I grew up in Centre County, was weaned on ice cream at Don Bollers Dairy Queen and firemans carnival pizza, and I still learn something with every new edition of the Users Guide.
The Centre Daily Times has been producing these annual gems for a decade and a half. And as youll see as you flip through this section, the Users Guide is chock full of interesting and worthwhile information for new or longtime residents of our region, or for visitors to the county.
Having lived in various spots around Centre County, I see myself as something of an expert on local sites and traditions.
But theres always a nugget or two of information in this section I hadnt encountered before.
Such as ...
Walker Township has been the fastest-growing municipality in the county, according to U.S. census data.
Two paving companies Glenn O. Hawbaker and HRI Inc. are among the top 10 employers in the county. And yes, Penn State remains No. 1 no surprise there.
At last count, 55 wells had been drilled in Centre County as the region taps into the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom.
Local football rivals Bald Eagle Area and Bellefonte are actually scheduled to meet twice in 2012. Back when I was in the BEA band, one clash with our neighbors was about all we could handle. Later, when my kids attended Bellefonte, it felt the same way it was the big game on the schedule. But twice in one season wow.
The region is known for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and the Peoples Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts. But if visual arts is your thing, you can check out organizations such as the Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society, the Surface Artists Cooperative and Stitch Your Art Out and many more. Who knew?
Many talented people have worked on this section including Laurie Jones, Matt Hymowitz and Brett Colton in our newsroom.
As they certainly could tell you, theres so much to see and do here ...
Were blessed with tons of recreational opportunities from kayaking and horseback riding to ice hockey, tennis and martial arts. If you like to do it or even if you want to learn how you can find it here.
The county is home to four school districts and three others that overlap our borders, along with an institute of science and technology. Want to know which district has the best test scores? Or maybe you want to know which one has the lowest taxes? I found it all in these pages, along with lists of day care centers and preschools as well as charter, private and even virtual schools. Quality educational opportunities abound.
There are at least 16 places in Centre County where you can get a license for your dog, but you need to know where to look. And were home to numerous animal shelters run by caring people.
When it comes to exploring your faith, the region offers a variety of houses of worship from Baptist (American, Independent, Reformed, Southern) to Methodist (Free and United) and more. Are you Muslim or Mennonite, Episcopal or evangelical? You name it, weve got it in terms of connection places for spirituality.
In these pages you can meet your elected officials, find a fire company, pick a park for camping or get ready to recycle.
Well take you to pools for swimming, caves for exploring and libraries for reading.
Youve got our Users Guide for 2012-13.
Now get out there and experience Centre County!
Chip Minemyer is the executive editor of the Centre Daily Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 231-4640.