Opinion: In Defense of Parks

I’m writing in defense of Pennsylvania’s great park system. Our numerous state and local parks are incredibly valuable to Pennsylvanians. For example, the local Bloomsburg Town Park is known for its summer concert series, picnic areas, and recreational activities.

I’m writing to voice my disappointment with efforts underway in Harrisburg, proposed by Gov. Corbett, to dissolve funding for one of Pennsylvania’s great conservation programs, the Keystone Fund. It is one of the state’s most important programs when it comes to restoring and protecting parks and other critical outdoor areas all over Pennsylvania. For example, it has allowed for a great deal of recent development in nearby Bloomsburg Park, enhancing and supporting people’s enjoyment of this lovely area.

After decades of saving the places that make Pennsylvania great, it’s time for every-day Pennsylvanians to save the Keystone Fund. I hope that people who enjoy our great outdoors will call and write to our local politicians and make sure that they will do whatever is necessary to protect the Keystone Fund, before the final budget passes.

[box type=”shadow”]Kyra Reumann-Moore is a Penn Environment Intern. Penn Environment is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization with roughly 80,000 members and activist, including many in Columbia County.[/box]

Photo via Flickr.

Bloomsburg Middle School Student Wins Writing Contest

Madeline Polhill, a seventh-grade student at Bloomsburg Middle School, won a writing contest sponsored by Scholastic Scope Magazine and had her first line selected as the first sentence for a short story.Scholastic Scope Magazine invited students to create a first line to a short story and submit it for review.

More than 5,000 entries were submitted to the contest. Madeline’s was selected by writer Roland Smith, author of more than 30 novels. He created a short story based on Madeline’s suggestion: “Peering through the window, I caught a glimpse of some piles of old Halloween costumes, three giant plastic flamingoes, and a life-sized sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Madeline was also featured as the main character in the story that is published in May 14th edition of Scholastic Scope.

[box type=”shadow”]The full story featuring Madeline can be found and read here as a PDF on the Scholastic website.[/box]

Bloomsburg Downtown Revival

Walking through downtown Bloomsburg today is a much different experience than it was four years ago in the heart of the recession when many of the glass storefront windows sat dark and dusty with “For Rent” signs taped up. Today you can walk that same route and many of those same storefronts have new life and new ownership.

Some of the new businesses that now call Bloomsburg home are Frank’s Trattoria, the Crimson Lion Hookah Bar, the Capital Bar and Grill, and many more that took advantage of the spaces while they were still available.

In an attempt to ignite interest from perspective employers and inject new economic life into the downtown area, a group of volunteer members formed Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. to work in conjunction with the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce to help with the revitalization process.

“We do our advertising mostly through our website, along with handing out literature to surrounding areas to try to bring in business,” said Tim Wagner, the Chairman of the Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. Board of Trustees. “Businesses want to locate here now. Usually when you see one move out, it doesn’t take too long for it to fill up.” Wagner is also the owner of Wagner’s Trophies downtown.

A big draw for prospective employers looking to set up shop downtown is the ten thousand students up on the hill who attend Bloomsburg University.

“Having the university here influences the downtown somewhat heavily,” said Wagner. “Many shops cater to the students; we wouldn’t have as many sub shops, bars, and pizza places otherwise. We look for a good mix though for the students and town, as well as for parents when they come to visit.”

Although the recession may have had an impact on the number of vacant storefronts downtown, findings from the 2009 Town of Bloomsburg Comprehensive plan suggests that “Competition from new growth in the surrounding townships has hurt the downtown business district. Big box retailers on Route 11 are causing a shift of consumers away from the downtown. This is a greater erosion than was caused in the late 1980’s with the development of the Columbia Mall.”

Stores like Cole’s Hardware have relocated to Route 11, while other chain stores like Starbuck’s and Quizno’s Subs disappeared within the past few years, due to falling short of their corporate quotas.
Despite the official manager position of Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. being empty, and the vote for a replacement still a few weeks away, the influx of new stores and new faces appearing on Main Street doesn’t appear to have slowed.

“The properties are worth more when they’re filled, and the gross receipt tax fees go towards helping the town,” said Wagner. “Although I can’t give any names for competitive or monetary reasons, I will say a few businesses are coming in that are looking pretty good.”

[box type=”bio”]Zack Sterkenberg is a Student in the Mass Communications program at Bloomsburg University[/box]

The Latest Buzz from BTE: In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play

At the dawn of the age of electricity, Dr. Givings performs some experimental treatments. Dr. Givings’ wife, Catherine, will soon discover the “shocking” side-effects of her husband’s revolutionary gadget.

On Thursday, 3 May, The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble premieres their latest production: In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play.

At the dawn of the age of electricity, Dr. Givings performs some experimental treatments in his home office on Victorian women suffering from hysteria. Intrigued by what’s going on in the next room, Dr. Givings’ wife, Catherine, will soon discover the “shocking” side-effects of her husband’s revolutionary gadget. In this touching, bittersweet comedy by the author of The Clean House, take a peek at what happens when hysteria becomes hysterical.

“At our current time of vast technological advancement, when women’s health and bodies are so much in the national media discussions, this play asks us to examine the electrifying power of intimacy between two people,” states Director Cassandra Pisieczko in her Directors Notes on BTE’s website. “Meditations on marriage, motherhood, and the longing for personal satisfaction reverberate throughout this piece – as well as the desire to see, and be seen, for who we are as individuals … But underneath it all is a longing to connect, to know and be known on an intimate level – a longing to be not in the next room, but rather in communion with those we love.”

Written by Sarah Ruhl, the play features Anastasia Peterson as Mrs. Givings, Aaron White as Dr. Givings, Nina Edgerton as Sabrina Daldry, and Katherine Nora LeRoy as Elizabeth.

In the Next Room, which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 2010 offers an examination of sexual topics and is recommended for mature audiences only.

For all others, The Bloomsburg Daily suggests a distraction-free evening browsing the latest Brookstone catalog.

[box type=”shadow”]You may follow other related articles on BTE’s In the Next Room Tumblr Blog.

“Pay What You Wish” Night Thursday, May 3 at 7:30PM

Friday, May 4 at 7:30PM, Reduced Price Preview, $11/General Admission

Dates & Times:

May 3 – May 20, 2012

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30PM

Sundays at 3PM

Tickest my be purchased via the following means:

Online at www.bte.org

In Person at 226 Center Street, Downtown Bloomsburg

Over the phone: (570) 784-8181 or (800) 282-0283

Ticket Prices:

$11 Preview

$25 Adult

$20 Senior/Young Adult

$11 Student

$5 BU Student (with ID)[/box]

Photographs by TBD’s Bob Rush:

GC Hartman Students Raise Money for School

G. C. Hartman Elementary School, a part of the Southern Columbia School District, held its first Hartman Hustle today. Students from kindergarten through fourth grade went out and solicited donations in support of their school and then each grade had 15 mins on the High School track to run a far as they could.

The event raised over $8000 that will go into the HART organization, the parent teachers group, and will be used toward student activities.

Principal Joe Shiruinski ran with all four classes and the T-Shirt worn by the participants was designed by student Gina Gratti.

Photographs by The Bloomsburg Daily’s Bob Rush