BTE Hosting Two Fundraising Events

The Taming of the Brew

Tickets to Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s (BTE) annual sellout fund raiser event, The Taming of the Brew, will be available for sale exclusively at the theatre’s website, www.bte.org. Tickets will go on sale at 6:00PM on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Tickets are limited to 4 (four) per customer. Customers can increase their chances of purchasing tickets by establishing an account now at www.bte.org; just click on the “create an account” link at the top of the homepage. The event date is Saturday, April 14, 2012, 7-11PM at the Caldwell Consistory, in downtown Bloomsburg. Tickets are $75.00 each (including a $5.00 service fee).

Now celebrating its 11th anniversary year, The Taming of the Brew festival is a fund raiser for the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble featuring fine microbrews, food, and entertainment as well as an educational beer- tasting talk, a silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle. Countless volunteer hours and donations from local, regional, and national vendors make this event possible. Please visit www.tamingofthebrew.org for updates.

Dance Your Heart Out for BTE

The third annual Dance Your Heart Out for BTE featuring the Gerard Mayer Band will be on February 11, 2012 at the Frosty Valley Country Club in Danville, PA. The dance will be a complete evening with a six-person band, scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, and libations. All proceeds will benefit BTE. just in time for Valentine’s Day! For couples and singles 21 and over who love to dance or just like a fun evening out. The Gerard Mayer band has a wide repertoire of music from salsa and swing, to traditional ballroom, freestyle, and line dancing. Tickets are on sale now through the BTE box office or committee members. Tickets are $50.00 per person (Credit card purchases add $5.00 per ticket). Includes hors d’oeuvres, open wine and beer bar, dessert, and a signature champagne drink (plus non-alcoholic beverages).

For questions about tickets to either event, please call the box office at (570) 784-8181.

[box type=”shadow”]Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is a non-profit, professional theater located in the heart of downtown Bloomsburg. Founded in 1978, the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 34th season of bringing quality entertainment to Northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information on BTE, please visit the website at www.bte.org or call (570) 784-5530 or the box office at (570) 784-8181.[/box]

Park Place Associates

Park Place Associates has been a part of the Bloomsburg University housing community for over 30 years. They have owned and managed properties all over town, including the original Sesame Street Apartments (by the way, they built it!) and most of the houses on Lightstreet Road, 3rd Street, and everywhere in between. They maintain a large selection of housing for both students and professionals. If you are looking for the nicest, most affordable housing in Bloomsburg, then an apartment or house managed by Park Place Associates is the answer.

From the brand new College Place Apartments, to the townhouses at Park Place we can help you find the place that will suit your needs. Owned and managed by Kay and Donald Camplese, Park Place Associates should be your first choice when it comes to your housing needs and are inspected and approved annually by the Town of Bloomsburg. Park Place Associates has maintenance staff on call waiting to help you with any of your issues.

[box type=”shadow”]Visit Park Place Associates on the web at http://parkplaceassociates.com/, via phone at 570-784-8031 or
570-956-7870, or by email at thecamplese@gmail.com.[/box]

The View from Here: Arcus Brothers

The passing of Michael Arcus prompted me to reflect a bit on what they and the store means to us.

Growing up at 245 East Street in Bloomsburg in the 70’s and 80’s was a really amazing time. It was a world that seemed to bridge the gap between the scenes you see in movies from the 50s and 60s and the ultra protected world we have today. I was permitted to roam a gradually expanding area that started small, but grew into a freedom that let me go from Nelson Field House to BHS to the Fairgrounds on my bike. In the earliest days, I was restricted to an area that went only from College Hill to Third Street and capped off by the ally behind my house.

I attended Saint Columba School directly down the street from my house. What that meant was that by around second grade I was allowed to walk to school alone. Each morning my Mom would walk me across East Street and I would walk past Arcus Brothers. Keep in mind this is well before the building was adorned with the spray painted signs it is famous for today. Back then they had a much more subtle set of signage, urging customers to come in for “Going out for business” sales and other classics.

As I got older, I was allowed to cross East Street by myself and spent quite a bit of time hanging out with both Steve and Mike Arcus at the store. They let me play video games and would teach me about various electronics if I helped out by running the vacuum cleaner or going to get Steve a Vanilla Coke. They drove me crazy when I’d ask how much a particular Atari game was by asking me, “how much do you think it is worth?” But at the end of the day, both Steve and Mike always treated me great.

So when I heard that Mike had passed away it made me reflective on what the Arcus Brothers have meant to Bloomsburg. You can read his entire obituary online at The Daily Item. Here is a short excerpt:

Born in Danville on Sunday, Dec. 24, 1950, Michael was a son of the late Max and Vivian Simon Arcus. He attended the Bloomsburg area schools. Michael was a self-employed businessman in the Bloomsburg community for his entire working career. On May 6, 1971, with his brother, he established Arcus Brothers, Inc., which he was vice president.

In honor of Mike and the store that has dominated the imagination of so many locals and visitors, I decided it would be a nice tribute to share some recent photos of Arcus Brothers. If you feel like sharing your own memories, good or bad, of the Arcus Brothers please do so in the comments.

Taking a Poverty Resolution

Matthew Jones didn’t consider himself to be a typical MBA student when he applied for admission to the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Rather than setting his sights on becoming a wealthy executive, he decided to devote his business and financial research interests to issues of poverty in developing countries. Jones, now a graduate of the Penn State Smeal MBA Program, continues his mission to serve others through a nonprofit he co-founded with his brother, Andrew, a current MBA student at Smeal.

Their organization, Poverty Resolutions, grew to fruition following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. Jones, a seasoned traveler, decided that instead of pursuing a traditional internship through the MBA program, he would spend his time off that summer learning about the needs that existed in Haiti and what part he could have in developing long-term solutions to serve those needs.

This spring, Poverty Resolutions plans to engage American elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in the need that exists in Haiti and what they can do to help. The organization has developed a variety of educational presentations and programs, based upon age level, that are intended to illustrate the harsh realities of global poverty. Additionally, the organization has released the documentary footage showcasing their immersion in Haiti. It is their goal that the film will not only offer a glimpse of the desperation present in Haiti, but also the hope that continues to exist. Click here to view the documentary trailer.

“For me, Haiti seemed to be so close to the U.S.,” Jones recalled. “With the disaster being so literally close to home, I decided to take advantage of the time I had off to help.”

According to the organization’s research, Haiti was the poorest country in the Americas prior to the earthquake, with more than half of its citizens living on less than one U.S. dollar per day. The earthquake exacerbated this desperate situation. Thousands were driven from their homes and forced to live in tents located in fields and on sidewalks. Even now, many of these families continue to live without clean water, proper sanitation or nutritious food.

With this knowledge, Jones, his brother, and 12 other individuals teamed up to carry out an immersion in Haiti and document their experience along the way. The group felt that, in order to truly help the people in Haiti, they had to get to know them. Four of the team members, including the Jones brothers, chose to make a 28-day commitment, in which they would pledge to live on $1 a day and document their experiences living alongside Haitians in a tent city. They developed their plan based on the premise that nearly one-sixth of the world’s population lives on less than $1 a day. In addition to this standard, the team set guidelines to mirror the experience of the Haitian people as accurately as possible. The team agreed to the following rules:

  • Spend only $1 per day on food, supplies, and drinking water.
  • Live and sleep in Haiti with one blanket or sheets.
  • No toiletries: no toothpaste, no deodorant, no soap.
  • Refrain from accepting food from Haitians.
  • If caught or scavenged, food can be eaten without penalty.
  • Two sets of clothes per person.
  • No laundry facilities.

In addition to providing support to the four living in the tent cities, the other team members recorded the experience for Americans back home. As the four were filmed and photographed, the team members searched for opportunities to develop partnerships with Haitians. In addition to establishing strong relationships with the Haitians, the group also networked with fellow humanitarians to learn about what they were doing to help and how they could combine forces. Over the course of the four weeks spent in Haiti, powerful lessons were learned and connections were made with local individuals and organizations that would form the framework for Poverty Resolutions.

The main concern among Haitians with whom they interacted was a lack of jobs. They desperately wanted to improve their situation, but had no means of making money to do so. Using their own education and experience, the group began to think logically about how to spur small business development and job creation in such an impoverished area.

As with many developing countries, education typically takes a back seat to the more immediate issues surrounding food and shelter. However, it became obvious to the group that if they were going to create and sustain a solution to joblessness in Haiti, they needed to start with education.

Statistics show that only half of Haitian children attend primary school, which has led to a literacy rate of only 53 percent among the adult population. In fact, only one in five young adults attends secondary school. While Haitian children must pass a standardized test to reach this level of schooling, the group found cost to be the greatest roadblock to their education, which in turn leads to unemployment later in life.
By utilizing the network established with fellow humanitarians already focused on improving the educational system in Haiti, Jones and his cohorts set their sights on raising funds to help reduce the financial burden that prevents capable Haitian children from attending school. Poverty Resolutions currently works with an expanding network of nearly 10 Haitian schools, helping to raise funds toward educational scholarships, effective training programs for teachers, and school supply purchases.

In addition to providing educational support, Poverty Resolutions also offers programs geared toward funding small business through microfinance, which provides small financial loans to low-income clients who aspire to start or grow their own business. Farmers, artisans, and entrepreneurs who would otherwise lack access to traditional lending services may be recipients of microfinance loans, which are repaid and then reinvested into the program.

“Through donations, we aim to provide loans to support Haitian farmers so they can feed their animals, to artisans so they can purchase supplies to create their products, and to countless other individuals aspiring to build and sustain their own small businesses,” said Jones.

In order to contribute to the larger fight against poverty and the overall progress made by organizations worldwide, Poverty Resolutions has focused much of its efforts on educating and inspiring not only Haitians, but also a second generation of American students who would also be committed to the cause.

“Although younger Americans at the elementary, high school, and even college levels aren’t established financially, we believe they are important to target because of their willingness to be inspired,” Jones said. “The willingness to help is there, but most American students aren’t fully educated on the poverty crisis to know what they can do to make a difference. We aim to help them take that next step in becoming involved.”

To learn more about Poverty Resolutions or to get involved in development efforts, visit www.povertyresolutions.org.

[box type=”shadow”]This story originally appeared in Penn State Live. Contact, Lori Wilson at 814-863-9855. Photo via Flickr.[/box]

Help BTE Meet Fundraising Goals

BTE FundraisingThe Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) recently had their National Endowment for the Arts funding cut leaving the Bloomsburg gem in dire financial shape. For the past twenty years, Theatre in the Classroom (TIC) has been supported by the NEA. On November 3rd, they informed BTE that they would not be receiving the $44,000 we had requested for 2012. Each year, with this money, BTE creates a new show to send into the schools of NE Pennsylvania. BTE had already started booking TIC 2012 “Penn’s Pals – Stories of life in the Colonie of Pennsylvania” into schools.

Since that time BTE has launched a campaign to replace the missing NEA funding. We are pleased to share that BTE has raised $17,430 as of Monday December 19th, 2011. While this signals that our community cares for BTE and the health of the programming they are still in need. Please consider helping BTE reach their goal by December 31, 2011. BTE accepts donations online via credit card, so please do not delay!

The View from Here: Lee Homecoming

Last week we shared a story of homecoming for our lifelong friend, Shelly Lee’s Mother. Shelly’s Mother, Janet Lee, tried to get as much of her belongings up and out of the way of the approaching waters from Tropical Storm Lee in September. She moved as much of her things she could up a few feet off the floor not expecting anything like what actually happened. Shelly Lee shared this as an addition to The Bloomsburg Daily Flood Map project:

The house was purchased by my parents, Sheldon and Janet Lee in July 2006 after the previous flood. However, they desperately needed to get out of their large home in the historical district and into a home on one floor due to my Dad’s failing health. My mom not only wanted one floor, but newer construction and it had to be in town. She got it all. Plus, to be right by the school for her grandsons was an added bonus. My Dad did love it there for almost two years. Glad he wasn’t alive to witness this, absolutely devastating. We will assess the situation and hope to re-build and move on since you know, ‘once a townie, always a townie’

Unfortunately the early forecasts didn’t predict the historic nature of the flooding. Mrs. Lee’s home (which is all on one level) was inundated with four and a half feet of water destroying nearly everything in its path. The house was gutted to the studs and for months the clean-up and rebuilding ensued. After sharing her story of coming home with us last week, she invited The Bloomsburg Daily to be part of an open house dinner that saw over 40 people come and enjoy her freshly renovated house. The Bloomsburg Daily would like to welcome Janet Lee home and thank her for sharing her story with us!

[box type=”shadow”]Photos and details for this story come The Bloomsburg Daily’s own, William Todd Heiss.[/box]

Remember When: School Lunches

On Thursday I was in New Orleans. I had a meeting to attend in the morning and at lunch, I was whisked away to base camp, which is what we in “the business” call the place where everyone and all the equipment is hanging out between locations. Base camp yesterday was at the Lion’s club in Algiers – a neighborhood on the west bank (also referred to as “The Best Bank” or “The Wank” depending on which side of the river you’re from) of the Mississippi. I don’t usually go to set. In my capacity as the supervising sound editor of the show, my work happens after the scenes are shot – weeks or months after in some cases. But Thursday was special: it was our crew’s holiday lunch.

As nice as the grilled ahi tuna, short ribs, salad bar, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and Chinese fried rice were that day, the fact remains that it was served from steamer trays and we stood in lines with those brown trays, collecting our food. There aren’t too many things that can bring you back to your childhood as quickly as a cafeteria. Here’s what I remember about school lunches:

When I was a kid, we didn’t have soda machines in the cafeteria. It was milk or chocolate milk. And water came from the water fountain, not in bottles.

I always looked forward to pizza days and to this day still, if the pizza I am eating is cut into squares, I want to eat potato chips with it.

Or what about tuna surprise rolls? Who would have thought that a hot dog bun filled with tuna salad and cheese, toasted, could be good? Or was that just me? Did anyone else like tuna surprise? And was tuna surprise one of the Friday lunch options? I remember we always had fish on Fridays (for the Catholics…does that still happen?) and most of the time that meant macaroni and cheese (which was very white and mushy) and breaded fish sticks.

Cole Camplese told me his favorite lunch at BHS was a new offering that appeared on the menu with great anticipation:

“I think my sophomore year they added Chicken Nuggets and it instantly became my favorite item. Mike Fritz and I talked them into selling us a la carte extras so we would end up with something like twenty or so nuggets each.

“We did have a couple of vending machines and one in particular served as Kevin Primerano’s go to lunch option: ‘Scooter Crunch Lunch.’ His famous lunch consisted of nothing more than a couple chocolate Scooter Crunch ice cream bars. He ate them so often, who wouldn’t have loved to have been the one collecting the quarters from that machine?”

What about you? What are your school lunch memories? Were you one of the lucky ones that got to leave campus to eat? What were your favorite school day lunches?

[box type=”shadow”]Photo via flickr.[/box]

Holiday Concerts at Bloomsburg’s Memorial Elementary School

The curtain opens and eyes search for family faces.

The curtain opens and eyes search for family faces. Hands wave and faces smile. Moms and dads stand and wave and cameras flash.  Many of us remember these memories as both children and parents — and all of this happened Thursday night at the holiday concerts at Bloomsburg’s Memorial Elementary School.

This year the school held three concerts so everyone in attendance could have a seat. Kindergarten and 1st grade started the night and filled the room. The second concert was 2nd and 3rd grade. Both of these shows were conducted by Mrs. Andrea Welch.

The third concert was 4th and 5th grade and started out with songs by the 5th grade band conducted by teacher Keith Kostiuk and ended with the singing voices of the students.

One thing the audience does not see are the proud and smiling faces of the teachers standing just off stage. It was a great time for everyone. The Bloomsburg Daily photographer, Bob Rush, was on hand to capture the excitement and joy during this annual event.

Pine Barn Inn Hosts Holiday Charity Buffet

The Pine Barn Inn has always been known in our area for its rustic feel, delicious food, and excellent service. This holiday season the Inn and its staff will also be known for something more: generosity, kindness, and concern.

On Saturday 24 December, from 11 AM to 3 PM the Pine Barn Inn will host a free buffet for not only victims of the September flooding, but for all people in the local community who may find themselves in need. Reservations are highly recommended due to limited seating.

Pine Barn Inn General Manager Norman Mael explained that he took inspiration for this event from a similar experience when he worked at the Hotel Magee in Bloomsburg. “I believe this is the first event of this kind, but when I was working at the Hotel Magee we had a Bartenders’ Night Out for charity. I got the idea from that.”

Mr. Mael emphasized that this Christmas Eve Day lunch buffet is a charity event sponsored by the entire staff of the Pine Barn. “Everybody is donating their own time, contributing to help prepare and serve.”

“The employees, everybody thinks this is an excellent idea,” said Mr. Mael. “It really hits home for them to help out. One of our servers just returned to his home [a victim of the recent flooding]. They’re behind this.”

Mr. Mael also noted that this Charity Buffet is not only for flood victims, however, but for anyone or any family that may find themselves in need this time of year. “Someone who lost his job, has an uncertain future,” said Mr. Mael, “it’s not for me to determine who should be helped.”

At present The Pine Barn Inn has taken over 200 reservations for the event and still has room for about 150 more.

This Holiday Buffet is offered at no charge and will be held on 24 December from 11 AM to 3PM. Reservations are Highly Recommended because seating is limited.

If you wish to make reservations, please contact the Pine Barn Inn in Danville at 570-275-2071.

Details and a Full Menu of the buffet can be found on The Bloomsburg Daily’s Event Calendar or at the Pine Barn Inn website.

A Holiday Homecoming

When Janet Lee left her 11th Street home after hearing forecasts of potential flooding related to Tropical Storm Lee in September, she took all of her important papers in her firebox along with an overnight bag. This didn’t seem like a bad choice at the time, as reports were saying the flooding would be similar to 2006, which only caused some water to collect in the crawl space of the home. Janet regrets that decision now, “Hindsight is always 20/20.”

Janet’s daughter, Shelly, has been on the front lines with her mother dealing with both the flooding, the clean-up, and the rebuilding. “Honestly, we really didn’t think the flood was going to be as bad as it was … With not knowing really what to think and after some resistance, my mom did evacuate on Wednesday night as we asked her to do.”

Unfortunately the early forecasts didn’t predict the historic nature of the flooding. Mrs. Lee’s home (which is all on one level) was inundated with four and a half feet of water destroying nearly everything in its path.

The family was devastated by the damage. Shelly said, “The home had to be completely gutted down to the studs and sub-floor. With having a ranch style home that meant every room was affected. After the demolition, it required extensive scrubbing, cleaning and disinfecting. I feel that since we removed the walls, insulation, and flooring on day 1 of clean up, we saved ourselves from dealing with mold. We had none in the home.”

But that type of clean up takes time. “[My mom] came and stayed with me for the first two weeks at my home on Fair St. in Bloomsburg. She continued to live with me and/or my brother Frank while displaced. Thankfully, housing was never an issue for her.”

The Lee family was overwhelmed by both the damage and the efforts of the community to help rebuild. “Having never been through a flood and not knowing what to expect, it was extremely overwhelming emotionally, physically, financially, and mentally. Thankfully we had help from family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, church members, neighbors, classmates, AGAPE, and the BU Football and Wrestling teams. Everyone was amazing! I was grateful for Facebook, which allowed me to post when we needed help, and also to find out what was going on in town or with AGAPE.”

This help allowed the family to begin to think about rebuilding. “Our builder, John McCarrie was from Hazleton as were several of our sub-contractors. They were truly a blessing from above. As soon as we were cleaned up and ready, they were on the scene ready to go. He made the process very easy for my entire family. After meeting with our builder at the beginning of October, he assured us that she would be back in her home by Thanksgiving. He kept his word.”

And while Janet didn’t host the Thanksgiving meal, she is thrilled to be ready to host her family for Christmas, as the home has been completely rebuilt and remodeled (with a new kitchen designed by Shelly). Despite the loss of many family memories and material possessions, the family will be able to come together and celebrate, which according to Janet and Shelly, is obviously the most important thing.

In addition to their Christmas celebration with family, the Lee family is planning an open house this Saturday to thank everyone who helped them along the way. (The Bloomsburg Daily is going to be there to take photos of the unveiling celebration.) Shelly feels that it’s the least they can do. “We wanted to thank everyone. People are curious to see what the home now looks like after seeing it gutted. We had so much help in so many ways…. Just unbelievable! We know we are fortunate and very blessed. We plan to pay it forward and help some others who are still struggling with re-building.”