      Sure, so restorative care is all about we’re providing her with everything she needs to get back on her feet. So trafficking can present a very different scenario. So you heard in the video about one girl being locked in a box. So that is a type of trafficking that is real. So being physically kept somewhere, her type of trauma is very complex by the time she gets to us, whereas somebody that maybe was tracking, trafficked in their 20s, maybe not later on in life, or earlier on in life, and maybe they had some freedom before they were, you know, kept under under the hands of the traffic, or maybe they weren’t put in a box, so they weren’t isolated. When they come to the Harbor, we treat them as individuals. So this means that we’re creating a plan that actually restores her so this is the last program she goes to. We make sure to coordinate all of the services she needs, and then equip her to do it herself by providing her the extra time that she needs. So it’s not just about giving her the tools, it’s about giving her the time she needs to apply them correctly, and then to become sustainably independent. So it’s literally everything she would need from drug and alcohol services to trauma services to physical and mental health. It’s everything in one shop. And that was our whole plan was to make it easy for her to connect the dots to get back to life.

      Ben McClure 22:08
      Generally, how long is that service provided for?

      Alicia Corrado 22:12
      Sure. So our program can be up to two years. Now typically, it can range for whatever the survivor needs, but the longest would be a two year program. Now we obviously would extend if we came across a survivor that needed more, but the survivor that you saw on the video that was locked in a box, she is now one of our graduates and she was there for about 18 months. So now she’s able to live on her own and she’s got her own place. But that is our whole hope is to make sure that they feel fully restored so they actually are free when they go out onto their own.

      Ben McClure 22:42
      And, Janelle, what are the signs to look for, to say that this person is a trafficking victim?

      Janelle Esbenshade 22:50
      Yeah, so Alicia touched a little bit but typically locally here, what you would see is if a young individual is coming home and the parents find a lot of money, sometimes it’s that they’re dressed inappropriately for the season. So, maybe it’s wintertime, and they’re in shorts and a T-shirt. It can look like any type of like physical abuse, bruises that typically shouldn’t be there. A lot of times with trauma, the trauma is in the head area. And it can be behind the ears and in the neck, because that’s where a lot of times the the abuse takes place. So it can look like that. If a young individual is typically really shy, reserved, like they keep their head down, they’re afraid of people showing signs of not being able to look at people in the eye. Or if an adult is speaking on their behalf, that’s often a sign as well.

      Ben McClure 23:50
      And what should someone do when they see these signs?

      Janelle Esbenshade 23:55
      So we typically tell people to call 911. But one of the thing that’s important is if you see a situation and you’re in public, is to get as much information as possible, like, what does the gentleman look like. If it’s a situation where it’s a gentleman with a young girl, get the license plate, the make and model of the car. The best thing is that the most information that you can present to the authorities is going to help them be able to look into that individuals history first of all, and see if they’ve had any previous charges, but as well to be able to move forward in this investigation.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 24:31
      So I’m gonna go a little off script…which shocker…Jeff goes off script. So, we own a business, Ben and I’ve executed a handful of leases over the years. We’re very familiar with the depth of discovery, if you want to call it that, research, if you want to call it that between business operator and landlord. How exactly are these spas, right? Which is, I think, just a terrible term to use, because it’s the furthest thing from it, obviously, how have you been able to understand how it is that these places are able to set up shop in the first place in a in an actual physical retail, or business type location? Have you been able to uncover how that happens and what might be able to be done to help curb that?

      Alicia Corrado 25:25
      Well, my biggest guess, would be that they’re able to set up because they’re not saying that’s what they’re planning to do. But then also, all they have to do is change names. So if their business is in trouble, and their business is going under, they just name it something else. We saw that happen with a lot of hotels that were found to have human trafficking happening at their establishments…they just renamed themselves. And you can do that. You can change your business name as much as possible. And you can also put it underneath somebody else’s name. So for these massage spas, we find that they’re family owned, and this is organized crime. So this isn’t like the first time they’ve set up shop before, this is probably like their fifth shop that they’re setting up. I think people think that this is something that hasn’t happened for a while, but this is all just been underground. And we’re just started to pull it out and put it into the light. It’s just been kept in the darkness too long, because people just want to think it’s not happening. But I think that’s the reason why it goes without saying but then with the new laws being on the books, even in 2017, with them putting out the laws for proving human trafficking. The fact is that if a landlord takes money knowing that human trafficking is happening, they’re culpable for the crime of human trafficking. So the new law should help to curb a lot of these establishments being able to open an operating crime.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 26:40
      That’s true. I mean, yesterday, we’re recording this episode on a Monday, and yesterday, I was at my campsite driving home, and I know for a fact that there was one of these spas that used to be in a place that I passed on the way home. And it just made me think, which is what prompted my question, you know, how is it that the landlord just allows that to happen? And I suppose, in fairness, they just may not know. But I think in the information age, I think it’s incumbent on all, especially a landlord to say, are people really looking for 24-7 spa care? Are people really looking for those things? When you see the signs, like open 24 hours? I think that those are questions that we, as the public can ask, likewise, I mean, I guess, if there’s a business adjacent to these places, could the employees and those businesses that are obviously above board, who could they talk to, could they bring this up to local police? What could they do?

      Alicia Corrado 27:49
      I want to encourage everyone….so I know that sometimes you call the local police and you feel like you give them information and maybe they don’t do anything with it. But we do have a Human Trafficking Task Force for East eastern Pennsylvania. So this is an active task force, and they are actively collecting tips and information. So as much information as you can give them I know, it feels like it’s a little thing. But if you see something, say something, because the more information we can feed these people remember, this is organized crime, they need a lot more facts before they go and even present a case because these guys are tricky. They’re going to move state lines, they’re going to go somewhere else, they’re going to set up shop in a different place. So we have to be one step ahead of them. And that literally means that we don’t blow it up. We collect data, we formulate cases. I mean, even that case that was brought down two years ago, that was 16 victims across three different states that took a long time to collect all that data to take down those two traffickers, that had they done it too soon, they wouldn’t have gotten them. So we just have to, when you say something to the police, at the local police, let them know that you think it’s a human trafficking situation, give them all the details. They know exactly what to do with that. I cannot stress it enough. If you see something, please do something about it. Don’t just sit on that information.

      Alicia Corrado 27:49
      Yeah, that’s good information. Janell, how can our listeners and viewers support the North Star Initiative?

      Janelle Esbenshade 29:05
      Sure. So as a direct care facility, with serving survivors of complex trauma, we really rely heavily on our supporters and the community. We are a nonprofit, so we are not state funded. We are also always looking for volunteers to come on site, to be able to help with cleaning and transportation, helping with supervision. You know, we really value our community and we have been blessed with a great group of volunteers and it’s increased in this past year especially. So we’ve been really blessed in that but we’re always looking for more because there’s always needs there. You can check out our volunteer opportunities on our website, NorthStarInitiative.org. Finally, if you feel led to give and support our mission financially, you can also go to NorthStarInitiative.org and click on the donate button. Eighty-two cents of every dollar goes directly towards supporting the survivors of sex trafficking. One of our biggest expenses as we talk about being “trauma informed”….therapy is one of our largest expenses. And $50 provides one individual session. And $150 provides one group session of equine therapy. So that is one things that we often ask for, you know, if you feel led to give, please consider supporting a survivor in trauma therapy.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 30:22
      Yeah, that’s, that’s great. And I’m glad you said out loud NorthStarInitiative.org as your website because a lot of our folks that take in our episodes here, watch them on a screen, whether it’s a phone or computer, but we do have podcast listeners. So if you’re listening it is NorthStarInitiative.org. Ladies, can one of you throw out your phone number, please? I just don’t have it in front of me right here at the moment. But let’s get the phone number out for anybody listening.

      Janelle Esbenshade 30:50
      Sure, the phone number is 717-568-2700.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 30:56
      Great. And yeah, I mean, listen, you heard it. All of the charities, the wonderful charities that we have on here, they can use your time to execute on the mission. Obviously, if you can donate they’ll welcome that too. But please check out their website NorthStarInitiative.org if you feel that giving some time is important and you feel this is a good one to support. Please do that you can also go through our website. we will make you aware of volunteering opportunities so you can go to LancasterConnects.com. Normally at this point in time, we donate a little bit of money to each of the charities that come on, and I think what we’re gonna do in this one, we had the opportunity to save some business expenses a week or so ago. So I think it’s important to kind of pass that savings on. It was unexpected at this moment in time. So ladies, I think what we’re going to do is donate $1,000, to North Star Initiative for your efforts and help out the people that you’re called to help and support. So there you go. Thank you and we’re happy to do that. And I really wish that we wouldn’t meet this way. But I’m really happy that you are here, because you’re doing some amazing work to help out those that are really, really in need of the help right here in our backyard. So there you have it listeners if you if you see something suspicious, please bring it up. Call the local police. Bring it to their attention and know that bringing that to everybody’s attention is not going to go to waste. All right, you’ve got two wonderful people right here, making sure that we’re helping out those most affected. Janelle…Aliciat…thank you for joining us, and thank you for all that you do.

      Alicia Corrado 32:41
      Thank you for having us.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 32:44
      All right, so then we’ve got an update.

      Ben McClure 32:50
      Photo Contest.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 32:51
      Yeah. Photo Contest update.

      Ben McClure 32:53
      Yep. So we’re keeping our voting open for the first round of our photo contest for one more week. Make sure you vote. We’ve got three entries. Just leave a one, two or three as a comment on the photo contest round one clip on Facebook with the number that corresponds to your favorite photo. Here’s our entries. Photo number one is from Mike Occhionero. This is what he calls “Springtime in Strasburg”. Just a neat photo. That blue is like such a deep blue. Photo number two is also Mike Occhionero, this is the Hans Herr House in Lancaster County.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 33:37
      And then photo number three is from Sarah Reynolds. And this is Rock Hill Access in Conestoga. And like we said, we need you the audience to help us pick the first winner. So this is it, no more holding it open. We need your votes and we’ll announce that winner. To vote for your favorite, just leave the comment on the photo contest round one clip on Facebook with a one, two or three. And that winner is going to get a custom fit, custom made pillow that we’ll make right here in the store. It’s a $60 value. We will make sure that they wake up happy and sleep better with that pillow. And with that said, we have our sleep pattern tip.

      Ben McClure 34:18
      If we do have a Sleep Better tip, I don’t have it…you do.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 34:21
      I have it. We’re getting better at that, you know?

      Ben McClure 34:24
      What… transitions?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 34:25
      Yeah, man. See now the magic is not to talk about it.

      Ben McClure 34:29
      Okay, yeah.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 34:30
      You know, like comedians [Inaudible]…

      Ben McClure 34:32
      …first rule of Fight Club…?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 34:33
      Yeah, comedians call it “stepping on the laugh” right? Like if they’re laughing don’t tell another joke. Just let them laugh and you get on this side of the of the uproarious laughter.

      Ben McClure 34:44
      I got you.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 34:45
      Anyway yeah, with that said folks our Sleep Better tip. So this comes right from our Sleep Better book. You see it on the screen. This is my coffee for the show. So sleep is a natural skin rejuvenator but did you know that looking better may be as simple as sleeping better? Yes, sleep can enhance your looks naturally. If you’re noticing more fine lines and wrinkles, perhaps instead of shopping for another expensive luxurious miracle cream, you should shop for a luxurious mattress or maybe it’s just time for a new one?They age and you do too. And did you know that while you’re getting a good night’s sleep your amazing body is producing that wonderful age define collagen protein, the same collagen you pay for. And that’s a super ingredient for great skin. So don’t miss out on giving your body the sufficient times it needs time it needs for hormonal and metabolic process to occur while you sleep such as that collagen production. collagen products are abundant in all stores. Since its importance has been brought to the forefront. Most of them are pricey if taken regularly. But there again it depends on your priorities. But if you want some free collagen, if you want collagen enhancement, get a great night’s sleep and if we can help you with that, in a couple of ways. First way would be get your free copy of Sleep Better. We’ll mail you a copy today, just go to our website at GardnersMattressAndMore.com and we’ll be able to help you produce more collagen.

      Ben McClure 36:09
      You must have slept well last night. Your skin is just amazingly radiant.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 36:15
      Smooth and radiant glowing over here.

      Ben McClure 36:19
      Yeah, yeah, for sure. We’ve got some food trucks to talk about…food truck alert. I thought we were promised a food truck thing blinking on the screen?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 36:29
      Yeah, we gotta get the lights in here and sirens anyway take it away.

      Ben McClure 36:33
      The Denver Fire Company in Lancaster will be hosting their 2nd Annual Food Truck Fair on May 8th from noon until 7pm. These food trucks are scheduled to be there: Scoop O’ Dough, Uncle Paul Stuffed Pretzels, that sounds good. Savory Pumpkin Funnel Cakes, Katie’s Cakes, Leiby’s Softserve Ice Cream, Laura’s Handmade Chocolates, Holy Smokes Meats, Catenada’s Mexican Restaurant, The Crazy Train, Fink’s French Fries and Hen House Grilling, and maybe more to come. The location is the Denver Fire Company at 425 Locust Street in Denver. More information at DenverPAFire.org/news.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 37:14
      So that’s my stomping grounds Denver. That’s where when I moved here, that’s where we moved to, to the county. I can speak specifically Castenada’s it’s fantastic Mexican food. We when we did our Gardeners Gives Back Gift Card Drive back in December, when restaurants were shut down pretty quickly for a second round or third round whatever round it was. That was one of them. I stopped that and I just couldn’t pass up the carnitas. Oh, I’m a sucker for pork carnitas. And it was easily I think my second, it was second lunch, but I’m not ashamed to admit it. It was fantastic. So check them out. Check it out. No, no shame there. Well, it was, I just had the pork. I didn’t get any of the…okay, so it was all protein. Right? It was that…it’s that keto low carb. Alright, Farm Show Milkshakes. I know. This guy likes those. Yeah, so this is going on May 5th, 4:30 to 6:30 Farm Show Milkshakes will be at the Fritz Elementary School PTO Playground Fundraiser at Fritz Elementary. That’s 845 Horning Road in Lancaster. So go support them. I mean, again, this has been a sign of the times. All of these great organizations that help our community out they need you and you get a milkshake. Certainly great. I’m a 50-50 kind of guy. Oh, me too. That’s the way to go.

      Ben McClure 38:43
      Yep, yep. For sure.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 38:44
      If you say that, you say 50-50 on a milkshake out of this area they look at you like you got six heads. Anyway, what’s the last one?

      Ben McClure 38:53
      Yeah, Regards Wine Pop Up. May 8 at 5:30. Regards Wines will have a pop up at 4117 Dahlia Court in Mount Joy. They’ll have five wines available on site for sampling. And pre orders can be made by going to their website RegardsWinery.com.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 39:13
      I’m so glad you landed on that one, because I’ve looked at that in the notes before and I’m coming up with 27 ways to say the word “regard”.

      Ben McClure 39:20
      Yeah, right. I’m assuming it’s Regards.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 39:27
      Anyway, you can get all the notes on the show in the show notes that we’ll send out out on the site. All right. So listen, about food trucks. So our viewers want to know where the food trucks are each week. So if you own a food truck, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll tell our viewers where it’ll be so that they can support you. Fill out the contact form on LancasterConnects.com and tell us where you’ll be and when. Be sure to tell us about your food so that we can have people desperate to get it…kind of like the way I spoke about the wonderful family that owns Castenada’s. You can let us know all of that by going to again, LancasterConnects.com and fill out the form. And we’ll be sure to share every share with everybody all about your wonderful food and what you’re doing. And we’d love to have people lined up at your next event so go to LancasterConnects.com and fill out the form and we’ll highlight you on future episodes.

      Ben McClure 40:21
      You know what we should do?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 40:22
      What should we do?

      Ben McClure 40:24
      We should have a food truck bring us some food and we can sample right here on the podcast.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 40:29
      Live on the show. Hey, if we made wolves howl on live TV we can fill our bellies.

      Ben McClure 40:36
      Yeah, I totally do that. All right.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 40:39
      So guests…oh, no, here I go again screwing it up. Oh, wait, no, we did it. I’m right on script…yes, food trucks…any any of those make you hungry or get your mouth watering a little bit?

      Janelle Esbenshade 40:57
      I have to say I love Mexican but for years now, every fair I go to and there’s a food truck. I’m a french fries girl and Fink’s has the best french fries hands down.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 41:11
      All right, there’s one vote for Fink’s. I’m not familiar are they the hand-cut I guess?

      Janelle Esbenshade 41:18
      They are fresh potato, hand cut and I’ll tell you I’ve tried a lot of them and they are the best. So you got to try some Fink’s French Fries if you like fries.

      Ben McClure 41:31
      No, that’s great. Very good Alicia. Mike?

      Mike Simmons 41:35
      I’m all about the barbecue. So there’s a lot of great barbecue trucks out there. Nice. Pork-U…Rockies. But anyway, love to go for the barbecue also the Mexican is good. I love Chella’s and they are out there around Costco.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 42:02
      Alicia, what do you think of Savory Pumpkin Funnel Cakes?

      Alicia Corrado 42:09
      I literally was just thinking that I love funnel cakes, it would be really good.

      Janelle Esbenshade 42:19
      That would be my favorite.

      Ben McClure 42:19
      Everybody’s had a funnel cake.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 42:22
      Yeah, there’s a couple rules at my house. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. So fresh pumpkin pie is a must. I mean, you can throw the other pies on the table, but only with the pumpkin pie first. So that one, yeah, I’m feeling it.

      Mike Simmons 42:38
      I’d be interested in what the savory angle is on the pumpkin.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 42:45
      It’s the fried grease man. That’s the savory, right? Isn’t that what it does? So all right. Well, Mike, you have a local history nugget for us about the Treaty of Lancaster, which I understand was signed on July 4, 1744 at the old courthouse in Penn Square. Aftermath of that’s been had a profound effect on our future on the foundation of our future and democracy. So tell us a little bit more about that.

      Mike Simmons 43:24
      Sure, there’s lots of great, I wouldn’t say unknown facts about Lancaster, but certainly not always that well highlighted, but this is one of them. There’s a treaty conference held right on the square back in 1744. So very early on in history of the city and the country. And it was between the six tribes of the Iroquois Nation and the colonies of Maryland and Virginia over settling a few land disputes things like that. They convened for almost two weeks, so with the Indians camping out around Lancaster and around the square. Ultimately signing the treaty [Inaudible] on July 4, 1744. Thirty-two years to the day prior to the Declaration of Independence. That little tidbit is kind of lost to history. They settled their differences moved on, but what was impactful out of that? That was that there was a presentation made at the end of this treaty conference by the representative the Iroquois Nation. his name was Chief Canasatego. He was a big, tall, six foot-four inch imposing guy and that he already was aware of that the colonists are having trouble with the British trying to decide whether they wanted to rebel or stay as part of town. And he made this presentation where I first held out a single arrow to one of the representatives when they took it as if it was a gift he snatched back from them and snap it over his knee. And he turned around and he had this bundle of 13 arrows prepared behind him which he then held out the same way. They took it he grabbed it back went to break that over his knee and he couldn’t do it of course so his message to them was that you band together as thirteen you’re much stronger than any one of you are on your own. It’s what the Iroquois have been doing for 800 years living under a confederated democracy of sort of a federalist type of system with independent states under one general rule. So, you know, as the founding fathers write about this heard about this, you know, they, Ben Franklin specifically, referenced that often as having a real impact on the foundational thinking what our democracy should look like. So kind of what we have now a confederation of independent states under one general rule. So right here on our central square a very long time ago, so as you’re walking past the monument, just stand there and think about the other cool thing to come out of that, if you will indulge me for a second, my low tech solution, hopefully you can see the eagle there.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 45:48
      Yeah, right there and kind of hold. Yeah, so tell us about that.

      Mike Simmons 45:52
      It’s called the Great Seal of the United States. It has two components, the eagle and the pyramid. So I’ll put this down for a second. So in 1782, they’re negotiating the second Treaty of Paris that extends the Revolutionary War, and they have to come up with a Great Seal the United States. They have to start printing money and stamping official documents and they tried a few times and nobody could agree. Ultimately, they turned to a guy from Lancaster. His name was William Martin. And he was an attorney here, but he also designed coats of arms, things like that. So probably a pretty natural choice. He’s the one that actually came up with the Great Seal that was finally approved. And as on the back of every dollar bill, so if you look at it closely, and I’ll hold it up again, grasping in the in the left talent of the eagle, and it’s not too blurry, you can see that the eagle is grasping a bundle of 13 arrows. Those 13 arrows is a reference to the colonies, but also a direct reference to that treaty conference held right here in 1740. So there you go,

      Jeff Giagnocavo 47:00
      Mike, I’m in awe. And then I sit here and realize I’m pretty like dumb. Because right here in town, yeah, I mean, well, look, I’m glad you’re here to inform me. When it comes to experiencing Lancaster, what does LoKal do? Tell us about it?

      Mike Simmons 47:25
      We started this company as a way to highlight some of the things that often go unhighlighted in Lancaster. Most people think of Lancaster as Amish and outlet shopping and smorgasbord, things like that. And that’s all great. But there’s a lot of other stuff that most of the people coming here don’t even realize they’re here. In fact, the reaction that we get after most of our experiences, and we call them experiences, because they’re not just tours, there are other things too, but is that, “Wow, I had no idea.” And that’s what we’re going for. Even people who live here that take these things. And it’s it’s highlighting much of the we talked about it. But you know, Lancaster has a tremendous, not just history rich and all sorts of periods of the country development but also our, you know, cultural tours, food tours, things like that, that, you know, people get the experience, take him around to places that they couldn’t easily find on their own giving them some access that they wouldn’t normally be able to get without the intimate knowledge of a local so that’s that’s what we try to offer and really bring out something that’s rewarding, educational, enriching, and highlights some of the many aspects of Lancaster that often go unnoticed.

      Ben McClure 48:50
      How did you come up with the idea of [Inaudible]?

      Mike Simmons 48:54
      Well, it kind of goes backen we originally founded the company, but was my wife and I and another couple and our original partner Phil was out, pumping some gas at a gas station in Lamphere and encountered some tourists from Norway who were visiting, having trouble with the map trying to decide what they want to do. And they were going to a particular tourist destination and Phil offered them the opportunity to take them around and through some of his connections and show them maybe a little more authentic view of the county. They took him up on it and he took them around and they invited him to do the same thing with them in Norway which he did and took our daughter along with him along with his daughter. His daughter and my daughter are good friends so they went and toured Norway and while there, they came up with this idea and came back and said you know why don’t we? We’ve grown up here, we know all these great contacts and we buy into the history and culture of the city. And we thought there’s really something to this, you know an authentic experience idea. And so that’s how the idea was born. And it’s called LoKal because that’s the Norwegian word for local. So that’s it. And it’s been great.

      Ben McClure 50:15
      That’s a really cool idea.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 50:18
      So what what are the various types of experiences that LoKal can offer? I mean, not just for tourists, right? I mean, like me, learning about the Lancaster Sqare and the 13 arrows, the dollar bill, locals can can get a tremendous benefit from the different experiences you offer. Tell us about that.

      Mike Simmons 50:37
      Absolutely. What you see on your screen right now, that’s actually a picture of my home where I teach a baking class. I owned a bakery for 20 years here in Lancaster. So like I said, it’s not just tours, it’s experiences. So you get to come and learn how to properly make pastry and walk out with some great desserts and all in about two hours. And people really enjoy that we do these things. We have food tours down in the city, where we take them around all these little great food shops, where they they might wander into only one of them or two of them on their own. But being able to put that together, get the access for the people that own them, run them and spend some time with them while they’re there. You know, we have other experiences. We highlight some of the great restaurants in the city. So restaurant tours. My own personal favorites are the history tours, because I’m just kind of a geeky local historian. And there’s just so so much here. We do a two hour Lancaster history and craft beer tour. So throw two of my favorite things together the history of of Lancaster and some great craft brewers. So you can’t go wrong there. That’s a lot of fun. I went to F & M you know, 100 years ago, and the West End has some great dive bars. So we do a dive bar experience where we go into all these great little, not back alley, but you know, corner bars, and things that are 50-100 years old and haven’t changed much and people really love that too. So you know, lots of different things. We have a couple that are Amish related. And we do sort of a Lancaster at 30,000 feet tour where we highlight Lancaster. Spend a little shorter time downtown, but we give a little background of our city and downtown and then head out into the country. And that’s and that’s one of my favorite things about Lancaster is you can be in a fairly cosmopolitan hip city and all kinds of stuff going and five minutes later, you can be out in just beautiful rolling hills in the countryside. And we we get to have access to some private Amish homes that we will take them to so it’s not a tourist destination. It’s not a you’re not there with 100 other people, you’re just getting to see the grounds and see how they live. We do Amish meals, where we do a little history. We have a driving tour of the history of the Amish and Mennonite settlements here in Lancaster County, and we’re talking about their culture and things like that, and then end up that private Amish home where they can enjoy lunch or dinner with them on a one-to-one basis, which really gives us experience it up close.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 53:23
      How did you make that connection to, you know, the Amish families that you spend time with? What what’s the connection there?

      Mike Simmons 53:31
      Well, we’ve lived here for a very long time. I wasn’t born here, but I moved here in 1972. I grew up in Strasburg and between the four of us, we know people and it just started from there. And they said yes, and you know, what, my friend over here would, would enjoy that doing that as well. So we kind of developed over time a network of people that just through through contacts and goodwill and and, you know, being respectful and making it, you know, a great experience, not only for our guests, but also for him. So that’s that’s kind of how that’s developed. And it just continues to grow from that.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 54:18
      So yeah, I mean, I guess the reason I asked the question I did was as you know, you think the general 30,000 foot view, if you will, of Mennonite Amish is that, you know, they don’t want photos take and they’re very insular, you know, kind of a closed community. But that’s great that you’ve been able to, to make an inroad there and have a great connect a personal connection where they have a great level of trust with your company and you for the folks that you’re going to be bringing around.

      Mike Simmons 54:45
      Thanks. And that is the case and the way I usually explain it to our guests is that you know, this is something that the Amish really like and it is you know it is a little counterintuitive on the front end, but they’re used to being gawked at and seen as a curiosity, people hanging out their car windows, you know, taking pictures of them while they’re trying to conduct their day to day life. This gives them an opportunity to meet one to one, realize that you know what, they’re just people like everybody else just doing it a little differently. And I find that they find it to be a great opportunity not just to share their own cultural way of life, but also to learn about everybody else’s. So it’s just a wonderful, organic process or event for everybody. And I think they really enjoy it. So it’s really not been hard to develop that as a result.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 55:44
      Yeah. Are the Amish tours your most popular experience? Or what what would you say the people looking for

      Mike Simmons 55:54
      I mean, this in the best way, it’s the low hanging fruit, because that’s what people coming here are looking for. And what we’re trying to provide is something that’s a little different than what they’ve been used to getting. But yeah, so they’re very popular, but also the, you know, more and more, you know, as you start with this stuff, and you get reactions, reviews, things like that, you know, the each each experience builds momentum. And we’re a couple years in now. So a lot of the other ones that started out a little more slowly, are really catching on. I mean, I’ve done hundreds, literally of Lancaster history tours and the craft brew tour, where people sign up and pay money to spend a couple hours and really take a deep dive into what Lancaster has to offer.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 56:51
      Obviously we’re in this pandemic COVID time and you’re still doing tours. Why don’t you share with our watchers and our listener how you’re affecting that safely for them?

      Mike Simmons 57:06
      Well, normally, we have about a dozen offerings. I am saying normally, when it’s before COVID hit, that are small scale, a dozen or so people. Our less intimate experiences, some of those we’re not able to do because they’re not COVID friendly. We want to be outside. So that is limited to those. We’re very adamant that people mask and we have sanitizer and masks available, if they don’t have their own. We make sure that when we do go into places that we are respectful of everybody else. But there’s a lot of things that we would normally be doing that we can’t. We also do some large scale events. So we have one that we call the “Witness Experience” where we show the movie “Witness” at Zootropolis in the city and then we go out to the farm where “Witness” was filmed and you get the opportunity to tour around the farm with a lot of the setup and things that’s through a private relationship with the owners of the farm. It’s an Amish family and then have a long table Amish meal out on the lawn. So naturally, we can’t do that with 150 people right now. We’ve also partnered with Bridge which is a great organization here in Lancaster that helps refugees who settle here get on their feet. And it’s an experience that we host with them. We’ve done it a couple times before COVID shut down and it was incredibly well received and a really, really powerful thing. We bring a couple of their refugee families along and we hold it at an Amish house who is capable of hosting this big event. They all make their their ethnic foods. The Amish are kind of, some of the original refugees. So it’s amazing how much they actually have in common with the Syrian family or Somali family. And so they make this great collective ethnic buffet and everybody gets to eat all this great food and then the most powerful part is they share their stories. So looking forward to getting back to doing that kind of thing again, but for now we’re doing what we do.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 59:38
      So website is LoKal Experiences. That’s LoKalExperiences.com. If you’re interes,ted in getting out of the house and taking a COVID safe tour Mike, what’s the best way for them to connect with your company to get something booked?

      Mike Simmons 59:57
      Yeah, well, you can we try to make it as easy as possible for everybody to book so you go to our website and you just pick the experience you want, just click the “Book Now” button and you can go there and it shows all the availability, all the pricing, and all the information about what experience you might want. You can book, you can go on our Facebook page and click directly through to that. That’s the LoKal Experience. So you know, like and share. You can buy gift certificates in any amount or things like that. They’re great gifts to give to people and they get delivered electronically, if that’s what you want. So lots and lots of ways. You can always email us at info@LoKalExperiences.com get on there . Or just call us directly and we’ll do our very best to accommodate you. We’re trying to be as nimble as possible right now.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:00:50
      Well, thanks for joining us, Mike.

      Mike Simmons 1:00:52
      Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:00:55
      Again, for those listening. LoKal, connect with Mike and his team at LoKalExperiences.com. Great company, a great local asset. Mike, thanks for joining us. Hang tight, we’ll wrap up the show here in just a few minutes.

      Ben McClure 1:01:17
      Have you got a worthwhile cause that can make excellent use of members of the Lancaster community? What are you laughing at Jeff?

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:01:26
      You sounded like Christopher Walken there for a second.

      Ben McClure 1:01:29
      Have you got a worthwhile cause that can make excellent use of members of the Lancaster community, volunteering their time? That’s what the Lancaster Connects Community is all about. Whether you have a good cause that needs volunteers, or you want to donate your time to help out in the community. We want to hear from you. If you’d like to volunteer your time and enter our free giveaway at LancasterConnects.co, that’s our restaurant gift card giveaway. But you can also check the box confirming that you’d like to volunteer. We’ll connect you to local nonprofits and charitable organizations. Also, if you’ve got a good cause that could use some volunteers that we can then promote for you on our show then please get in touch via the contact form at LancasterConnects.com.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:02:21
      And remember this show is also available as a podcast so find the links at LancasterConnects.com and please don’t forget, sharing is caring. Like and share this video, leave a comment and tell a friend about the show. If you enjoy it, it is likely your friends your family will too. And it will greatly help us get the show seen more and spread more. And again connect the community to one another highlight these great charities and these great local businesses. So yeah, we did our virtual MS Walk this past weekend. But there’s still others going on. MS is a disease that affects a lot of people. We’ve had many a customer come through the store that has MS. My wife has been battling MS for I guess coming up on 20-21 years now. Twenty years now I think it is actually. Virtual walk happening here in Lancaster on Saturday, May 15th. You can go to NationalMSSociety.org for links there too. If you want to participate or donate, you can go to our show notes and get all the specific links that we are highlighting for you at LancasterConnects.com

      Ben McClure 1:03:31
      We’ve got some Memorial Day preparations to talk about. Memorial Day is coming up at the end of May. We’ve got volunteers needed at the Stevens Greenland Cemetery. There’s an effort, an informal collaboration to honor those who have been forgotten and who served our country in the ultimate way now interred at Stevens Greenland Cemetery. If you’d like to help, there’s several ways to participate. Number one, you can volunteer to help with cleanup for all the Saturday mornings between now and Memorial Day. Two, you can donate for repairs and ongoing maintenance. And third way to help is you can attend on Memorial Day to honor those who have served our country. Email drive@co.lancaster.pa.us for anyone that is interested in volunteering. But really the best thing you could do is stop by Stephen Stephens Greenland cemetery on Saturday mornings, just stop by their stand or if you’d like to volunteer again, the email address is drive@co.lancaster.pa.us You don’t have to remember all of that you could go to LancasterConnects.com and you could get all the information about helping them out. And thanks again to Benton Webber who provided that information to us.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:04:53
      You got that one again. That’s a tough one…drive@co.lancaster.pa.us

      Ben McClure 1:05:00

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:05:00
      I’ll get that one next time. Good. Anyway, there’s a blood drive going on. And did you know that giving blood can actually help reduce stress? So this blood drive is happening May 8th, 10-2 at the City Center Branch of the Lancaster family YMCA. You can support the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank and this drive by giving blood and you’ll receive a pair of Lancaster Barnstormer tickets. There you go. Barnstormers are back on. So reduce stress by giving blood and then go have some fun with the family at the ballpark. All right, those tickets are good for any 2021 regular season game. To donate you need a form of ID and you can contact Jessie Rodriguez, and his email is JRodriguez@LancasterYMCA.org and that’s JRodriguez@LancasterYMCA.org for more information.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:05:09
      LEADS, L-E-A-D-S, stands for Lancaster’s Economic Action for Downtown Success. They will be having their next basket hanging in downtown Lancaster on Saturday, May 16. They’re looking for volunteers. It starts at 8:30am on Saturday morning until about 11 or noon. Doughnuts and coffee will be available for the volunteers. You can get more information at info@LancasterLEADS.org or go to their Facebook page facebook.com/LancasterLEADS.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:06:34
      Bsket plants are not useful in our house we we don’t do good keeping them around but I’m sure LEADS does a great job of beautifying Lancaster but…

      Ben McClure 1:06:48
      Well, you’ve got to water them.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:06:50
      Yes we do. So. Pet of the Week, Lucy. Lucy has been highlighted on the show before still needs a new home. Time is not I don’t want to say running out okay. Lucy will always be in the foster network. But you know the needs are there. We we’ve seen Lucy before and I learned this morning before coming in to record, that Lucy has actually been in the home of the founder of Zoe’s house, Lakin, and I share that because I know Lakin is just exceptional at getting dogs out of terrible situations and making them really great pets for just average Joe and Sue pet owner. Okay, so she spent a ton of time with Lakin. She’s also currently with Kim, who’s a tremendous Foster. Again, very adept at getting a dog as you see, to play in a pack-type setting like you see right now on your screen. She just looks like a sweetheart. Kim’s gonna have a lot of stuff going on at her home towards the end of the month of May. So it’d be really great if we could help Lucy find her forever home. It’d be great if we could help that so you can go to ZoesHouseRescue.com for more information. Obviously, if we timeout in May she’ll find a new home at a foster but you know that kind of resets the clock for these pets. If they have to go from a new home to a new home to a new home, it’s rough on them. So we’d really like to see that Lucy gets her final home that can love her forever. If you can help us with that you go to ZoesHouseRescue.com for more information. And they’ll get you set up with Lucy.

      Ben McClure 1:08:37
      Coming into the homestretch right now we’ve got our gift card winners, restaurant gift card, you can enter that contest at LancasterConnects.com and we’re giving away two $25 restaurant gift cards every episode every week. Congratulations to this week’s winners, Tina Blum from Mannheim and Lucinda Prince from New Holland. Again, you can register for your chance to win next week at Lancaster Connects.com we give away two $25 restaurant gift cards.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:09:11
      And if you have a restaurant that you’d like us to highlight, if you own a restaurant, you’d like to give a card that we could give away, please reach out to us again at LancasterConnects.com. That’s the hub for everything going on here for the show. Guests, thank you so much for joining us. I have one last question for you all. We kind of wrap up the show this way. What do you love most about the area? What do you enjoy doing the most and we’ll kind of start clockwise from the top. We’ll go to Alicia first then Mike and then Janelle.

      Alicia Corrado 1:09:41
      I really love the weather this time of year so I like to take a lot walks after work to de-stress.

      Ben McClure 1:09:48
      This week is supposed to be fantastic. I think I saw 80s on Wednesday when the show releases.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:09:57
      Well that’s good. Yep. Mike?

      Ben McClure 1:10:08
      Need to unmute Mike.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:10:15
      All right, well, let’s go to Janelle. And we’ll try to come back to Mike.

      Janelle Esbenshade 1:10:21
      Yeah, so I as well love this time of year. I love the fact that Lancaster has just a lot of activities and different events going on that there’s not a shortage of things that you can do to get outside, go downtown or even like in other like local counties, and just do some fun stuff. You know, the one thing I also appreciate about this community is just how giving they are. We just have an amazing community that really loves to support one another and even through COVID I think we’ve just seen such an amount of generosity. So I just really appreciate that about our community.

      Jeff Giagnocavo 1:10:57
      Yeah, and I think that always comes to a highlight in November. The Extraordinary Give is an everyday thing, but I think it’s nice to have that time each year to really kind of spotlight it again, if you if you felt compelled to give to this show NorthStarInitiative.org. Mike, do we have you back for what we love about Lancaster? We do not. Well. Either way. Mike loves Lancaster. All right. He’s the guy to tell you all things Lancaster. He’s with LoKal Experiences. Wonderful company here right in town. Kind of giving you the background, the history, the foundational stuff of right here, in our backyard. So that’s wonderful. And he’s got all the good connections for all the behind the scenes stuff here in town. So that’s Mike with LoKal Experiences. Ladies, thank you for joining us, Mike, thank you for joining us. We’ll see you on the next episode of Lancaster Connects.

      Georgia 1:12:23
      Get Super Cereal.

      Listen On:

      Sign Up For Lancaster Connect’s Weekly Giveaway!

      THIS WEEK: Enter To Win One Of TWO $25 Restaurant Gift Cards, Sponsored By Gardner’s Mattress & More!

      During each week’s episode of Lancaster Connects, Jeff & Ben draw winners from the last episode’s giveaway, and announces the winner(s) on the show.

      Make sure you fill out the form, then watch the next episode to find out if you win!

      Winners will be contacted via the details submitted on the form.

      There is absolutely no purchase necessary to win. Winners are chosen randomly on the show.

      *Make sure you come back each week and enter your information again, for your chance to win in the next giveaway!

      *You’ll also be subscribed to our email list.

      Latest Episodes…