BHS Craft Fair

CraftsEarlier this fall, Gina Piccini, Spanish Teacher and Sophomore Class Advisor at Bloomsburg Area High School contacted The Bloomsburg Daily to let us know that she and her students were planning a new fundraiser. When she told us it was going to be the first week of December we felt like it was so far away. The Holidays this year are taking on new and special meanings as we all are working to take rebuild so much. Now that we are through Thanksgiving and heading into December we wanted to help get the word out for this new event. Let your friends and family know about the event and we hope to see you there!

So please join us for the Bloomsburg High School’s First Annual Craft Fair to be held on Saturday, December 3 from 10 am – 4 pm. This event is being sponsored by the Sophomore Class of 2014 and there will be fun for all! The freshman class will be hosting a coffee station, the junior class will sponsor a basket raffle and our seniors will have a bake sale. Food and refreshments will be provided by the band boosters and other school organizations will have tables set up for fundraising. There will also be door prizes, face painting and over 50 unique vendors! Come get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support our High School students in this great event!

Q&A with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

We recently had a chance to talk with Judy Yupcavage, the Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. We talked about the challenges involved in getting support and resources to domestic violence victims, as well as national headlines and the impact of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on housing for victims. We also identified resources available to victims in Columbia and Montour counties. If you or someone you love are affected by domestic violence, please take advantage of the resources readily available and the many people who want to help.

1. Can you tell us a little about your organization?

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) – the nation’s first state domestic violence coalition – is a private, nonprofit organization with a statewide office in Harrisburg and a network of 60 community-based domestic violence programs across the commonwealth. We work collectively to build stronger, safer communities . We do this through prevention, intervention and social change strategies designed to shift public attitudes and break the generational cycle of violence; ensure free and confidential services to victims and their children in need; and secure sweeping laws and public policies that protect victims and hold batterers accountable.

2. There have been some startling developments in domestic violence policy recently, including Topeka, Kansas’ decision to decriminalize domestic violence. Can you talk about some of these decisions and how it impacts your job?

One of the primary reasons individuals batter is because they can. When there are no consequences, violence flourishes. All of the social and criminal justice systems are over-burdened and working with larger caseloads and fewer resources; however, the answer isn’t to ignore the risks that violent offenders pose to individuals and the community at large.

3. We recently heard that you are having difficulty finding housing for victims because of Marcellus Shale drilling employees taking up the available surplus. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

We’re hearing from domestic violence programs in gas drilling regions that safe and affordable housing (to rent and to buy) is becoming scarce with the influx of industry workers. Moreover, many of the programs’ clients report that their landlords are raising rents, sometimes so high that they are forced to relocate. Additionally, hotel and motel rooms are in short supply. As gas drilling expands, many fear the shortage of housing will be even more of problem for battered victims attempting to escape violent relationships.

4. What are the biggest challenges you face?

One of greatest challenges is stabilizing long-term funding for core services, such as hotlines, shelter and counseling, and for public education and prevention initiatives. The impact of a troubled economy has hit our programs hard. Their resources continue to diminish while operating costs continue to rise, along with requests for help from victims, many who are forced to remain in shelter longer because they have fewer housing and job options available to them.

Another major challenge is changing public perceptions that domestic violence is something less than a crime, nothing more than a private matter between sparring couples. Getting people to recognize that domestic violence is deadly and preventable is an on-going effort, as is getting people to step up and speak up if they see or hear domestic violence. We say, “there is always something you can do to help.”

Victim-blaming is a huge problem. From the outside looking in, people really don’t get a clear picture of what goes on inside homes where domestic violence is a way of life. They don’t see the fear that punctuates a family’s actions/interactions or the imposed isolation that limits their connection to the outside world. They also don’t see the lengths family members go to avoid further abuse, the many attempts they’ve made to be safe, or the hidden barriers that limit their ability to break free of the violence.

Responding to the alarming rate of domestic violence-related fatlities in PA also poses tremendous challenges. Domestic violence can be, and often is, as brutal and deadly as any stranger-on-stranger crime. Yet many people, including victims themselves, often underestimate its potential for lethality. PCADV is initiating training – beginning with domestic violence program advocates, law enforcement and health care providers – on the use of danger assessment screening tools that have the potential to enhance the safety of victims, law enforcement and the community at large, and prevent future homicides.

5. What are the warning signs that friends and families can look out for?

Certainly the physical results of battering – unexplained or suspicious bruises, broken bones. Other signs: Does person have repeated injuries and bruises that do not seem accidental? Does person fear partner’s temper or jealousy? Is person isolated from friends and family? Does person have repeated mental health and stress issues such as depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse, headaches and ulcers? Does partner exert an unusual amount of control over the person? Does person appear exhausted, frightened, or on edge? Have you noticed a change in behavior of person’s children? Do they seem easily upset or are they experiencing problems in school or with other activities?  At the end of this article, we will attach a list of things you can do to help domestic violence victims.

6. Can you talk about the victims a bit? We realize there is no “typical” victim, but we want to put a human face on victims. Can you tell us what their overwhelming emotions are?

Domestic violence victims come from all walks of life, all professions, income and education levels. They are teenagers and senior citizens. The one emotion many share in common is fear – fear for their safety and that of their children. Fear of retaliation if they leave; fear of losing custody of their children; and fear of living in povery or being homeless. They also feel pressure – pressure from the abuser, children, family, faith leaders and others to stay in the relationship. They often feel hopeless, isolated and judged.

7. Is there anything else that you would like to share? How can we help spread your message?

Anytime you report on domestic violence, please include information that free and confidential help – right in your own community – is just a phone call away, and publish the local domestic violence hotline and the national domestic violence hotline (800-799-7233).

If you or someone you care about might be impacted by domestic violence, in Columbia and Montour counties you can contact the Women’s Center.  Their phone number is 570-784-6631 and their hotline number is 1-800-544-8293. Click here to find resources in other areas.

How You Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Friends or family members who are being abused:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Ask if they’re safe or need someone to talk to
  • Explain that FREE and CONFIDENTIAL help is available help for victims and their children at local domestic violence programs
  • Offer a ride to a local shelter, a place to make a phone call or to baby-sit while they attend appointments

Friends or family members who are abusers:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Tell them there are no excuses for abuse and they may lose their families, friends, homes and jobs if it doesn’t stop
  • Hold them accountable for their behavior
  • Support their efforts to locate and obtain appropriate batterer intervention treatment

Your local domestic violence program:

  • Volunteer your time
  • Make monetary donations or donate phone cards, gift certificates, bus tickets, etc.
  • Offer to board pets or livestock while victims are in shelter
  • Sponsor a family for a holiday meal, holiday gifts, etc.
Photo by ghetto_guera29

Holiday Memories Opens at BTE

BTE opened its Holiday season with the production of Holiday Memories on Friday with their Annual Food Preview. Each year, BTE kicks off the season by offering free admission to a performance for a single non-perishable food item. Not to worry, if you missed the kickoff on Friday, Holiday Memories by Truman Capote runs from November 25, 2011 until December 30, 2011. This wonderful series of stories has been adapted by Russell Vandenbroucke and is directed by Gerard Stropnicky. Try and make time for a performance this Holiday season!

“Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!” Miss Sook, Truman’s older eccentric maiden aunt looks out her window to greet each holiday season. Her home-made fruitcakes will go to family and friends, and many to people she met just once, or perhaps not at all. Like President Roosevelt. Truman Capote’s stories of his childhood holidays in the Depression Deep South are filled with joy, love, family, poignancy, music, vivid characters, and entirely American grace in this funny, beautiful, and fast-moving stage adaptation.

Ensemble Member Daniel Roth as Truman, Ensemble Member Laurie McCants as Miss Sook, and R Tanner Lenhart as Buddy
Ensemble Member Laurie McCants as Miss Sook and R Tanner Lenhart as Buddy
Ensemble Member Laurie McCants as Miss Sook, R Tanner Lenhart as Buddy, and Ensemble Daniel Roth as Truman
Ensemble Member Daniel Roth as Truman

The View from Here: North Pole Express

North Pole Express“I see it!”, “Look Mom, there’s the train!” Everywhere there are small voices echoing with excitement and wonder. A reminder that even in the most challenging times, magic is still here if you take the time to see it. The North Pole Express train ride offered just that opportunity for yound and old. A time to forget about the stress of every day and of the difficult task of rebuilding lives for those who lost so much in this year’s flood.

“All aboard!” The conductor announced and it was time to sit back and enjoy the trip down the rails. As the train traveled towards Catawissa, a sad reminder of the devastation this area experienced a few months ago was visable. Ponding water, debris in the trees, and more all still there. So much left to do, but for this hour it was a time to feel the magic of the season and watch the faces of wonder on all the assembled children when the “Big Guy” himself arrived.

The North Pole Express is truly a wonderful ride, a wonderful collection of people, and a time to enjoy family and new friends. Most importantly however, a time to remember to hear those bells ring. From all of us at The Bloomsburg Daily, we hope you always hear the silver bell ring.

A special thanks to Bob Rush for not only enjoying the ride, but for taking the pictures and writing the story.

The View from Here: The Bars of Bloomsburg

When I was in college I would come home for the Thanksgiving break and get to see all my high school friends. Most of them had gone off the school, but the Thanksgiving weekend was a chance to come home, spend time with family, and get together with the friends that matter the most. Typically I’d get in on Thursday morning and spend the whole day with my parents and sister as the house filled with the smell of Thanksgiving dinner. I think you know the drill all to well — eat until you can barely move and then fall asleep.

Friday was always a day filled with friends. We’d typically get up and try to find a gym to play some basketball in and then grab some lunch. When we all turned 21 the ritual changed and we would eat lunch and have a beer. Typically that place was the Paddock. Nothing quite like Paddock pizza and few pitchers to round out the Holiday. With that in mind, we though it would be fun to ask The Bloomsburg Daily’s photographer, Bob Rush, to see if he could capture some images of a few of our favorite watering holes. Who know, it might inspire you to call up some old friends and find a place to sit down and share a pitcher and old stories!

Happy Thanksgiving from The Bloomsburg Daily

When we started The Bloomsburg Daily we were all hurting from the flood caused by Tropical Storm Lee. While many of us are still working to put our lives back together, the feelings of friendship and community have become overwhelming evident in our community. In the two months since the flood, we have seen stories of tragedy, rebuilding, and hope remind us just how important it is to take stock in the most important things in life. This year I know I am feeling especially thankful for the friends and family that I have around to support me, pick me up, and help me keep moving. Try to take a few extra minutes today to say thank you to those around you and remember the ones who can’t be.

From all of us here at The Bloomsburg Daily, we’d like to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Cuizoo’s Famous Balsamic Vinaigrette

SaladNo one really wants to think about a green vegetable on their Thanksgiving table — unless it is green beans smothered in cream of mushroom soup with fried onions on top. But, come on, that doesn’t qualify as a vegetable.  You know I’m right on that.

The green vegetable is simply cast aside because the other food on the table is so compelling.  And my feeling is that I can have a vegetable any other day of the year.  But my husband doesn’t agree with that idea — he thinks that a table filled with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, bread, and gravy could use a little salad. And he is probably right.  Adding a nice big salad to the mix is a welcome addition, especially when the dressing is light and cuts through the richness of the rest of the table.

This is one of my most requested recipes — which always strikes me as very odd because it is the most simple vinaigrette you can make. And whenever I try to give someone the recipe, I never have any idea about amounts because I always mix it in the same bowl and add the ingredients until “they look right.”   This is the dressing that made my friend Kevin actually like salad after a lifetime of salad hating.

There are two keys to making it right… good quality olive oil and good quality balsamic vinegar.  And if you have to choose one, pick a decent olive oil and spend a little extra on the vinegar because a bad balsamic vinegar makes a bad vinaigrette.  And when you consider that you only use about an ounce for an entire salad, a large bottle lasts for quite some time and is much more cost effective than buying most bottled salad dressing.  It’s yet another win-win-win … more reasonable, tastes better, and better for you because you control the ingredients (As you will notice, I don’t add any Potassium Sorbate or Sulfiting Agents to mine…).

And it takes all of one minute to make.

Cuizoo’s “Famous” Balsamic Vinaigrette (enough for one large salad)

3/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Chop garlic clove finely and place in small bowl.  Add oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk well with a fork or wire whisk — until it is emulsified.  If not using dressing immediately, re-whisk before pouring over greens.

As a Thanksgiving treat, we’ve established a partnership with, Cuizoo. Cuizoo is a local food and photography blog by Kristin Camplese. For the rest of the week (and maybe in the future) The Bloomsburg Daily will be featuring recipes to help round out your table. The goal of Cuizoo is to get parents back in the kitchen and to do so in a way that makes families develop an appreciation for real food. Creative marketing has led us to believe that families don’t have time to cook, that we need processed food to provide short cuts, that cooking from scratch is hard, and that kids don’t eat vegetables. They tell us we are so busy that we don’t even have time to squeeze a lemon (so wouldn’t you rather buy some Real Lemon lemon juice-esque product?) and we are so incapable in the kitchen that we cannot make a ham sandwich for our child’s lunch (so wouldn’t you rather buy a Lunchable?). Each recipe we feature here has been carefully selected to help make your Thanksgiving even more delicious than it usually is.

Photo credit, Chris Dlugosz.

Sexual Abuse Q&A with Bloomsburg University

Dr. David SoltzGiven recent events at Penn State, we felt it might be helpful to talk with Bloomsburg University officials to discuss the policies and procedures related to sexual abuse on campus.  President Soltz issued a statement several days after the events at Penn State transpired which encouraged those in the university community to alert authorities about potential sexual abuse that may be occurring on campus.  However, we wanted to dig a little deeper in order to discuss what training and procedures are in place behind the scenes and what the requirements for reporting are for university police.  In addition, given that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexual abuse victims, we wanted to find out what types of resources Bloomsburg University provides for those impacted by sexual abuse.

We read your statement about defining the process for reporting potential sexual abuse cases, with people encouraged to go directly to university police.  What compelled you to make the statement?

With the recent headlines, this was a good time to review BU’s current policy as well as remind the campus community of the proper protocol.

You encourage anyone in the university to notify campus police if they have reason to believe there is abuse going on.  That is fantastic, but on the other side, what are you telling campus police? Are there training or sensitivity programs going on there to help them deal with any potential cases?  Are they equipped to respond?

BU takes a team approach in addressing cases of sexual abuse / sexual harassment. Our campus police are part of that team. Within the last three weeks, the team attended a training session on this topic. Additionally, BU hosted a two-day workshop on how to conduct investigations involving sexual assault/sexual harassment cases. The university also consults with PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) legal counsel on a regular basis to ensure we are handling cases of this nature in an appropriate manner.

With regard to campus police, what is their reporting role/process to town or state police?  If a case of abuse is brought forward, are they legally obligated to share that information?

If a crime is reported on campus, it is in the jurisdiction of Bloomsburg University Safety and Police Department. BU Police will investigate, consult with the DA and file charges. Like our counterparts, Bloomsburg Town Police, we submit a unified crime report monthly to the State Police.

Clearly in the case of Jerry Sandusky, people were potentially incredulous — when faced with rumors and potential incidents –because he was thought to be such a good, upstanding person who had such high standing. And with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men sexually abused at some point in their life, this is probably going on in every town and on every campus across the country.  How do we convey to the university community that anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a perpetrator?

There’s information on the University Web site regarding sexual assault/sexual harassment. (http://www.bloomu.edu/Title_IX) Educational information is emailed and posted around campus detailing how to report allegations of sexual assault / sexual abuse. (http://www.bloomu.edu/wrc)

What resources do you have on campus for sexual abuse victims?

In addition to the BU Police, the team includes representatives from the Office of Social Equity, Women’s Resource Center, University Counseling Services, Residence Life and the Office of Student Standards. When an incident is reported, the Title IX coordinator is obligated to coordinate services with all of the offices involved. This ensures our police are notified and involved immediately. Additionally, if a student is harmed, residence life and the counseling services are on hand to provide support and resources. It’s important to note the Women’s Resource Center is readily available to assist any individual who has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational programs which receive federal financial assistance. Programs and activities which may be included are: academic programs, admissions, athletics, employment and recruitment, financial aid and university housing.

Title IX clearly prohibits sexual harassment which includes sexual assault and violence.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage

I’m thinking there is a guide to parenthood somewhere that I forgot to read.  Before I had kids, I imagined parenting to be similar to, um, living — except with children.  And I know that sounds simplistic and parenting is much harder than just living, but I guess I imagined that I would continue to do things that I enjoy, rather than things that I do not.  This isn’t making much sense, is it?

You see, there is an entire underbelly to our culture that I truthfully had no idea existed until I had children.  Festivals.  Apparently, once you have children, there is an unwritten rule that you must both enjoy and faithfully attend all festivals occurring within a 50 mile radius of your home.  These can include, but are not limited to, Fun Fests, Fall Fests, Arts Fests, Music Fests, Octoberfests (those I enjoy more), Jazz Fests, Spring Fests, Renaissance Fests (sometimes called Fairs), Apple Fests, Maple Syrup Fests, Strawberry Fests, Ice Cream Fests, Chili Fests, Winter Fests, First Night Fests, and Random Nature Event Fests.  Corollary events can include Carnivals, Public Easter Egg Hunts, Holiday Plays and Pageants, Santa Parades, and Bug Fairs.

And let me just make myself clear. I do not particularly like festivals. Maybe it’s the walking around aimlessly saying “Look kids, a donkey!”  Or maybe it’s the whiny kids who are generally just looking for the funnel cake stand. Or maybe it’s the same old Lion’s Club food truck.  Or maybe it’s for the simple reason that NONE OF THESE FESTIVALS SERVE BEER.

For example, this recipe for Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage could inspire an entire festival. There would be crafts for the kids that included painting a potato. There would be some sort of Scalloped Potato cook-off. And a potato peeling competition. That sounds fun, doesn’t it? And don’t forget about the food vendors. There will most assuredly be kettle corn, funnel cakes, and french fries. And some sort of random animal to visit — llamas, donkeys, reindeer, or horses (of course) are logical choices.  I can’t wait to spend my entire Saturday afternoon at the Scalloped Potato Festival, now that you mention it.

Actually, I made these scalloped potatoes the other afternoon when we were skipping out on some random festival.  It’s been fall (season of lots of festivals!), so I have already forgotten which one it was.  It is a wonderful, easy side to add to your Thanksgiving table with its simple but delicious flavors. The smoked sausage bastes the potatoes as they cook and you won’t believe how few ingredients you need. I questioned the idea of scalloped potatoes without cheese, but this really works. And made with 2% milk (which I did), it isn’t nearly the calorie and fat hog that some scalloped potato recipes are.

And I must mention that this is my dad’s recipe.  And I’m pretty sure he hates festivals too. That afternoon, I cooked and sipped a glass of wine while the kids played school (after helping me peel the potatoes).  We enjoyed a quiet evening at home and didn’t even miss the llamas — although I failed to tell them that they were even missing the llamas.  Evil mother.

Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage

Serves 6

6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
1 lb. smoked sausage (very important to get high quality, local smoked sausage for the best flavor)
Flour (1/2 T per layer)
Butter (about 1 T per layer)
Salt and Pepper
2 cups of 2% milk (approximately)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Slice potatoes thinly. Slice smoked sausage into thin rounds (or chunks, however you like it).

3.  Butter a 9 inch by 13 inch glass pan.

4.  In the greased pan, make one layer of potatoes.  Sprinkle 1/2 T of flour over the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper.  Break 1 T of butter into little pieces and scatter it over the potatoes.  Top potato layer with slices of smoked sausage.

5.  Repeat by layering potato slices, flour, butter, salt and pepper, and smoked sausage.  Your top layer should be potatoes.  (I made three layers of potatoes, with two layers of sausage in between).  On your final layer of potatoes, sprinkle with 1/2 T of flour, additional salt and pepper, and 1 T of butter (in small pieces).

6.  Pour milk over top the potatoes until you can start to see it come up the edge — it should be about 2 or 2 1/2 cups.  Using a metal spatula, press the potato layers down into the milk, so the milk mixes in well.

7.  Bake uncovered for about 1 hour and 30 minutes (mine took more like 1 hr. and 40 minutes).  Every 20 minutes or so, press the layers down with the back of a metal spatula again so the top layer gets saturated.  The potatoes are done when the milk is absorbed and the top is very golden brown.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. (Helpful hint:  you may want to put a baking sheet underneath your baking pan, as the milk tends to bubble and make a mess of your oven.)

As a Thanksgiving treat, we’ve established a partnership with, Cuizoo. Cuizoo is a local food and photography blog by Kristin Camplese. For the rest of the week (and maybe in the future) The Bloomsburg Daily will be featuring recipes to help round out your table. The goal of Cuizoo is to get parents back in the kitchen and to do so in a way that makes families develop an appreciation for real food. Creative marketing has led us to believe that families don’t have time to cook, that we need processed food to provide short cuts, that cooking from scratch is hard, and that kids don’t eat vegetables. They tell us we are so busy that we don’t even have time to squeeze a lemon (so wouldn’t you rather buy some Real Lemon lemon juice-esque product?) and we are so incapable in the kitchen that we cannot make a ham sandwich for our child’s lunch (so wouldn’t you rather buy a Lunchable?). Each recipe we feature here has been carefully selected to help make your Thanksgiving even more delicious than it usually is.

FEMA Trailers Arriving and Moving into Place

Stony Brook Circle has been busy getting ready for FEMA trailers to arrive. Two trailers have already been placed on empty lots between other homes on Pebble Lane and Rotary Street, four sites are ready on Finch Street, and the rest are being placed at the top of the court off of Brook Lane and Country Land.

The typical FEMA trailer consists of a master bedroom with a standard size bed, a living area with kitchen and stove, bunk beds, and a bathroom with shower. Each trailer is equipped with electricity, air conditioning, indoor heating, running cold and hot water, a propane-operated stove and oven, a small microwave oven, a large refrigerator, and a few pieces other pieces of furniture, including a mattress, a small dining table and chairs. Each trailer is elevated about two feet above the ground, on concrete supports on a prepared level site and is accessible through a wooden or aluminum stairwell or ramp.

The construction has caused a few problems including the loss of water twice due to pipes being struck and causing air to enter the system and road issues from the heavy construction traffic. FEMA trucked in water to replenish the system after it drained completely and is expected to repair any damage caused to roads and landscape.