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.

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!

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.

MePush and BTE Partner for Special Show

MePush sponsors special post-Christmas performance at BTE.

Looking for something to do with the family in the days after Christmas? Ready for a break from all your new electronic gadgets? Come spend some time at BTE for a special post-Christmas performance of Holiday Memories, Thursday, December 29 at 7:30PM. Admission to this performance is free with the donation of one gently-used or unwanted new computer item; items accepted are laptop computers, desktop computers, printers, cell phones, keyboards, and monitors.

Holiday Memories is based on two short stories by Truman Capote, the writer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “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, music, vivid characters, and even puppets and is appropriate for all ages.

MePush, a local computer support business with offices in Lewisburg and Bloomsburg, hopes this event will collect enough computer hardware to upgrade BTE’s offices and bring computers to other offices in the Bloomsburg area that are in need of new or gently-used equipment, especially after the recent flooding in our area. MePush staff will be at the theatre, collecting and loading hardware, and then will donate refurbishment services to get the equipment all in working order for BTE and others. “We want to make this an annual event, a good way to collect computer hardware for companies like BTE that are in need,” says MePush president Conor Quinlin.

Tickets will also be sold at regular price for this performance, and the additional post-Christmas performance of Holiday Memories on Friday, December 30 at 7:30PM. Reservations are strongly encouraged, and your computer donation can be brought to the Box Office in advance, for your convenience. To make arrangements, or for more information, please visit the website or call the BTE Box Office at (570) 784-8181 or (800) 282-0283. For more information about MePush, please visit their website at

Buyer’s Guide: Technology Gift Ideas

Let The Bloomsburg Daily help you find the perfect gadget for under the tree.

Christmas is right around the corner, but there is still time to find that perfect gift. It seems more and more these days, technology gifts are the ones most craved by just about everyone on our lists. There are still lots of people who want more traditional items, but gadgets seem to be the hottest and sometimes the most difficult to decide on. Keeping pace with the changes in the technology world is nearly impossible these days as new devices and gadgets hit the market with such staggering regularity it makes even a veteran tech watcher’s head spin. With that in mind, The Bloomsburg Daily has set out to create a guide to some of the hottest and most lusted after gadgets the tech world has to offer. Below are five of the hottest ideas out there across a spectrum of prices so you can decide just how naughty or nice your gadget lover has been this year!

Apple TV

One of the more misunderstood devices Apple currently has on its shelves, the Apple TV is really quite the marvel of technology. The Apple TV doesn’t actually store any of your music, TV shows, or Movies on it, instead it streams all of that wirelessly from an existing computer running iTunes. You do need a wireless network in your home along with a TV with an HDMI connection, but if you have those things you can use one cable to make all of your digital content available in a simple and elegant package. The Apple TV retails for $99.00 but it provides quite a bit of bang for your buck. Rent movies, buy episodes of popular TV shows, and even access content from Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, and more from the simplest remote out there. If you are looking for something that transforms your ability to tap into your existing digital media on your TV, this might be the device you want to see under the Christmas tree this year.

The Kindle Fire

The Kindle line of eBook readers have been around for quite some time. If you’ve never used a Kindle I can honestly say it is a real pleasure to read on. Amazon has a huge selection of media to keep you more than satisfied. The new Kindle Fire is a step away from the original Kindles in a staggeringly big way. While it maintains all of the great eBook features it adds a whole host of new features that are more familiar to an iPad than the old school eBook readers. It is a killer device for watching movies, TV shows, and web videos. It has an App marketplace so playing great games is a click away and the integrated web browser built on the Amazon Silk technology is best in bread. The amazingly bright screen serves as the primary interface through touch and if you have an Amazon Prime account, you get unlimited instant streaming of over 10,000 movies and TV shows. The best part is at $199.00 it is hundreds of dollars less than the iPad.

The iPod Nano

The iPod Nano from Apple is a really interesting little piece of technology that does a whole host of things. The first thing you notice is that it is super small and can clip onto any of your clothes and you barely know it is there. With its touch screen it brings some of the features that iPod Touch and iPhone users love, but in a package that is truly amazingly small. The battery is rated to play for 24 straight hours on a charge so you can be sure that you have plenty of play time. The Nano adds an FM radio with live pause so if you are listening to a favorite song or program on the radio and you need to talk to someone, just hit the pause button and resume later. It has a built in Nike+ app and sensor that gives you real-time feedback on your workout, and you can upload data to the Nike+ website without the need to buy a sensor or special shoes. But, the coolest feature are the various watch faces that allow you to turn your Nano into a very smart and functional time piece. Just buy a watch band, like the iWatchz to turn your iPod Nano into the coolest watch on the planet.

iPad Kitchen Accessories

If you are one of the millions of people who already own an iPad there are some really cool new accessories hitting the market to make it even more functional to support all the things we want to do with it in the kitchen. The Belkin Under Cabinet Mount is a really cool little product that lets you attach your iPad to your cabinets in the kitchen while you cook. What we like about this mount is that it doesn’t require you to install it in any way. Another item for the kitchen is the Belkin Fridge Mount. This ingenious little mount lets you easily attach your iPad 2 to the fridge and with the wide array of Apps to support cooking, lists, and other daily tasks, this little accessory could be quite handy. The last iPad kitchen accessory also works with the Kindle Fire, it is the Belkin Kitchen Stand. What makes it a great idea for a cook is at $35.00 it holds your table in the perfect position and also comes with a no-mess stylus to keep your tablet clean when you have greasy or messy hands.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector & Dual USB Charger

This is a $12.00 gadget that I personally use every single day at home and when I travel. This compact surge protector not only gives you three outlets for your laptop and other items, but adds two built in USB ports fit for charging all sorts of other devices. I use it to charge my MacBook Air, my iPhone, and my iPad on a single outlet. Especially when traveling this little thing lets me leave two charger at home and still keep my devices powered.

Disclosure: Buying any of the items above by using our links will provide The Bloomsburg Daily a small percentage of the purchase price through the Amazon Affiliates program. Photo obtained via Flickr.

The View from Here: Bloomsburg Memorial Award Assembly

Have a look at the sights from the aassembly at the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School celebrating a national achievement.

Yesterday, The Bloomsburg Daily was lucky enough to be a part of an assembly at the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School celebrating a national achievement. The US Department of Education has honored Memorial Elementary as one of 304 schools named a National Blue Ribbon School award winner. The Bloomsburg Daily shared more information about this amazing recognition yesterday.

The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. Mr. Ryan Moran, Principal at Memorial Elementary School noted that, “Memorial Elementary school is one of five schools in the State to receive this prestigious award for academic excellence.”

To celebrate the achievement a school-wide assembly was held on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. During the assembly, the school’s achievements were highlighted. Additionally, distinguished speakers included Mr. Michael Walsh, Deputy to the Secretary of Education and Dr. David Soltz, Bloomsburg University President. After the event, Mr. Moran took some time answer a few questions about the achievement and what it means to him, the school, and the community.

The Bloomsburg Daily wants to sincerely thank the entire Memorial Elementary community for inviting us in and taking the time to share their story with us. All of us here are so proud of the accomplishments at Bloomsburg Memorial. Enjoy the photos from photographer, Bob Rush.

TBD: Can you tell us what Memorial had to do to be recognized for this award? Is it for closing a gap or for overall academic success?

Mr. Moran: Public schools are nominated by the Chief State School Officers (CSSOs). All nominees must qualify as either (1) high performing—schools in their states as measured by state tests in both reading (English language arts) and mathematics or assessments referenced against national norms, or (2) improvement to high levels.

Our school qualified for its improvement to high levels in the areas of reading and mathematics and for closing the gap in achievement, especially among disadvantaged students and students who receive special education services. Improving schools must have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds (students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals).

At the time of our application, Memorial’s student population was comprised of 67% students receiving free and reduced-priced meals.

TBD: What does it mean to you as principal to see your school receive this award?

Mr. Moran: Receiving this distinction is one of the highest honors schools in America can receive for academic achievement. Memorial is one of five elementary schools in the state of Pennsylvania to earn this highly coveted award as most improved school in 2011. It is an honor that represents many years of teamwork, dedication, and commitment on behalf of the students, parents, staff, and community.

As principal, I could not be prouder then I am right now of our students, staff, parents, and community. A great school takes many hands! Each and every person works hard to ensure that the students receive the necessary supports to succeed. This prestigious award validates that we are on the right track and that together we can overcome any obstacle.

The Award also re-energizes staff, parents, and students. You must believe you are great in order to be great and achieve great things. My hope is that through the recognition of this award, our students’ level of pride, confidence, and self-respect grow to new heights. The boundaries are limitless.

TBD: How long have you been principal at Memorial? How long have you been in Bloomsburg?

Mr. Moran: This is my 5th year as principal. I lived in Bloomsburg for 4 years while attending BU. I graduated from Bloomsburg University in 1999 with a degree in elementary education. After graduating I relocated to Maryland to start my career in education. I moved back to Bloomsburg in 2007 after accepting the principal position at Memorial.

TBD: Given the events of this fall with the flood, what should the whole community know about the school and is there anything you’d like people to know about how you feel about the community?

Mr. Moran:Our school’s overall success can be attributed to the continued dedication and commitment of students, staff, parents, and the community. Together we focus on establishing positive relationships, continuous improvement, and meeting the diverse needs of “Our Children.” I want to thank the community and parents who continuously go above and beyond to provide the best educational and life experiences for our students.

Memorial Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools, one of them Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary, as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools — one of them Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary — as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. Today, the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary community will come together in an assembly to recognize this achievement.  In addition, the Department of Education will honor the entire 255 public and 49 private schools with their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”

The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. Mr. Ryan Moran, Principal at Memorial Elementary School noted that, “Memorial Elementary school is one of five schools in the State to receive this prestigious award for academic excellence.”

To celebrate the achievement, Mr. Moran, said that the school will be “be holding a school-wide assembly on Wednesday, December 7. During the assembly, we will highlight our schools’ achievements as well as listen to several keynote speakers. Our distinguished speakers include Mr. Michael Walsh, Deputy to the Secretary of Education and Dr. David Soltz, Bloomsburg University President.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

The Bloomsburg Daily will be attending today’s assembly and will provide photos from the event and more information about the award.

Portions of this story are taken from a press release provided by the United State Department of Education.

The View from Here: Backstage in Santaland

The Bloomsburg Daily’s photographer, Bob Rush, found his way into the Moose Exchange on Tuesday to catch a backstage glimpse of rehearsal for the one man show, The Santaland Diaries. The show, written by David Sedaris and directed locally by Elizabeth Dowd has a special early season showing is at the the Moose Exchange. The show runs from December 8-11, 2011. Buy tickets at or email or call 570-784-8181 or 800-282-0283

The Santaland Diaries performance schedule

Thursday, December 8 at 7:30PM
  • Friday, December 9 at 7:30PM
  • Saturday, December 10 at 7:30PM and 10PM
  • Sunday, December 11 at 7:30PM

The Santaland Diaries

One of the best parts of Christmas in Bloomsburg are the annual Christmas shows that our own Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble puts on. BTE has a rich tradition of delighting locals and visitors each year with classics and contemporary shows that are great for the entire family. This year is no different with an incredibly funny and smart show written by humorist David Sedaris. David’s hilarious recounting of a holiday season spent working as an elf at Macy’s, The Santaland Diaries is the perfect antidote to that relentless Christmas Cheer. This one-man show is a holiday classic-in-the-making. Go ahead, indulge your inner Scrooge!

If you aren’t familiar with David Sedaris’ work, pick up Holiday on Ice or Me Talk Pretty One Day. From his biographical page,

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America ‘s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.David Sedaris is the author of the bestsellers Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, each of which became immediate bestsellers.

Make it a point to head out to see The Santaland Diaries, by David Sedaris and directed locally by Elizabeth Dowd. This special early season showing is at the the Moose Exchange and won’t last long, running from December 8-11, 2011. Buy tickets at or email or call 570-784-8181 or 800-282-0283

The Santaland Diaries performance schedule

Thursday, December 8 at 7:30PM
  • Friday, December 9 at 7:30PM
  • Saturday, December 10 at 7:30PM and 10PM
  • Sunday, December 11 at 7:30PM

Disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate, The Bloomsburg Daily earns a small percentage of any purchase made from readers clicking a product name and buying it from Amazon.

The View from Here: Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It seems each year we start to see it a little earlier — sights of Christmas. Even well before Thanksgiving it happens in stores around town. You walk into the grocery store to pick up your Thanksgiving Turkey and they are already highlighting Christmas. I don’t know about you, but that gets me down. And then it happens, Thanksgiving passes and the sights and sounds of Christmas become so very welcome! The Bloomsburg Daily photographer, Bob Rush took a few pictures of some of the sights of Christmas in the area yesterday. I know it made us smile to see Santa’s Cottage looking so good!