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News & Gossip:

• Kudos to students at Conestoga High School, whose newspaper, The Spoke, was honored with a gold rating by the Pennsylvania School Press Association for the third consecutive year. Spoke staffers received a total of 42 awards for general quality and exceptional layout, editorials and cartoons.

• Chester County history buffs can indulge their curiosity with Malvern Items 1870-2006 written by former resident Nancy B. Schmitt (who now lives in Exton). The 144-page book details efforts to preserve the Paoli Battlefield, owned by Malvern Prep before it was temporarily up for grabs. The book was published by the Malvern Historical Commission, for which Schmitt serves as a consultant. With a title taken from a long-defunct community newspaper, it features profiles of prominent Malvern folks who’ve been honored by having local parks or buildings named after them.

• One of the Main Line’s favorite and oldest haunts, Mapes—and owner J. Raymond Benner—were featured in a Dec. 3 Philadelphia Inquirer column highlighting its continued success in the face of chain-store competition. A mini-empire of six five-and-dimes, toy, card and hardware stores, Mapes first opened in 1897. Benner, who took over in 1974, is currently in the process of merging two stores and scouting new locations. Apparently he has no intention of giving up his piece of the pie.

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