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]

When the River Runs Dry

Women in Kenya face the everyday daunting task of collecting water for their families. BU students Chelsea Walters and Robert Kernaghan highlight a special program that shares in a little way this unique challenge.

Bloomsburg and the surrounding communities have fresh water sources everywhere.  The town has rivers and streams nearby and decorative fountains dot the landscape. Homes have showers and tubs, large university and public buildings are equipped with sinks and water fountains, and no one can imagine a home without clean water.  We rely on water to drink and bathe everyday but what if those water supplies were to disappear completely, what would we do then?
 
This is an issue that the women of Kenya face continually.  Many of these rural women walk about 30 minutes to water sources where they fill a bucket of water and walk back, a survival journey that can repeat about 3 times a day.  If they didn’t do this, many of them would not have enough water for them or their families.  This life-saving process is so important in Kenya that water collecting starts around the age of five when young girls are pulled out of school to help their mothers collect water.
 
Bloomsburg University is joining a number of other universities in the Be Hope To Her walk. Here, students will be asked to carry buckets and walk to the Susquehanna River to collect water. The students will then walk back and will be able to understand in a small way just what it is like to be a Kenyan woman.  The cost is $5 to participate in the walk with all proceeds donated to NURU International, an organization whose members travel to places like Kuria, Kenya and partners with native Kenyans to teach clean water education and water purification skills. This knowledge gives these people the ability to raise their own money for items such as purification water tablets and more beneficial water systems.
 
Lizzie Lee is a Bloomsburg University nursing student who has gone on medical mission trips to places with lack of clean water like Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, facing issues just like this.  “If patients [in Kenya] had clean water, their health problems would be greatly reduced,” she said.
 
The water the Kenyan women collect is often dirty and polluted with parasites that cause illnesses.  Without the cleansing effects of clean water and hydration, sicknesses like diarrhea can be deadly.  With the help of students all across the U.S., these peoples’ lives can be saved.
 
Lee is working with the Honors Center to make this event possible.  On Sunday, April 29 from 2-5 p.m., everyone will be given the opportunity to put themselves in these women’s shoes.  Organizers built an event page on Facebook titled Bloomsburg University Be Hope to Her (BH2O+), or you can email Lizzie Lee at ebl64867@huskies.bloomu.edu.

Everyone is encouraged to participate whether it is donating money, carrying signs, just walking along with the group, or even participating in the event itself.
 

[box type=”bio”]Story by Chelsea Walters. Edited by Robert Kernaghan. Chelsea and Robert are Students in Bloomsburg University’s Mass Communications Program. Photograph provided courtesy NURU International.[/box]

BU Football Field Renamed in Honor of Coach Danny Hale

On April 28 the tradition of excellence personified by Bloomsburg University head football coach Danny Hale will be etched into stone. Hale, the Husky’s career wins leader, will be forever remembered as the field at Robert B. Redman Stadium will be named Danny Hale Field in his honor.

Football is a large part of the town of Bloomsburg and surrounding areas, but this commemoration goes much farther than just athletics. Hale is a community member, a participant in many of the town’s activities, and is an important spokesperson for the University. The fact that a part of Bloomsburg Football will forever be intertwined with the Hale name is not only significant for athletics, but also the University and community as a whole. But don’t let the coach hear you bragging about him.

“This certainly is a humbling moment for both me and my family,” said Hale. “I am very blessed to be able to share this honor with my family. I would have never imagined this happening 20 years ago when I accepted this position.”

As a Husky, Hale has posted a staggering 163-54-1 record at BU, with a astonishing .743 winning percentage and currently holds the school record for most victories by a coach. In his 24-year head coaching career, Hale has reached a milestone many coaches only dream of achieving – amassing an overall record of 203-67-1, and a .750 winning percentage. Hale is ranked among the top 10 active coaches in NCAA Division II in winning percentage, and is one of just five active coaches with over 200 career wins entering the 2012 season.

Danny Hale
Danny Hale

In 19 seasons as head coach at Bloomsburg, Hale boasts a n incredible 11 outright or shared Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division titles and has taken the Huskies to the postseason playoffs seven times. Over the last 12 seasons, Bloomsburg has been one of the most successful NCAA Division II football programs in the nation, with a combined record of 111-30 and a .787 winning percentage.

View Danny Hale’s Complete Career Coaching Statistics on Wikipedia

This issue goes far beyond the game of football, however. Hale is a recognizable community figure, with his consistent help in community service. Every year, Hale and his Huskies football team participate in several blood drives through the American Red Cross. Hale has been honored by the Bloomsburg Chapter of the American Red Cross for his work promoting the donation of blood.

Hale also contributes in Bloomsburg’s annual “The Big Event” when groups from the University assist with a spring cleanup of the town and the surrounding areas. In the fall of 2011, Bloomsburg suffered one of the most disastrous floods in the town’s history. Hale and his football team member’s pitched in, staying in the devastated town over the weeks when school was not in session, helping out members of the community.

Some say that athletic fields or even campus buildings should not be named after existing or former faculty or administration members. But many of the athletic facilities at BU have already been named after successful individuals not only on the field, but off of it as well. Redman Stadium was named in honor Robert B. Redman’s accomplishments when it opened in 1974. In Redman’s coaching career, he accrued a record of 38-4, and won three PSAC championships.

In the summer of 2010, the Huskies named their softball field after one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division II history, Jan Hutchinson, who posted a career record of 958-216-2, for a staggering .815 winning percentage and reached a record 22 consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship Tournament.

The baseball field at Bloomsburg is named after Hall of Famer Danny Litwhiler, who is considered to be one of the greatest innovators in the history of the sport, amassing accolades through college and professional baseball as both a coach and a player.

So at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, come celebrate with Coach Hale, as he will be justly honored for his accomplishments through his successful career, and be recognized as one of the greatest coaches to ever impact Bloomsburg University. His success is not only shown through his outstanding coaching record, but also through the lives of the people he has influenced. Every person to ever be in contact with Coach Hale carries the knowledge and experience they have gathered from his modest man.

“This is not just an honor for me, though.” Hale said. “Every athlete who has played here for me has a part in this day.  All the players, coaches, staff and fans can share in this celebration.”

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, Dylan Spangler. Dylan is a Junior majoring in Mass Communications. Photographs provided courtesy of BUHuskies.com[/box]

Love In Bloom: Six Stories on Love, Lust and Relationships

Premiering on Thursday, April 26, at 8:00 p.m. in Carver Hall, students of the Telecommunications Department at Bloomsburg University directed this series of short films about love, lust, and relationships on a college campus.

When walking into the back of room 1247 in McCormick, a person would expect to find a classroom or a normal office. But hidden in the back are a set of movie posters, and behind three large Mac monitors is a 27-year-old man who has already changed Bloomsburg University or at least the Mass Communications Department.

“I liked video production since high school because it was something to do rather than write papers,” Michael DiGiorgio, manager of Instructional Media Services, says. His career at the university started with his lack of interest in writing papers. “My friends from high school and I would have to write long papers about Julius Caesar so instead of writing them, we would do the film,” says DiGiorgio.

He attended Stockton College and majored in Video Production/Communication. He also did a summer internship at the New York Film Academy where he wrote his first short film, Natalie, which is highlighted on a shelf behind his desk along with his other films he created over the years. “It just seemed like the best major for me because I was already interested in it and I was good at it so I just continued it to college,” DiGiorgio says.

The turning point in DiGiorgio’s career was not in school but during the time he ran his own company and produced a video for a local DARE program in Franklin Township, New Jersey.

“We put this fifteen-twenty minute video together and it was like a dance off with the police officers and stuff. It was really silly.” But, the kids in the auditorium ended up screaming their approval.

“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen because these little kids were loving my work which was odd to me because I never experienced anything like it,” says DiGiorgio.

Now, DiGiorgio has older kids who look up to him. Chad Vanhorn, a sophomore telecommunications major, wasn’t exactly sure what DiGiorgio did at the university. “He was quiet but once I got to know him, I found he is really helpful and all around a nice person,” Vanhorn says.

DiGiorgio found coming to the university was a step up from what he was doing. “I was doing a lot of basic production work and freelance work for NBC and Comcast and any other company that I could find,” says DiGiorgio.

The university also gave him the opportunity to run his own studio. “It was hard to pass up when I saw all the things I would be able to do here.”

Since his arrival at Bloomsburg University, DiGiorgio has changed the entire studio. “When I first came here, we were all analog, very little digital. We did all the editing on a hard drive,” says DiGiorgio. He added HD equipment, green screens, blue screens, added more editing areas for the students and created more opportunities for students to produce their own shows and movies.

DiGiorgio’s latest film he wrote and produced was created in the fall. His ideas were written on a Word document describing quirky characters and six short stories of college romance. He chose five students to direct the short films, and Vanhorn also directed and played a main role in the movie. “He did a wonderful job with the script and had a great vision on how it should turn out,“ Vanhorn says.

After working diligently on the movie for almost five months, Love in Bloom has finally come to life. “He was positive on allowing us to be creative and work on our own ideas,“ Vanhorn says.

DiGiorgio’s short film will appear in Carver Hall Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m. and another poster will be added to his wall and another DVD put on the bookshelf behind his desk waiting for his next creative idea to incorporate the BU students. “This film is something I wouldn’t be able to accomplish without the help of student workers,” DiGiorgio says. “Without the students, we couldn’t do a lot of the programming that we do and we wouldn’t have a lot of the content that we are actually able to produce.”

[box type=”shadow”]Tiffany Bellum is a senior Mass Communications major at Bloomsburg University[/box]

The Long Journey to Recovery

Holly Freese tells a story of personal courage and valiant resolve about a Kutztown University student’s recovery from an automobile accident. This is a must read for anyone who might face a life-changing experience.

It’s mid-day and a woman is struggling to get to the bathroom. She calls for a family member to help her as she gets out of bed and grabs on to her walker and walks the 50 feet she’s able to before having to stop due to extreme pain. This woman isn’t elderly. She’s 20-years-old.

Lauren Hoke, a student at Kutztown University, was enthusiastic about school and determined to maintain her 4.0 GPA as she went into student teaching. Her dream was to graduate with at least a 3.5 GPA and teach 1st grade. Her brother Kyle, 18, of East Stroudsburg described his sister as easy going and “an all around fun person to be around.”

On Feb. 17 Lauren had just washed her car and was on her way home when she lost control. Investigators suspect that her tire blew out, causing her to swerve off the highway. When she tried to get back onto the road, she turned too sharply which cause the car to flip. She then rolled to the other side of the road where she was hit by an oncoming car.

Lauren’s car was totaled, but that damage was minimal compared to the trauma caused to her. She fractured her pelvis in seven places, her spine in two places. She also had a brain hemorrhage, punctured her spleen causing internal bleeding, and suffered from a collapsed lung.

For five days after the accident, Lauren was in the Critical Care Unit, where she was awaiting to hear if she would need any surgery. Lauren said this part was the worst, because she couldn’t eat or drink anything until doctors knew what was going to be done.

For days after the accident, she was only allowed to dip a sponge in water if her mouth was dry until they knew if surgery was necessary. “I would just cry for water,” Lauren said. “I had to wait days [for news].”

Another torture Lauren had to face while in CCU was a neck brace she had to wear. “I don’t think I slept a night until it was off,” Lauren said about what she referred to as “the worst thing ever invented.”

Lauren was then moved to a transitional trauma room for an additional five days. At this point in her hospital stay, x-rays and CT scans were administered daily, but she could not move on her own because of her injured spine and pelvis. In order to move her, a board was placed under her and health care providers had pick her up to move her from stretcher to stretcher.

Her last few days at the hospital, Lauren was preparing to head home. Basic tasks that a person does everyday, like getting dressed or going to the bathroom, became the things Lauren needed to practice and master before leaving.
A physical therapist who visited before Lauren was discharged, realized she had a pinched nerve in the leg she was allowed to put weight on. “I couldn’t stand on it at all,” Lauren said. “It would immediately burn so bad I would scream and cry all at the same time. It was the worst pain I felt throughout the whole thing.”

When she made it home, the long journey to recovery wasn’t over. Her mother or father had to give her a shot in her stomach for a month and a half. She also had eight different medications she had to take throughout the day. By now she could successfully use a walker but could only make it a short distance before being in extreme pain. She also needed supervised bathroom visits so in the middle of the night, she had to text her brother or dad to help her. She needed a special raised toilet seat that had handles for support. She also needed to use a stool in the shower so she could sit down.

Lauren said that coping after the accident was hard. But for her brother, the most difficult part about dealing with her accident was trying to remain calm around their family. “I knew someone had to be there to help get everyone else through it,” Kyle said. “It was hard seeing everyone else’s reactions on top of my own.”

After being home for a while, Lauren experienced a wide range of emotions with trying to deal with her recovery. “I was super happy to be out of the hospital. It was nice having family come see me everyday, but at times it would get annoying to have someone watch your every move 24/7,” she said, “and I was so upset to be home and not school.”

However, Lauren became aware of some positive outcomes from her accident. She was incredibly touched by the number of people who cared about her. She kept friends updated on her Facebook about her recovery noting, “I would post something about my accident and 90 people would like it. I actually got a blessing from the Pope in Italy and I thought that was super cool.”

She also said she has bonded with her family since being home, which has been good for her. She also started dating her current boyfriend Manny Green, who pushed back enlisting in the Navy until she was fully recovered so he could be there for her and help her throughout the recovery process. “He’s my Superman right now,” she said about Green.

“Life is life is life,” was her response when asked how her life has changed since the accident. She is being sued by the man who hit her so the accident has put a lot of stress on her and her family. Lauren kept her sense of humor, however, and simply said, “My dad will probably have grey hair by the end of the year.”

Lauren still can’t do everything she use to be able to and is limited in psychical activity that includes some personal disappointments. “I can’t go on roller coasters this year because of my brain hemorrhage.”

She also had to leave school for a semester and was given only a week after her accident to decide if she wanted to withdrawal and get her money back. She pointed out several times that she’s upset she’s not in school right now, but she is excited to go back.

Lauren said that she is going to take summer classes to catch up instead of packing her schedule next year. And now, her new plan after she graduates if to take a year and travel so she can see as many places as she can. Lauren said she finds herself more optimistic and values life more. “Things can always be worse,” she said.

Kyle wants people to know that anything can happen. “She wasn’t texting or doing anything to distract herself, and she had her seatbelt on, and she was still in an accident,” he said. “With a little luck and a lot of strength, things will get better,” Kyle said. “My sister is unbelievably lucky and strong to get through this like she did.”

[box type=”bio”]Holly Freese is a Junior majoring in Journalism in the Mass Communication Department at Bloomsburg University. The photograph of Lauren’s car after the accident is provided courtesy of the Hoke Family.[/box]

Community Profile: Tom McGuire

A cluttered desk scattered with weeks of mail, invoices, receipts and numerous other materials, would make it seem like an organizational mess to an outsider. However, beyond the desk, covering the walls and lining cabinets and bookshelves are numerous magazines, awards, and other sports memorabilia that portray the successes of a distinguished man. Behind the desk sits a man who seems to have all the time in the world, and is always sporting a smile on his face.

Tom McGuire has been involved with Sports Information at Bloomsburg University for more than 23 years, and is in his 14th year as Director of Sports Information. McGuire oversees the 20 varsity sports in the Huskies arsenal as well as performing duties as the Athletic Marketing and Promotion director. During McGuire’s tenure at Bloomsburg University, sponsorships have increased from $7,500 to nearly $50,000 per year, and overall he raised over $200,000 toward athletic scholarships across all athletic teams.

McGuire has been a sports enthusiast all of his life, since the age of five. He began competing in sports in 4th grade, and participated in high school cross country and basketball all four years. After high school McGuire attended Wilkes University, competing on the cross country team for four years, being named the team’s MVP as a sophomore.

After receiving a communications degree, McGuire worked as a disc jockey at a local radio station in the Wilkes-Barre area. After a few months, he received a phone call from the athletic director at Wilkes University asking him to become the cross country coach. He accepted the position and while coaching, McGuire fine-tuned his publicity skills promoting the cross country team in local newspaper write-ups. Within a year, the position of Sports Information Director at Wilkes became available, and McGuire submitted his resume and application with virtually no experience in the field.

Once hired as the information director at Wilkes, McGuire began a nine and a half year stint with his Alma Mater. In this role, McGuire’s primary duties were promotion and publicity for the school’s 13 varsity athletic teams. McGuire also hosted the television show Colonel’s Corner, which highlighted all of Wilkes athletic events and programs.

After his tenure at Wilkes, McGuire became the Sports Information Director at Bloomsburg, along with being a contributor to the Bloomsburg University Magazine.

“I always wanted to stay involved with athletics in some way,” said McGuire. “Being involved with Wilkes and Bloomsburg as a Sports Information Director has kept it in my life.”

Throughout the 14 years which McGuire has been associated with Bloomsburg University, he accomplished many feats. In 2006, McGuire promoted former BU running back Jamar Brittingham for the Harlon Hill Award and the D2 Player of the Year Award—taking the formerly unknown athlete to a third place finish in final voting.

McGuire repeated his accomplishments in 2010 by taking freshman running back Franklyn Quiteh to a sixth place finish in balloting.

Also in 2006, McGuire promoted head football coach Danny Hale which culminated in a top 10 finish in the first ever Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. Hale and the Huskies were featured in a national television presentation hosted by Keith Jackson on ABC Sports.

As if the list of accomplishments was not long enough, McGuire also has mentored nine students in sports publicity, opening many doors for different careers. Students who shadowed under McGuire now work with the likes of the New Orleans Hornets, University of Alabama Birmingham, Georgia Tech, and IUP.

Sophomore mass communication major Enrique Josephs was recently employed by McGuire to announce the Huskies sporting events. In just one semester, Josephs has covered matches for the Huskies including men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, softball and baseball, and has high aspirations for the upcoming years.

“Thus far it has been great working with Tom,” said Josephs. “He has given me a great opportunity to kick start my possibility of one day becoming a sports announcer.”

In his capacity, McGuire’s position calls for countless work hours as well as a hectic work environment. McGuire holds two things important to his success very closely, his organizational skills and not being afraid to delegate some work to his undergraduate students. “You can’t survive in my line of work wanting to do everything,” said McGuire. “Many people have quit the job because they simply had too much to do.”

In the field of Sports Information, those involved have to stand out from the rest of the crowd. McGuire believes that his ability to take on extra work with sponsorships promotions and marketing differentiates him from others in his line of work. “The fact that I do both promotions and marketing, as well as hold the title of Sports Information Director makes me very unique in the PSAC conference,” said McGuire. “Not many people are able to do it all.”

However, success does not come easy for McGuire; there are many challenges in his line of work. Supervising 20 varsity athletic sports allows him to be involved with many different people, but there are some drawbacks. “Keeping everyone involved happy is very difficult sometimes,” said McGuire. “I just do my best to give each team equal share in publicity and give it my all every day I come into the office.”

McGuire’s motto of giving each team equal share certainly pays off. He sees that the most satisfying part of his job is giving publicity back for student athletes in their hometown newspapers or local television. “Sometimes whenever a student athlete graduates from Bloomsburg, I receive a thank-you note for getting their name out there,” said McGuire. “And that’s what makes this job worthwhile—seeing all the work I do pay off”.

McGuire draws most of his inspiration from his parents, who taught him to be a driven individual he was growing up. He has taken much of their advice into his personal life, and his professional life. “My parents gave me valuable advice when I was growing up,” said McGuire. “Whatever they did, they did it well. They taught me to do everything as best as I can, and to work as hard as I can.”

McGuire also received professional advice from Pete Nevins, former East Stroudsburg Sports Information Director. Nevins served as the director from 1969-2002, until losing his battle with brain cancer at the age of 68. McGuire holds Nevins advice very close to him as he comes into the office every morning. “He always had great advice, and he has been doing my job since the time I was born,” said McGuire. “He was a guru, pretty much everyone around the country knew him.”

Being involved with athletics his entire life; McGuire does not plan to stop now. He has many personal and professional goals that have yet to be attained, but one thing holds true—he is making collegiate sports a better all-around experience for all student athletes affiliated with him. The accolades that McGuire holds are only the beginning in a career that will soon blossom with more success.

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, Dylan Spangler. Dylan is a Junior majoring in Mass Communications.[/box]

Sweet & Hot: Tony’s Lunch

Tony’s Lunch, on Main Street in Bloomsburg, is a seemingly normal place to grab a quick bite to eat, but it is a truly unique establishment with a history even just as surprising as its “Fluff Burger.”

The origin of Tony’s Lunch and their famous “Screamer” began in Girardville in the 1940s, explains Joseph Salukas, owner of the current Bloomsburg establishment. “Tony Fulginiti was in the military and while he was stationed in Texas, he got the recipe off a man there for the Screamer Sauce.”

In 1975, Joseph Salukas’s father bought Tony’s Lunch. “My father was actually drunk one night, went for a burger, and told Mrs. Fulginiti that he was going to buy the place one day, and the next day it was for sale,” said Salukas, recalling how his family came to own Tony’s. “My father bought Tony’s Lunch on a handshake.”

After realizing many students and other members in the Bloomsburg area were traveling all the way to the original Tony’s Lunch in Girardville, Joseph Salukas and his wife Angie decided to open shop in Bloomsburg as a branch of the original.

“We were looking for a good place to open up, and Bloomsburg was perfect,” says Joe.

Like the original in Girardville, the walls of the Bloomsburg restaurant are covered with dollar bills.

Dollar Bills

“It started off as a dollar from the first customer, and then all of a sudden everyone wanted to put a dollar on the wall.”

While it is not nearly as extensive as the walls in Girardville, some customers have put their dollars on the fridge at Tony’s in Bloomsburg. The dollars aren’t simply decoration, however. Salukas’s family was able to donate a couple hundred dollars for breast cancer research from all of the dollars they had.

Tony’s Lunch has a small menu offering burgers, hot dogs, fries, and cheesesteaks. All can be ordered with or without the spicy screamer sauce, but perhaps the most interesting item on the menu is the “Fluff Burger,” which is a hamburger with screamer sauce, cheese, onions, and marshmallow fluff.

Lindsay McAndrew, a Junior at Bloomsburg University, has been eating Fluff Burgers for years. “I tried a fluff burger the very first time I ate at Tony’s, without screamer sauce. One day I tried the fluff burger with the sauce, and I’ve been eating it ever since.”

Customers also really enjoy the cheesesteaks. The cheesesteaks at Tony’s Lunch come with cheese, onions, spaghetti sauce, and screamer sauce. “Some people even order the cheesesteaks with the fluff,” says Angie Salukas.

To most people, even the words “burger with marshmallow fluff” sounds strange, but not to the customers at Tony’s.

McAndrew defends the Fluff Burger from those who would turn their noses at such a concoction. “You really just have to try it to see how good it is. It’s sweet mixed with hot. It’s just a great combo.”

[box type=”bio”]Alex Steinhilb and Kayla Bressi are students in the Mass Communication program at Bloomsburg University[/box]

Author Stephen Elliot Comes to Bloomsburg University

Award winning author Stephen Elliot spoke at Bloomsburg University’s Kehr Union on Wednesday, 28 March, offering his views on the various modern media available to authors through which they are able to present their work.

An author of four novels as well as collections of essays and short stories, Mr. Elliot achieved critical acclaim for his 2009 work The Adderall Diaries, a self-described “memoir of moods, masochism and murder” which Elliot claims to be the result of a relationship. Called a “provocative, masterful, thrilling ride” by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Adderall Diaries was named as one of the best books of 2009 by Kirkus Reviews.

“‘The Adderall Diaries’ was a book I was very proud of,” said Elliot. “But the idea of writing personal, creative, non-fiction like that, didn’t appeal to me very much.” Looking instead for other outlets though which authors could make connections, Elliot founded The Rumpus, a website and forum that bridges the gap between writer and reader.

“The Rumpus is not worried about being the first to break the news,” writes Elliot in describing his online project. “We care about good writing, and we’ll publish essays just because the writing is good. We’re focused on culture but not ‘People Magazine culture.’ We want to introduce readers to things they might not have heard of yet. The Web was supposed to diversify content and so far it hasn’t. If anything, the Internet has amplified the echo chamber so all the big online magazines are focusing on the same stories.”

Speaking to his personal motivation for founding The Rumpus, Elliot said, “I knew I wanted to be in editing and I knew I had a lot of free time on my hands. I wanted to build a website for people like me.”

The Rumpus grants readers an intimate connection to their favorite authors, more than they were able to have in the past. Readers receive a letter from their author of choice three to four times a week. Elliot believes that by receiving a letter, the subscribers have a more personal connection with the author.

“Letters are more intimate than magazine articles, the same way emails are more intimate than blogs,” said Elliot. “Even if it’s written to 11,000 people, it feels like it is written to you.”

According to Elliot intellectual mediums offered to writers, such at The Rumpus, affect the creative writing method. The way a writer would present a piece of creative writing in a novel isn’t the way they would exhibit their writing in an email or a blog.

“There are a lot of mediums going on here [at The Rumpus] because we are living in a fractured medium landscape,” said Elliot.

Elliot also presented a reading from his memoir The Adderall Diaries on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in McCormick at 7 p.m.

[box type=”shadow”]Mr. Elliot’s personal website is http://www.stephenelliott.com/ and The Rumpus is http://therumpus.net/. Mr. Elliot is @S___Elliott on Twitter.[/box]

[box type=”bio”]Brianna Albertini is a student in the Mass Connunications program at Bloomsburg University. Photo Credit: Black Pearl 10 used under a Creative Commons License.[/box]

Renaissance Jamboree: Townsfolk, BU Students Ready for Annual Celebration

The Renaissance Jamboree, Bloomsburg’s annual one-day street fair celebrates its 34th year this month. On Saturday April 28th the festival will stretch for 8 blocks along Main Street, hosting over 100 art, craft and food vendors, artists, musicians, local businesses and non-profit groups – plus games, children’s entertainment, folk dancing from around the world, a martial arts demonstration, and even a high flying trampoline performance by Flippenout.

In past years, the Jamboree sometimes fell on the same weekend as Bloomsburg University’s Block Party. As a result, the Jamboree never became part of the lexicon handed down from class to class. But as many students are discovering the Town itself can host an amazing party.

“I saw a few posters about it around campus but never really paid much attention to it,” said Lauren Grose, a sophomore at Bloomsburg University. “Is it during Block Party weekend? If so, that’s probably why. It seems like more of a community event than student event.”

Grose’s opinion is shared by other students, such as BU senior Tanira Perkins.

“They don’t promote the event the way they promote others,” said Perkins. “I’ve been here 4 years and I’ve never heard of it once.”

While there seems to be many individual students that are not aware of the Renaissance Jamboree, there are a number of student groups and organizations that get involved. The Community Government Association (CGA), Protestant Campus Ministries (PCM), and several student service organizations such as Kappa Kappa Psi and Alpha Phi Omega are registered for this year’s festival.

One of several student groups that participate yearly, the PCM has a table at the Jamboree where they sell drinks, host a game, and do face painting.

“Who doesn’t need an hour or two break?” said PCM Campus Minister Maggie Gillespie on the subject of studying for finals.

Gillespie said the jamboree benefits the Bloomsburg community and is “an outlet for our local talent.”
“I have always loved it so much as a member of the community. It’s a fun thing to be a part of!”

Jimmy Gilliland, Director of Student Activities at BU since 1983, works with student groups involved with Renaissance, and also understands the history behind the springtime event.

According to Gilliland, Renaissance Jamboree began as a celebration to commemorate the “rebirth” of Bloomsburg in 1978 when trees were planted along Main Street. While many people think of swordplay and sorcery when they think of “renaissance,” the Bloomsburg version is really about the metaphorical rebirth of the town.

“Honestly, it’s a fun street fair,” said Gilliland, pointing out that “there will be lots of fair food, which students seem to enjoy,” like fried Twinkies, cotton candy, barbequed meat and the many other staples of the standard American street fair.

Returning by request, the Lehigh Valley band Joyous will perform again this year, covering hits from every decade of the 20th century.

Applications and guidelines for art and craft vendors can be found at the Renaissance Jamboree website.

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student Matt Nason with contributions by Danielle Columbo and Mercedes Smith.[/box]

A Bridge Over Troubled Streets

Fast cars, limited crosswalks, and no crossing guards. To many these seem like the situations that occur on busy urban streets, but for many students living in The Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments this is just a part of their daily commute in crossing Lightstreet Road on their way to campus. The Bloomsburg University’s student Community Government Association (CGA) and the University noticed this daily struggle and are discussing the possibility of constructing a pedestrian bridge to better accommodate students. This second pedestrian bridge would extend from the Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments to campus in between the Haas Center and the Bakeless Center.

Lightstreet Road, or PA Route 487, is a busy thoroughfare separating the main lower campus from the athletic field and student housing to the north. In recent years as student housing has expanded away from the main campus, pedestrian traffic from that direction has increased.

The location of this additional housing relative to the lower campus academic buildings poses concerns for Bloomsburg drivers and student pedestrians alike. At present the existing pedestrian bridge at Penn and Lightstreet does accommodate some who choose to walk, but this bridge was installed years ago when volume of foot traffic as well as commuting patterns were much different. Originally built to provide safe crossing from the parking lot along Lightstreet, the bridge leads away from the two apartment complexes built in subsequent years.

Students who choose to walk to the lower campus estimate that the location of the current bridge adds an additional ten to fifteen minutes to their travels. In addition to reducing walking times, it is also hoped that the bridge would reduce the need for shuttle buses in the area.

“The bridge would make the trek up to class more timely, definitely quicker than the buses that take forever”, said sophomore Honeysuckle resident Devon Seier. “In the wintertime students could have a quicker access to the school and not have to wait on the buses,” stated Seier. When asked about his use of the current bridge he replied “Personally I don’t use it because it’s a longer walk for me. The bus is definitely the more logical choice at this point.”

The current shuttle schedules and the long, unsafe walks for the students in the Honeysuckle complex have led many to find housing elsewhere in town. “If I wanted to walk to campus on a nice day I would have to leave a half an hour early just to make it to class on time, I thought that was ridiculous and it motivated me to find a house closer to campus”, said former Honeysuckle resident Rich Lopez. The bridge project would put an end to these travel issues and could increase the number of students deciding to live at Honeysuckle and the 500 Club.

According to CGA President Dave Abrams the bridge project would be part of a joint campaign between CGA and the University to beautify Lightstreet and increase student safety. The CGA is considering using their reserve fund to clean up the area while the University would fund the bridge project.

“I love the bridge idea,” said Mr. Abrams “I think it’s something that the students need. I am a resident of Honeysuckle; if you look at where Honeysuckle is located according to campus it actually takes longer to drive to the University then it would to walk. The complex is right next to campus and the bridge would take you right to the quad. It is something that needs to be done.”

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, John Catona. John is a Junior majoring in Psychology..[/box]