Thumbs up: York County high school students are getting the message about the importance of seat belt use.

Fourteen of the 16 high schools that participated in the second annual York/Adams High School Seat Belt Challenge saw seat belt usage increase during the months-long challenge, with overall usage at about 80 percent.

South Western and Spring Grove high schools achieved the highest overall usage with 96 percent, while the most improved school, West York High, saw usage jump from 48 percent to 86 percent.

"You have something you can really brag about," York County Coroner Barry Bloss told students during the recent awards ceremony. "Good work for all of you."

Sponsored by State Farm Insurance in conjunction with the York Area Highway Safety Council, the challenge featured unannounced observations of use among teen drivers in February and April.

The top schools each earned $500 mini-grants from State Farm Insurance, and they will have free photo booths at their proms as part of the prize. The grants will be used to promote traffic safety in the schools.

The 16 high schools that participated were Bermudian Springs, Central York, Dallastown, Dover, Eastern, Fairfield, Gettysburg, Littlestown, New Oxford, Northeastern, South Western, Spring Grove, Susquehannock, West York, York County School of Technology and York Suburban.


Thumbs up: It probably seemed like more than a mile for the men who took a stroll Friday to raise funds and stand against violence directed at women.

Hundreds of men in high-heeled shoes strutted through downtown York Friday afternoon during the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The popular event benefits two YWCA programs -- the Victim Assistance Center, which serves York County residents who are victims of sexual violence or other violent crimes, and Access-York, which serves domestic violence survivors and their families.

"During the event they're having fun," said Cathy Haynes, YWCA's fund development associate. "But afterwards, the message of the walk tends to sink home in terms of how much money they raised and how much they've helped someone else."

This year's event raised $36,000, compared to the $23,000 raised last year, she said.

Besides raising money, the participants tend to walk away with new respect for women, according to Haynes.

"When they're sore from walking in heels," she said, "they will also think about women that are in pain because of being abused."