They are the heart of the LNP Opinion pages. Their voices are heard over and over in letters to the editor, pointing out societal ills and government missteps, championing some elected officials and excoriating others, debating the great political questions of our generation, offering insight on Lancaster County, our commonwealth and our country. Once again, we honor the year’s most prolific letter writers. Here, they share a little bit about why they write and what they are thinking about as we head into 2019.

Dora Catherson

From: Lancaster

Number of letters: 13

Topics included: Fairness for senior citizens, Medicare, motherhood, unfounded accusations, the dangers of fireworks, recycling and the merits of cursive writing.

Looking ahead: Catherson’s concerns for 2019 include the possibilities of war and higher taxes

Frank C. Fryburg

From: Manheim Township

Number of letters: 12

Topics included:  Investigating reckless politicians, funding the government, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, tax cuts, judges who support the Constitution, Lou Barletta and unjust criticism of President Donald Trump.

Looking ahead: Fryburg states: “I write letters in support of President Trump and Rep. Smucker in an effort to present the true facts concerning their positive contributions to the nation and Lancaster County. My main concern for 2019 is whether anything positive will be accomplished now that the Democrats will have control of the U.S. House.”

Joe Heller

From: New Holland

Number of letters: 12

Topics included: The gubernatorial race, Pennsylvania education reform, Department of Environmental Protection permits, property tax reform, water quality, arbitrary municipal regulations and boating access.

Looking ahead: Heller states: “First of all, thank you for your diligence in screening, promoting and refining the letter-to-the-editor process. I write letters to the LNP editors because it is a very cost-effective way of spreading ideas. A growing concern for 2019 is the bloom of not-for-profit organizations that take so much money out of our standard economy. Productive jobs go unfilled because standard for-profit businesses lack the revenue needed to pay competitive wages after covering the mandated costs imposed by multiple levels of government.”

Randy L. Herman

From: Manor Township

Number of letters: 12

Topics included: Collective bargaining, the values taught by parents, Worley & Obetz employees, unfair judgments of our police force and the need for politicians to legislate and not investigate.

Looking ahead: Herman states: “Thank you for the recognition. I write my letters because I feel as though some of your views and your readers’ views need a different perspective on certain issues, especially when it comes to law enforcement issues. Also, I talk with a lot of people who share my thoughts and opinions and who encourage me to write. For 2019, I once again would like to see the rhetoric in this country toned down quite a bit. I also would like to see this newly elected Congress work for the people of this country rather than their own personal agendas. I also would like to see more respect shown toward our law enforcement officers, instead of criticism and scrutiny.”

Timothy Runkle

From: Elizabethtown

Number of letters: 12

Topics included: The Green Party, government spending, welfare, dark money and its effect on democracy and the environment.

Looking ahead: Runkle states: “I write to share a view of local affairs that is focused on peace, justice, ecology, and democracy. I am concerned that we will continue to allow private interests to divide our communities. We must educate, agitate, and organize to ensure that people and the planet are put before profits.”

Dan Betz

From: Ephrata

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Criticism of President Donald Trump, criticism of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, negative campaigning, the resiliency of America and our shared values.

Looking ahead: Betz states: “It is a challenge expressing my opinions clearly in a minimum amount of words. I am somewhat apprehensive over the coming food fight between the Democratic-controlled House and Trump’s White House. Not only will the food be thrown but I fear so will the plates and the silverware.”

Terry W. Blue

From: Manor Township

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: The White House celebration of the tax cut, the idea of not having any political parties, relying on “the better angels of our nature” and the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Looking ahead: Blue states: “I believe in the right and need to elect state and national politicians who are realistic and rational in the effort to support the needs of all Americans.” His greatest concerns for 2019 are “surviving the uninformed and dangerous actions of an incompetent president” and “finding and/or developing sufficient voters who look forward rather than back when dealing with the crucial issues that confront us.”

Denise Clissold

From: Elizabethtown

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Displaying holiday camaraderie throughout the year, standing up for what you believe in, the American middle class, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, elected officials’ need to serve the people and the Donald Trump presidency.

Looking ahead: Clissold states: “I write letters to the editor because there are topics in the news that are extremely important to me and others. My greatest concern in 2019 is that the government officials who are supposed to be adults and fight for me aren’t.”

Daniel Ebersole

From: Lancaster

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: The Central Park Five, criticism of President Donald Trump, the border wall, the move of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Billy Graham and kleptocracy in the United States.

Looking ahead: Ebersole states: “I bear witness as a self-absorbed president obsesses over ratings and crowd size, while our country and the world suffer his worst impulses. My gratitude to LNP opinion editors for their judicious review and corrections, rendering the letters I’ve submitted more readable.” Asked about 2019, Ebersole quoted Thomas Jefferson in his hope “(that we witness) a little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles.”

Ted Fabianski

From: Manor Township

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Criticism of the national media, the debate over gun control, the lowering of our moral standards, illegal immigration, President Donald Trump, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and criticism of carbon fee and dividend proposals.

Looking ahead: Fabianski states: “I am grateful to live in a country where we have the opportunity to be able to voice our opinion on important matters and enjoy doing so. I am concerned that political persecution of our president by overzealous and politically motivated congressmen and prosecutors will get worse, all to the detriment of the American people.”

Jerry Lee Miller

From: Manheim Township

Number of letters: 11

Topics included:  The threat of nuclear war, the courageous example set by nuns, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker and the environment, young people making a difference and finding a bipartisan solution to climate change.

Looking ahead: Of concerns for 2019, Miller states: “Substantial carbon emissions reduction. Congress must pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a bipartisan climate bill. It's effective. Good for people. Good for the economy.”

Dr. Alan Peterson

From: Pequea Township

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: America’s prominence in the field of science, destruction of the environment, the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline, air quality, fossil fuel divestment, the family separation crisis and gun violence as a public health concern.

Looking ahead: Peterson writes: “I’ve been an educator of physicians and patients all my professional career and I feel it is still part of my calling. I must do this for as long as I can. There is no greater concern than continuing climate and environmental degradation. Death from guns, family separation of immigrants, lead poisoning and inadequate immunizations are continuing physical and mental issues we must learn to solve.”

Homer Snavely

From: Cleona

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Benevolence, God, our climate, America’s need for a spiritual awakening, pit bulls, the decline in grammar and President Donald Trump.

Looking ahead: Snavely writes: “America is in trouble. Much of the Church of Jesus Christ is asleep, having lost its salt and is swallowed up in the declining culture. We’ve succumbed to frightening new levels of tolerance under the guise of political correctness. Relative truth has taken the high road, resulting in the quandary we find ourselves in today. I have the same concerns that I pray and wish for every year — that America will finally come to her senses and return to the God of the Bible as our firm foundation. He alone is the sovereign ruler of the universe; His love extends to everyone and through genuine contrition He is able to restore our land once again as a beacon of light to all nations.”

Anne Spadea

From: West Lampeter Township

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Pet Pantry of Lancaster County, trap-neuter-and-release programs, the power of the media, animal adoption and animal welfare.

Looking ahead: Spadea states: “My letters concerning Pet Pantry are written so I can help get the word out to people about what is needed to help the pantry meet the need of families and their pets. Also, all the services they provide, and a behind the scenes look at what is being accomplished. My concerns  for 2019 are rising health care and prescription drug prices, property tax hikes and Medicare and Social Security concerns for the future. Our children and grandchildren need to benefit from these programs.”

Steve Vogel

From: Oxford

Number of letters: 11

Topics included: Term limits, rehabilitation for addicts, the shrinking state hospital system, criticism of the potential legalization of marijuana, the need for new voices in Harrisburg and distracted drivers.

Looking ahead: Vogel states: “I think your readers need to see someone who thinks outside the box, someone who brings a different perspective to what is going on in this country — an outside view. The biggest issue for 2019 is President Donald Trump and ditches he is digging for everyone in this country. Also, getting term limits on the politicians.”

Charles Anderson

From: Quarryville

Number of letters: 10

Topics included: Paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall, criticism of Republicans, the National Rifle Association, the Trump-Putin summit, the need to return to paper ballots, money in politics and the need for everyone to vote.

Looking ahead: Anderson states: “I think we need more people getting involved in how the country is being run at home and in Washington, D.C. We the people need to question how our country is being run. My greatest concerns are the people running this country, how much they lie, how greedy they are and how hateful they have become. I was brought up to help my neighbor.”

Matthew Atlee

From: Manor Township

Number of letters: 10

Topics included: Paradoxes and ironies, America’s changed leadership model, China, the need for more freethinking politicians, Lancaster’s conservatism, the midterm election and morality and politics.

Looking ahead: Atlee states: “Writing is the flip side of reading and I love reading. I’m cautiously optimistic about 2019.”

Melvin “Pete” Snyder

From: West Donegal Township

Number of letters: 10

Topics included: Energy policy, poverty, access to guns, the need for a living wage, Three Mile Island and its future, national anthem protests, the idea of free college and contemplating capitalism and greed.

Looking ahead: Snyder writes: “I write letters to the editor when I see or hear something that sounds unfair, ill-advised and not in the best interest of all in our country. In 2019, I expect major battles over immigration, the fitness of Donald Trump to serve as president, our national debt and health care. All of these and more will bring into focus the glaring differences between the goals and mindset of the two major parties. I fully expect that, as an independent, both sides will have stands that I can’t stand, so I’ll write.”