The following questions were recently asked on the Wonderline:

Q: When the snow melts or when it rains really hard, the gravel/dirt streets in York just get so muddy. Is there any chance that they will ever be paved?

A: The paving of the dirt/gravel streets in the city has been on the one- and six-year long-term program for decades but the work is never done because it would require the approval of the majority of adjacent property owners (who would share in the cost of the paving). And so far, that hasn’t happened.

Q: So Mike Weskamp resigned his position on the school board. That will create a vacancy in January, correct? Because there were three seats up for election, three people ran and those people (two incumbents and a newly elected person) will take those seats. But with Weskamp’s resignation, there will be a vacancy to be filled because that seat was not up for election. Is that correct?

A: York Superintendent Mike Lucas said yes, that is correct.

“Alison Graham won the election as a non-incumbent and will be replacing Amie Kopcho, who did not seek re-election to the school board,” Lucas explained. “It is the board’s intent to appoint Amie Kopcho at the Jan. 14 board meeting to fill out the term of Mike Weskamp, who replaced Phil Towle. That term will end in December, 2020.”

Q: Why are the flags still at half-staff? Is that still because of President Bush’s death?

A: Yes, it is.

Guidelines were outlined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1954 proclamation and President Donald Trump declared it as such at the time of former President Bush’s death.

The guidelines in President Eisenhower’s proclamation say that flags are to be left at half-staff for 30 days after the death of a president or former president.

If the vice-president, the chief justice or a retired chief justice of the United States Supreme Court dies, or the speaker of the House of Representatives, the flag is to be flown at half-staff for 10 days.

Q: I love listening to Christmas songs through December and get a kick out of hearing different singers do different versions of the old favorites. So this morning, on the way to work, I was wondering what are the most popular Christmas carols — which ones have been recorded and re-recorded the most?

A: Good question!

According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the top five most performed (recorded) holidays songs (tracking plays in the United States only) are:

1. “The Christmas Song,” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), written in 1944.

2. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” written in 1944.

3. “Winter Wonderland,” written in 1934.

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” written in 1934.

5. “White Christmas,” written in 1945.

Q: Why are candy canes red and white striped?

A: No one knows who exactly invented the stripes in candy canes, but Christmas cards prior to 1900 showed only all-white candy canes. After 1900, they showed them striped. It was around that time that candy makers started adding peppermint and wintergreen flavors to their canes, which then became favorites — and the striping was a way to incorporate those flavors during the creation process.

And then it appears the tradition just stuck.

Q: Why do people decorate sugar cookies for Christmas?

A: Modern Christmas cookies can trace their history to recipes from Medieval European biscuits. By the 16th century, Christmas biscuits had become popular across Europe.

The earliest examples of Christmas cookies in the United States were brought by the Dutch in the early 17th century. Due to a wide range of cheap imported products from Germany between 1871 and 1906, cookie cutters became available in American markets. These imported cookie cutters often depicted highly styled images with subjects designed to hang on Christmas trees. Due to the availability of the cutters, recipes began to appear in cookbooks designed for their use.

In the early 20th century, U.S. merchants started importing decorated cookies from Germany to be used as presents.

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