BTE to Perform Atsumori in Bloomsburg Town Park

On Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4, the Noh Training Project (NTP), an international program hosted by BTE and Bloomsburg University, will perform the classic Noh drama Atsumori in Bloomsburg Town Park, at 8pm. Preceding the performance each night at 7pm will be two Noh excerpts featuring visiting Japanese professionals, and a recital of this year’s NTP students. Atsumori will be performed with projected English supertitles; the recital and Noh excerpts will be untitled. Free translations of the play are available at the Bloomsburg Public Library. On August 7th at the Bloomsburg Public Library, the Socrates Café will meet to discuss themes of war and forgiveness as expressed in Atsumori.

NTP is a three-week intensive workshop in the movement chant, and music of Noh. It draws participants from around the world, and is the only such program in the western hemisphere. BTE member Elizabeth Dowd is NTP’s Producing Director; now in its 18th year; she is also a member of Theatre Nohgaku with whom she has toured Europe and Asia in modern English-language Noh. Ensemble member James Goode is a three-time participant in NTP.

Says Elizabeth: “Whether they know it or not, BTE audiences are certainly seeing the influence of Noh training on my work – from the stillness of Sister Aloysius in Doubt, to how I directed Jim as the ghost of Mr. Woolsey in Ghost Writer. It’s great to be able to share with them the source material in the form of ATSUMORI”. James adds to that: “Absolutely, my Noh experience was put to good use in Ghost-Writer, as well as portraying the Ghost of Hamlet’s father in Hamlet. Plus, it’s great training in listening; there are subtle shifts of tempo, and always a forward moving pulse, even in the super slow sections.”

On Friday, Elizabeth will perform the lead role in an extended Noh excerpt with instruments. James will be in the chorus for the second excerpt, and also be in the chorus for the full Noh drama, Atsumori.

On Saturday, James will perform his recital piece. Each will be in the chorus for a different duo of Noh excerpts. Elizabeth will be in the Atsumori chorus to follow.

Atsumori tells the story of a priest, who makes a pilgrimage to a battlefield where, in a previous career as a soldier, he had killed the young nobleman Atsumori. He encounters some grasscutters. One of them reveals himself as the spirit of Atusmori, and re-enacts the battle when he was killed.

More information about Atsumori and Noh can be found on the websites for BTE.

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

Bloom Psychological Center Helping Those Affected by Flood

We recently had a chance to talk with Sue Ei, who is a psychologist with the Bloomsburg Psychological Center (BPC).  We talked about their Flood Support Group and how she feels the community is doing after the Flood of 2011.

1. Tell us a little bit about the Flood Support Group.  Obviously the devastation was tremendous with a multitude of people affected, but were there other factors that made your group decide to start it? 

Well, I’ll start by giving credit to CMSU (Columbia, Montour, Snyder and Union Counties of Central Pennsylvania, which is a cooperative arrangement between the four counties to provide mental health, mental retardation and drug & alcohol services).  They came up with the idea and asked for help. Dorothy Ashman asked the staff at Bloomsburg Psychological Center (BPC) for volunteers and agreed to donate a space at the BPC Annex office where people could gather. Several of us at BPC were immediately interested in volunteering to facilitate the group, some because of our own involvement with the flood, and others out of concern for our community. Many of our clients have been directly impacted by the flood, so the need was clear.

2. What are the details? When and where does it occur? And for whom? Eligibility requirements?

The Flood Support Group meets at 7pm on Wednesdays (weather permitting) at the BPC Annex office, 16 Sherwood Drive (in Sherwood Village, behind Campus Clipper). There really are no eligibility requirements; anyone who has been impacted by the flood, or cares about someone who has been impacted, is welcomed. The first Wednesday of the month is open to children, families and adolescents under age 16. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesdays are for adults and older adolescents (age 16 and older). People can call 570-387-1832 for details, including directions or cancellations due to weather.

3. While respecting the privacy we know you must keep, can you give us a general sense of how people are coping? How are the children doing?

I’m forever impressed and encouraged by the resilience of individuals and communities, and the response to the recent flooding was a good example. The community and those affected by the flood really rose up to help and support each other. That said, when such tragedy strikes, it’s pretty difficult to bounce back functionally, financially and emotionally. Many people are not yet back in their homes, some never will be. Some people are living in just a few rooms of the house amid an ongoing chaos of construction, contractors & utility companies, insurance companies, etc. It takes a toll emotionally when a person’s home is not yet restored to a haven of safety and comfort. Coping with such a loss is a challenge that no one should face alone.

A number of factors can impact a person’s ability to cope with devastation. The extent of the damage, financial resources, and ability to make repairs (e.g. availability of contractors, equipment, supplies, etc.) are some of the more obvious issues. As anyone can imagine, it can be really frightening to have a property that wasn’t insured against flood damage, and state and federal funding only stretches so far. Plus, several people in the support group have told stories of insurance companies not making good on their promises. That’s just adding insult to injury.

On top of the more practical issues, people are dealing with emotional reactions, including anger, frustration, anxiety, a deep sense of loss, and the challenges of being displaced. Privacy has become a thing of the past for many of those affected. People are struggling with just wanting to feel normal again.

People who’ve experienced tragedy may notice signs of depression – changes in sleep, loss of pleasure, feelings of isolation, hopelessness or guilt, tearfulness, difficulty concentrating, appetite or weight changes, even suicidal thoughts. Anxiety symptoms are also common and might include racing thoughts, inability to focus or concentrate, feeling “on edge” all the time, excessive worrying, loss of sleep, etc. For some, the flood had a traumatizing effect, leaving the person feeling unsafe even in secure settings.

Kids who are struggling might show behaviors that are not “normal” for that child. For example, a normally independent kid might suddenly be afraid to let parents out of her sight; a social kid might start spending most of his time alone; a diligent student might stop doing homework or stop studying for tests. Shifts in behavior following a tragedy like the flood might mean that a child is struggling to cope.

My colleagues who work directly with children talk about the losses kids have faced. Families talk about confused routines and the challenges of being displaced from the home, neighborhood, and familiar surroundings. Many kids lost favorite books or toys, or had to throw away cherished items that were contaminated by flood waters. Some families are living away from their pets while displaced from the homes.

4. If people know or love someone affected by the flood, what can they do to help?

Some people have gotten fairly good at asking for help; others are more reluctant. If you see a need, consider filling it without being asked, because the chances are good that the person will not ask. Even the smallest gestures can mean the world. A card or a note saying “I’m thinking about you” lets those you care about know that they are on your mind. Small comforts –packets of hot chocolate or a favorite beverage, a toy for the person’s pet, a distraction that you know the person enjoys (puzzle book, hobby supplies) can be an inexpensive way to say “I’m thinking about you.” If you see them out somewhere, a touch on the shoulder and a kind message, such as “I’ve been thinking about you” is often comforting. In our society, we don’t want to intrude, and it’s hard to know what to do or say, but if someone has been on your mind, let them know. It will mean a lot to them.

Also, you might give someone a break from the post-flood chaos. Invite them to dinner, or out to coffee, or to do an activity. Unless they bring it up, don’t discuss the flood. If they want to talk about it, they will. Remember, for many of these folks, flood-related issues take up most of their time and energy. A nice distraction can be wonderful and healing. Allow the person to choose the direction of the conversation, or ask specific questions that focus on other areas of the person’s life (family, work, hobbies, church, etc.).

Finally, if you run into someone who’s been affected, ask yourself this question before you speak to them, “Do I really care about this person, or am I just curious?” If you really care, then a kind word or gesture will be appreciated (e.g. a pat on the shoulder and a short statement, “It’s good to see you; I hope you are well.”). If you are just curious, consider respecting the person’s privacy and just walking by, or saying a quick “hello.”

5. After a trauma like this, what can victims expect? Everyone deals differently, but how long can symptoms last? Aside from talking in support groups like this, is there anything else victims can do to heal?

Everyone heals in his or her own way. Some people find solace in support groups, spiritual pursuits, projects, hobbies, fitness, therapy, or commiserating with friends and neighbors. Others draw into their families, and some people refocus their efforts toward work, clean-up, or helping others. Coping in these ways is healthy and generally moves people toward restoring their lives to normal.

People also sometimes cope in ways that can cause more problems, even if it feels like a good escape at the moment. If you notice that your alcohol use, smoking or recreational drug use has increased, or you are living on junk food, isolating, watching a lot more TV than usual, etc., then you might be struggling to cope. Also, if you find yourself withdrawing from normal activities, sleeping a lot, isolating, or struggling with other symptoms of depression or anxiety (see above), it might be time to reach out for help. Some behaviors can feel like an escape, but if you’re coping in a way that keeps you from moving forward, it might be time to talk to someone. The support group is a good place to start, or with a friend, family member, trusted co-worker or clergy person, counselor, etc. This experience was devastating for individuals and communities; no one should have to go through the recovery process alone.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

We all need a little extra support sometimes. Through the support group, we’re offering an informal atmosphere where people can come together, share common experiences, take comfort, and exchange information. Those in attendance usually choose the topic(s) and the direction of the conversation. Remember, a support group is about getting support, but it’s also about giving support. Your experiences might be just what someone else needs to hear about: to help them feel less alone, learn about a program they need, consider a new way to cope, etc.

We are centered in Bloomsburg, but want to be sure that people outside of the local community know they are absolutely welcomed to attend. We try to make sure that the word gets out, with flyers, postings in the local paper and on Facebook, and by word-of-mouth. Still, we’re concerned that people who could benefit aren’t aware of the group. If you’re reading this, please spread the word.

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.”

A Local Holiday Table

This fall has strengthened our local community, with many groups and local residents helping each other out after the devastating Lee flooding. In that spirit, The Bloomsburg Daily thought it would be nice if residents helped out local merchants, farms, and vendors this holiday season by buying gifts and sourcing your holiday meal ingredients locally. And if you think it’s impossible to create a meal with local ingredients during this time of year, you are wrong!

Check out these great ideas for both local gifts and food. And be sure to visit the other local merchants in Bloomsburg for all of your holiday needs!

Forks Farm Market

Forks Farm Market is in Orangeville and is both a fully functioning farm and market owned by the Hopkins Family. Their goal is to be the local source for fresh, clean, pastured poultry, eggs, beef, lamb, and pork of the highest quality using sustainable farming methods that contribute to the health of their customers, community, and environment. John Hopkins from Forks Farm tells us that this Saturday, December 17th, they will be having a special holiday market from 10 AM to 1 PM. In addition to their farm products including grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, and free range eggs, many other farms will participate bringing products such as farmstead cheeses, dairy products, sauces, herbs, and syrups. There will also be over 20 vendors in attendance who will be selling salmon, goat cheese/meat, veal, homemade breads, sticky buns, fresh roasted coffees, herbs, shampoos/soaps, pies and soups, and apple dumplings. Crafters will also be ready to help you find that perfect gift with alpaca wool products, jewelry, and handcrafted wood products. For more information and directions, check out their website.

Forks Farm Market
299 Covered Bridge Road
Orangeville, PA 17859

Wild for Salmon

Wild for Salmon is the creation of Steve and Jenn Kurian, who went on a trip to Alaska and did some commercial fishing and got “hooked.” They quickly realized the uniqueness of the product and the possibilities that lie ahead. They have grown to serve individuals, buying clubs, local farm markets, restaurants, and health food stores. Because Wild for Salmon has increased its sales by an average of over 20% per year over the last 4 years, Steve and Jenn have recently purchased their own boat and commercial fishing permit for Bristol Bay, AK. While the products aren’t technically from Pennsylvania (salmon don’t swim that far), we think you’ll want to patronize this great local business for many of your holiday needs. Popular holiday items include the Whole Salmon Filet, Smoked Salmon Spread, King and Dungeness Crab Legs, and Nova Lox. In addition, they are featuring three holiday samplers which make great gifts. The Alaskan Sampler contains a mix of white fish, crab, salmon, cod, and sole. The Wild for Salmon Sampler contains a mix of salmon products. The Smoked Salmon Sampler contains a mix of smoked salmon products.

Wild for Salmon
521 Montour Bvld (Rt 11)
Bloomsburg, PA 17815
570-387-0550 office
570-387-0552 store

Spices, Inc.

Greg and Penny Patterson decided to launch in early 2008 after leaving the corporate job that Greg had as the Chief Operations Officer at In a former life, Greg was also a restaurant operations consultant who helped fix underperforming restaurants. So getting back into the food industry was a logical step for him. Part of his mission is to give back. In July of 2010, they decided that they would begin donating 1% of their sales (not profits, but total sales) to help fight hunger in kids, their families and seniors in our country. Spices Inc. has literally every spice you can imagine (13 different kinds of peppercorns!) and some tremendous gift ideas, including many different spice sets. Some of these include the Big Game Wing Master Set, the Master Baker spice set, the Artisan Breads and Granola set, and for after the holidays, the Jump Start Your Diet Oatmeal Spice Set. In addition, for your cooking and baking needs, they have nearly anything you can imagine from pumpkin pie spice to breakfast sausage seasoning to granulated honey to Saigon Cinnamon. The possibilities are endless here and any food lover you know would love their products. I have yet to visit their 6th Street location, but rumor has it the aroma is unbelievable.

Spices Inc.
2 East 6th Street
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania 17815

Food Allergies, the Holidays, and Non-Pecan Pie

Food and the Holidays go together. How to balance it with the rise of food allergies?

I should have known much better.  And yet I didn’t.

When purchasing chocolates for a realtor open house the other day, I read the ingredients carefully to make sure there were no nut products in them, as well as to ensure they weren’t processed with nuts.  It was all clear.  The ingredients included only chocolate, sugar, and dairy and there were no cross contamination warnings on the outside of the package.  I hadn’t bought them for my severely nut-allergic daughter to eat, but there were a few leftover in the bowl and I wasn’t listening when she asked later if she could have one. I must have nodded along and she ate one.  (Blame it on the stress of selling a house, I guess.)  When my mother looked at the individual wrapper after my daughter ate it, she saw in the fine print on the foil that it said “May Contain Bits of Peanuts or Tree Nuts.”

This is why parents of children with food allergies are more prone to panic and anxiety than most.  A wave of guilt and fear came over me as I watched my daughter for any visible hives or swelling.  I didn’t feel calm until several hours went by without any major symptoms.  The guilt was strong — I am always the one warning everyone else about labels and ingredients, pestering teachers and relatives about what she can and cannot have.  And yet, here it was.  It was me that put her in danger.

I am part of a growing group of parents dealing with food allergies, which have become increasingly common, especially among children.  According to The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN):

Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). A food allergy can be potentially fatal. Scientists estimate that as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies … Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. They are milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

It is important to note that food allergies are not simply dislikes or even intolerances.  In someone with food allergies, the immune system mounts a response thinking the protein in the offending food is dangerous.  Food allergies are not something that someone can control and those making special requests aren’t simply being picky.  In the more severe cases, they can be deadly when anaphylaxis (a closing of the airway) occurs.

My daughter happens to be one of those severe cases.  She carries Epinephrine injectors at all times.  Two in a hip pack.  Two in my purse.  Two in the nurse’s office at school.  We go nowhere without it, and while it makes me feel safer to have it, food allergies are a very tricky thing. Something that you tolerated previously may send you into shock the fifth time you eat it.  And while Epinephrine generally reverses anaphylaxis, it doesn’t always work in certain cases and sometimes can require multiple doses.  To have food allergies is to live in a world of fear that something so pleasurable — food — can kill you in a few minutes time.

The holidays present special challenges, because so many of our holiday rituals and celebrations include food.  Class parties, holiday open houses, candy canes at Christmas tree farms, chocolate coins and Santas, platters of Christmas cookies, and bowls of party mix filled with nuts are all potential offenders.  And when you don’t know the ingredients or trust for sure that someone else does, it usually means restricting your child (or yourself) and not allowing him/her to have that cookie everyone else is enjoying.

As difficult as it is for the victims and families of those with food allergies, it is also hard for those trying to entertain them.  No one wants to put someone in danger, least of all a small child who just wanted to eat a cookie.  Fortunately, there are many strategies everyone can use to keep people safe from allergens.  There are also many wonderful products on the market that allow those with allergies to enjoy similar treats to what everyone else is having.

Christa Hobson from Bloom Naturally told us that her store carries many food allergy friendly products.  On the list are soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter, which can be used very successfully in place of peanut butter in candy or cookie recipes.  (Warning though! The chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds can react in some cookie recipes and the inside of the cookie gets a green tint.  It doesn’t affect anything and you can’t see it from the outside, but it’s shocking if you don’t know. Kids love it though!) In addition, they carry Earth Balance margarines for those with dairy allergies.  Coconut oil can also be used very successfully in baking recipes to eliminate dairy products.

Bloom Naturally also carries the Enjoy Life brand of products, which include chocolate chips that are guaranteed to be free of dairy and nuts. This is a big help when making a batch of chocolate chip cookies.   For those with wheat/gluten allergies or those with Celiac Disease, Hobson said, “We have a huge selection of gluten free foods, frozen foods, breads, baking mixes, and even things like gluten free pumpkin rolls for the holidays.  Also, make sure you know that genetically modified wheat can cause stronger gluten reactions, so organic and non-genetically modified products can help those even with gluten intolerance.”

In addition, here are some holiday food allergy tips.  If you are a parent of a child with food allergies:

  • Always bring some “back-up” treats or food, in case you can’t ensure the food is safe.
  • Go over the rules with your child (if age appropriate) before you get there.  Talk about how you will make sure the food is safe and what treats you have in case it isn’t.
  • With toddlers and preschoolers, vigilance is the only way you can ensure they won’t put something in their mouth that could be dangerous. This holds true for many things at this age and food allergies complicate it.
  • Politely inform your host or hostess that your child has food allergies.  Talk about what might be safe and what might not be safe.   If there are bowls of nuts on low tables, ask if he/she would mind if you move them up to be extra safe.
  • My experience is that you have to be “louder” about food allergies when your children are toddlers or preschoolers because they cannot articulate their own needs.  As children get older, they don’t enjoy being singled out in group setting, so I generally am a little more nuanced in how I talk with the host/hostess.
  • With an older child, walk around the party with him/her and point out the things he/she can have.
  • Always, always, always bring your child’s allergy medicine which can include multiple Epinephrine injectors and antihistamines.

If you are having a party or holiday gathering:

  • Label the food you serve.  If there are allergens in it (dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, nuts, shellfish), your guests would be very thankful if you would mention that on your label.  This is especially appreciated if someone with allergies is known to be on the guest list.
  • Separate treats with nuts from those that don’t have nuts.  Just putting things on separate platters can be helpful for those with allergies, because cross contamination can be a huge issue.  It takes only 1/100th of a peanut to cause a potentially life threatening reaction!
  • Don’t feel offended if someone asks you to put up a bowl of nuts or to go over ingredient lists.  Put yourself in their shoes. You wouldn’t want someone to put poison or a loaded gun in front of your child; for parents of children with food allergies this is no different.
  • Consider trying some substitute products in your tried and true recipes if someone with food allergies is coming to your event.  To have food allergies means getting excluded in many situations and I cannot explain the joy my daughter feels when someone thinks enough of her to make her a safe treat.
And finally, what would a holiday article be without a recipe for something delicious?  If you or someone you love has nut allergies and is missing your Pecan Pie, try out this allergy-friendly “Non-Pecan Pie” that is as delicious as it is safe for those you love with food allergies.  Your allergic guests (and their panicky mothers) will appreciate you making them feel both welcome and safe.

Brown Butter Non-Pecan Pie

Courtesy of Cuizoo.  If you have dairy allergies also, you can make a crust from a dairy free margarine and simply melt the margarine, rather than browning it in Step 4.  A gluten-free pie crust could also be used.  

Make one 9 inch pie

Butter Pie Crust of your Choice (I used this one)
2 cups of sunflower and pumpkin seeds (I liked the mix of both for better texture)
6 T butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup (light or dark both work)
3 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
3 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Roll out pie crust into a circle with approximately a 12 inch diameter.  Carefully transfer to a 9 inchpie dish (not deep dish).  Trim off excess if necessary, leaving about one inch of overhang.  Fold the overhang under and decoratively flute or crimp the edges.  Using a fork, prick the bottom of the crust and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to re-firm the butter.

3.  Place sunflower and pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet.  Toast in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes until golden, being careful not to let them burn.  Set aside to cool.

4.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and allow to brown slightly.  You want it to be golden brown and smell fragrant, but do not let it burn or you will have to start over.  Remove from heat immediately after it gets to that state and whisk in brown sugar until well incorporated.  Stir in corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt.

5.  In a large bowl, whisk the egg to break them up.  Slowly whisk in brown sugar/butter mixture (just a bit at at a time, so the eggs don’t curdle).  Mix well to make sure everything is incorporated.

6.  Remove chilled crust from refrigerator and pour toasted (and cooled) seeds into crust.  Pour pie mixture over top of the seeds.  Place pie pan on a baking sheet and bake the pie until the filling has set and it is a nice brown color, about 55 minutes.  Let cool completely before serving.  You can store this in the refrigerator for at least a day (mine’s been in there for two now and it is still great) — just bring to room temperature before serving.

Remember When: Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Christmas TreeUnless you were the ambitious sort that got your Christmas tree up after Thanksgiving, you might be working on that task this weekend.  We asked the editors of The Bloomsburg Daily to think back to putting up their trees and recall the good, the bad, and the ugly of the event.

Kristin Camplese doesn’t really remember where her family would get the tree, just the arguments (or “discussions” as parents call them) about getting the tree in the stand.  “Pre-drilled stands didn’t exist and it required parents holding the tree and screwing in the stand simultaneously, which inevitably ended up with a crooked tree and some not-so-magical holiday memories. It was all good in the end when the tree was decorated and my dad’s train was circling around it, but there were always some pretty sketchy moments leading up to that.”

Bob Rush said this: “My dad would always have a tree. Being in business he had friends that sold them. He would always put it up on empty egg cases and put the train around it. I alway liked the bubble lights. In the 60s my mom got a new aluminum tree! They were the thing then. They shined a lite on it with rotating colors. I was always more interested in what was under it!”

Not all trees were the kind you had to cut down. Cole Camplese recalls going to the attic in his Grandmother Camplese’s house in Wheeling, WV where they would pull out a fully decorated (lights and all) aluminum tree. “It was a spectacular silvery blue color, to this day I’ve never seen anything like it!”

What are your Christmas tree memories?  Real or fake tree? Where did you go to get it?  What adventures did you encounter?  Were you a colored or white lights family?  Which ornaments do you remember in particular?  Did you have tree drama (a victim of it tipping over, perhaps?), or did you have interesting or fun traditions?  Tell us all about it!

Q&A with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. What are the biggest challenges you face?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How You Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Friends or family members who are being abused:

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

Friends or family members who are abusers:

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

Your local domestic violence program:

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

Thanksgiving Recipe: Cuizoo’s Famous Balsamic Vinaigrette

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

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

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

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

And it takes all of one minute to make.

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

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

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

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

Photo credit, Chris Dlugosz.

Sexual Abuse Q&A with Bloomsburg University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s information on the University Web site regarding sexual assault/sexual harassment. ( Educational information is emailed and posted around campus detailing how to report allegations of sexual assault / sexual abuse. (

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Recipe: Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage

Serves 6

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

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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