C.C. reader. ([Middletown, Pa.]) 1973-1982, May 14, 1981, Image 1

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    Pennsylvania State University at Capitol Campus 10
1111 Ite S I It
Volume 14, No. 4
From One Capitol to Another
By Kathy Kern
In one word, describe a typical day of
Ask the same question to State Rep.
Don Snyder (R-Emniaus), a Capitol
Campus graduate, and you might find
your answer is the same as his: busy!
In an interview with him at the
Capitol Building, it was easy to see why
a typical day of the representative is so
busy. In fact, Mr. Snyder was voting on
the House floor when the Sergeant-At-
Arms got the representative's attention
to meet for the interview.
After graduating from Capitol in
1973 with a degree in business adminis
tration, as well as involvement in several
community groups, Mr. Snyder was
appointed to a township planning com
The politician noted that he was the
youngest person ever appointed to the
commission. "From there, my interest in
local government grew," he said.
By Yvonne Harhigh
As the refs skate onto the ice, the
sign goes up. The crowd reads the bold,
black letters THE THREE STOOGES"
and snickers. The proud sign holder is a
familiar face to American Hockey
League fans, especially those in Hersey,
As Hershey Bear rightwinger Archie
Henderson glides slowly to the penalty
box, he notices some commotion in the
seats. The Sign Man is standing on his
chair again, this time wearing an imita
tion referee's jersey and yellow garden
er's gloves. Leaning over the glass, he's
angrily yelling, "Whatsa matter with
you, Ref, are you blind? You stink!" With
a disgusted look and exaggerated ges
tures, he points to the ref, then holds his
nose. The fans encourage their mock
official further and Archie gives them all
The Sign Man flashes his poetic opinion as Hershey falls to Adirondack.
READER Photo by Yvonne Harhigh
He was first elected in 19'77 for a
four-year term as a township commis
sioner in South Whitehall, and was
appointed president of the commission at
the beginning of 1980. During this time,
Mr. Snyder was serving a local township
as well as a legislative district.
Feeling the pressures both offices
can bring, Mr. Snyder resigned frbm his
township position in January of 1981. "I
felt there was a potential conflict of
interest in serving a legislative district
and a local township," he added, saying
that he is now better able to concentrate
on his legislative position.
In his legislative work, Mr. Snyder is
a member of three House committees.
He serves on the Professional License
Committee, the Game and Fisheries
Committee, and also the Committee on
Local Government.
"I find that I can make quite a few
contributions on many of the bills that
come through the local government
committee," Snyder said, noting that the
Signs of a
a toothless smile, wondering what grown
man would have the guts to act like that
in front of 4,000 people.
Although few of those fans know his
name, Alan "Big Al" Boyton is the
Hershey Bears' Sign Man. An ordinary
looking man of 26, this outspoken hockey
lover is a dedicated fan -- in an out of the
arena -- who shows his enthusiasm in
some unusual ways.
His wife, Dee, remembers, for in
stance, how uniquely Al expressed his
happiness when their daughter was
born. "Al was at the Bears' game, as
usual, the day after Jennifer was born
and he even had a sign for that!" On the
front of a two by three foot piece of
paper, Al had neatly printed "IT'S A
GIRL, 7 LBS. 3 OZS." on the back,
And thanks to her dad, Jennifer is
already the envy of most little boys in
her neighborhood. At just 14 months old,
Middletown, PA. 17057
experience he gained from working in
local government for seven years has
helped him to make these contributions.
At Capitol, the representative was
chairman of , the Social Committee. He
said this position--plus participation in
other organizations and interest groups--
gave him a solid background to work in
Mr. Snyder also commented that his
business background helps him in con
sidering problems with taxes and budg
ets, and also aids him in judging bills and
amendments. "In government, I think
you need a varied background," he
added, saying that his business skills and
his interests in different organizations
are a great help in his legislative work.
But what keeps this representative
going when he gets tired of the compli
cations of his job?
Mr. Snyder said his interest in the
job and the problems which need to be
solved are his motivators. "Government
is really a 'people business,' and that's
True Fan
she has her own maroon and white
Hershey Bears t-shirt, her own little
New York Rangers jersey and even her
own hockey stick, a shortened Koho that
belonged to Nelson Burton, a former
Hershey player.
Al's interest in hockey began when
he was young, too, although he was more
than 14 months. "Living in Carteret,
N.J., just 18 miles south of New York,
I've been a diehard Ranger fan as long as
I can remember. In fact, as a senior in
high school, a friend and I recorded
every single Rangers' game that was on
television or the radio," he recalls with a
smile. "We even set our alarms and got
up at 1 or 2 a.m. to catch a late away
game. At the end of the season, we put
the highlights together, and added our
own commentating of course, and used it
as our project for our communications
Soon after his attempt at broadcast
ing, Al switched to a more active role in
hockey. As a husky freshman, he began
playing goalie for the West Virginia
University Hockey Club, which he and
another friend started.
"We're proud of that," he boasts,
displaying his navy blue and gold WVU
HOCKEY jacket. "We started it in 1972,
when there were only two ice rinks in
the whole state. We all paid for the
uniforms ourselves and we ended up
practicing at two or three in the morning
in Pittsburgh. It was two hours away,
but it was the only place we could get ice
time. Anyway, thanks to our beginning,
WVU has now built its own arena."
By his last year at WVU, Al had
given up goaltending and only coached
the club. "Maybe it was the 19 goals I
gave up that one game," he wonders in
his typical joking manner.
After college, Al managed a Gordon's
Jewelers store in Indiana, where he
followed the minor league Indianapolis
Racers. Then, the same year he and Dee
moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the
Racers folded; it seems surprising that a
14 May 1981
what keeps it going," the young politi
cian said. He also commented that the
learning element of the job makes it
And to the theory that politicians
don't do any work, Mr. Snyder has a
simple reply: "Try it for one day!"
Mr. Snyder said that people do not
see the real activity of the House of
Representatives and, though the system
may appear to be non-productive when
on the House floor, things are happening
behind the scenes. Debates may also
appear to be non-productive, he said, but
do have a purpose. During his studies at
Capitol, Don Snyder never thought he
would be in politics, least of all as a state
representative. Yet, he feels that other
young people should get involved in
their government. "It's our future," he
And, to Don Snyder, it's a future
worth working for.
team whose roster included a young
center named Wayne Gretzky had prob
lems attracting a crowd.
Once in Harrisburg, Al became a
pharmaceutical representative -- a drug
pusher, he says -- for an Ohio-based
company. Now, he recalls, "It figures -- I
got the job two years ago on April Fools'
Day." Anyway, with coming to Harris
burg, he also heard about the Hershey
- -
"At the first Bears' game I went to,
the crowd was so blase, I couldn't believe
it," he complains with wide eyes. "Final
ly, I got tired of sitting by old ladies in
mink coats whose excitement was clap
ping every once in a while, so I brought
in a rubber chicken. When I shook it at
the ref or an opposing player, the crowd
cheered. That night, I went home and
made five little cardboard signs that said
things like 'GO BEARS GO' and 'SUPER
SAVE.' At the next game, I held them
occasionally and the fans loved it."
103 signs later, "Big Al" has spent
countless hours and dollars on supplies,
costumes and gimmicks - some that
went over well, some that flopped. Take,
for example, the bright red fireman's hat
with a real siren a flashing light. "The
box it came in said 'For Ages Four and
Up.' I figured I was an 'up,' so I bought
it. With white tape, I spelled 'Bears -- #l'
_ on it and when I wore it at the game, the
adults laughed and the kids near me
wanted to play with it."
Then there's the Halloween mask
with green hair, a wrinkled yellowish
face and a wart on the nose. Sounding
disappointed, he says, "I was originally
gonna do this with gloves on and using
'THE HERSHEY HEX' sign. I even
practiced in front of the mirror, wiggling
my fingers, putting a spell on the
opposing goalie. It just didn't work. But
at least the crowd goes for the mask
along with the ref's jersey."
Still, one of Al's earliest gags, the
rubber chicken, is popular with fans.
Time has brought sophistication to this
Continued on page 7 . . .