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Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by EMILY THIEL Special to The Press in Focus

Spring break is over for most. College students are back in class. The spring semester is full-speed ahead for those working on their higher education degrees.

A new year and new semester often leads students to create higher expectations and goals for themselves, but student slacking is prone to happen as the semester continues.

McGraw-Hill Education has created study tips and tools for college-level students intended to improve their grades, results and learning habits.

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8 DAYS A WEEK

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by PHOTO BY KENNY EK in Focus

The world according to Mo: "Parallel Lives," written by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy, opens Allentown Public Theatre's 2013 season, 8 p.m. March 22, 23, 28 - 30, April 4 - 6 and 2 p.m. April 7, Antonio Salemme Foundation, Suite 203, 542 W. Hamilton St., Allentown. Variety has praised the two-person show as "a humorous romp with a feminist sensibility ... a smart, provocative show." Joshua Neth directs Jennifer Starr Foley, above left, and Samantha Beedle, above right, who play Mo and Kathy,...

Photos 'Peeled' at PSU LV

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by The Press in Focus

PHOTO BY JANE NOEL

A reception for "Peeled: Photographs by Jane Noel" is 5 - 7 p.m. March 28, The Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley, third floor, 2809 Saucon Valley Road, Center Valley, where the exhibit runs March 28 - April 27. The exhibit, including "Analog 3," above, and reception is free and open to the public. In her last solo exhibit at Penn State Lehigh Valley, Noel presented photographs of the green space in her suburban neighborhood. In this body of work, she has turned...

Great Backyard Bird Count

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by BUD COLE Special to The Press in Focus

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event drawing participants of all ages to count birds visiting their backyards and surrounding areas.

The GBBC gives a real-time snapshot of what bird species are found in specific areas. The results are sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, N.Y. The 16th annual count was Feb. 15 - 18.

My wife, Bev, and I have been participating and sending in our bird counts for about seven years. This is the first year that...

Root of the problem: mounds of mulch

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by The Press in Focus

Mulch is a standard form of soil and winter protection for many shallow-rooted plants. However, too much mulch can be too much of a good thing.

The availability and low cost of bark-type mulch materials has created an over-mulching disease in our landscapes. Gardeners have come to think of mulch materials as wonder products that provide endless benefit to our plants.

Misuse of mulch materials decreases a landscape's aesthetic value by changing the appearance of a plant. Misuse...

SACRED HEART

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by The Press in Focus

An "Easter Nut Roll Sale" will be held, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. March 26, March 27, main lobby, Sacred Heart Hospital, 421 Chew St., Allentown.

Large 14-inch bakery fresh Kolache rolls with nut, apricot, poppy seed, raspberry or Lekvar filling will be available.

Pre-ordering is recommended. Call Beth Fogel, 610-776-5413.

LAFAYETTE

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by The Press in Focus

The first offering of tickets to members of the campus community (students, faculty, staff, and retirees) for the Lives of Liberty Lecture for 2012 - '13 by Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 4 p.m. April 8, Lafayette College, Easton, is sold-out.

However, the college is streaming a live telecast of Blair's address in Colton Chapel. No tickets are required for the Colton Chapel venue.

CIVIC

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by The Press in Focus

Civic Theatre of Allentown holds open auditions 7 p.m. March 18 for its May 4 -10 production of "Next to Normal," the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, in the upstairs rehearsal hall, 19th Street Theatre, 527 N 19th St., Allentown.

Callbacks are March 20.

Information: CivicTheatre.com, 610-432-8943

Deadline to submit poems is March 15

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by The Press in Focus

Submissions are now being accepted for the eighth annual award-winning Student Poetry Project.

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, three poems will be selected in each of the Elementary, Middle School and High School categories and published in the April 24 and 25 Focus section in the Lehigh Valley Press newspapers.

The student whose poem is selected as the best poem in each category may have his or her photo published with the selected poem.

First-place...

THEATER REVIEW Changing the 'Born' identity in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Focus

The Crowded Kitchen Players' production of Garson Kanin's "Born Yesterday" is a fast-paced comedy directed by Ara Barlieb about greed and sex in post-World War II Washington, D. C.

The play continues weekends through March 24 at McCoole's Arts & Events Place, Quakertown.

When smarmy, hard-drinking lawyer Ed Devery, played with erudite flair by Jay Fletcher, starts handing out cash, he finds congressional hands eager to be greased.

Jerry Brucker as Senator Norval...