Grandson of Mohandas Gandhi to Speak at BU

Activist, diversity speaker and spiritual leader Arun Gandhi will speak in Carver Hall of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. Grandson of the legendary peace fighter and spiritual leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Arun Gandhi will discuss his grandfather’s legacy and their kinship.

Born in 1869, Mohandas K. Gandhi was considered the father of his country, India. As the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule, Mohandas Gandhi protested against violence in hopes of achieving a political and social balance. His assassination in 1948 led to the country’s mourning.

Arun Gandhi, founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, renders a message of integrity, social harmony and peace. He follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, sharing these lessons around the world. His first book, “A Patch of White,” published in 1949, explains the prejudice filling South Africa. He wrote two more books on poverty and politics in India.

Arun Gandhi is inspired by his grandfather’s words, “If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world.” At BU, he will speak on “Lessons Learned from my Grandfather: Non-Violence in a Violent World.”

For more information on this event, which is open to the public free of charge, contact Madelyn Rodriguez, director of Multicultural Center, at

Bloomsburg High School Drama Prepares “Beauty” for Caldwell

As 2012 begins, the Bloomsburg High School Drama department is once again beginning preparations for its Spring Musical.

As 2012 begins, the Bloomsburg High School Drama department is once again beginning preparations for its Spring Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The March production however, in addition to maintaining the high standards for which the students are well-known,faces additional challenges this year. The September 2011 flooding caused extensive damage to the high school’s auditorium. All 705 seats were lost along with all the flooring. The school district is in the process of cleaning and repairing the auditorium, but unfortunately due to the time needed for set construction and rehearsal, repairs to the facility will not be completed early enough for the drama department to present their production in their traditional home.

All the world might be a stage, but Bloomsburg High School Drama needed a place to perform. After much discussion and planning Assistant Director Kate Levan reported that the students have found a welcoming, if temporary home. “This year the Bloomsburg High School Drama Department will host our spring musical at the Caldwell Consistory,” said Mrs. Levan. “For those of you that just know it was the large building near our beautiful fountain, let me enlighten you. The Caldwell is a massive square footage piece of Bloomsburg history that encompasses a 600 seat auditorium complete with stage and lights.”

“With the total support and enthusiasm from the men of the Caldwell as well as the Superintendent of Bloomsburg School District, we are in full planning for our March presentation of Beauty and the Beast. This timeless tale of love will come to life in the setting of Caldwell, which I think is a perfect venue.”

Caldwell Consistory Theater
Caldwell Consistory Theater

Unfortunately this change of location does come at additional cost to the drama department, specifically the rental of Caldwell’s facilities. “We are looking for support from our community as well. We are forever grateful for what our community has given to us in the past and are hoping for that same showing of help for this year’s production,” said Mrs. Levan. “Mainly we would love to cover our rental cost for Caldwell, which is very reasonable for the amount of time we will be calling their space our home.”

“As we strive for our usual standard of top quality musical productions, our student cast of 75 is excited and ready to perform for their town and outlining areas. Many of our own students have endured their own loss in some way with the flood, but they are ready to come together as a cast and classmates to entertain our community.”

The production is planned for Thursday through Friday, March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, with a “Beast Feast” dinner in character planned before the Friday evening show and Saturday matinee.

The production of Beauty and the Beast will be directed by Tim Latsha.

Ticket Prices are being determined and will be released soon. Look for news and updates here in The Bloomsburg Daily as preparations move forward.

[box type=”shadow”]If you would like further information on how to make a donation, or how you can help please contact Assistant Director Kate Levan at 570-784-1151, or by email at[/box]

The View from Here: BMS Geography Bee

The Bloomsburg Daily’s, Bob Rush was on hand to see Matthew Lee take home the championship of the Bloomsburg Middle School’s Geography Bee. He is the only the second sixth grader to win the prize according to sources. Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge. From Bloomsburg Middle School teacher, Jen Flook:

I am so impressed with the participants this year. They did an excellent job. For only the second time, in the 25 plus years our school has participated in the National Geographic Bee, we have a 6th grade School Champion, Matt Lee! It is amazing that a student who has yet to take 7th grade World Geography won the competition. I am so proud of him!

The View from Here: Tail Waggin’ Tutors

Last week, while The Bloomsburg Daily editorial staff was on winter break, Bob Rush set out to capture images of the Tail Waggin’ Tutors in action. The Tail Waggin’ Tutors program is offered through Therapy Dogs International (TDI). In this program, certified therapy dogs and their trainers were brought to Lisa Keller’s 6th grade at Bloomsburg Middle School so her students can read to them. It proved to be an excellent way to encourage students to read and to show them that reading can be fun. The dogs are non-judgmental so the kids can feel comfortable to build a relationship with the trainers who serve as tutors, snuggle up with the dogs, and practice reading all at the same time.

One of the students actually told Ms. Keller about the program based on her participation in it at the Catawissa Lutheran Church. To have them come to her class, all she had to do was email TDI, and the volunteers came out of the woodwork!

She is now offering the program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the rest of the school year. The tutors are available at different times each week, and some can only come in once or twice a month. All of Ms. Keller’s Title I students in 6-8 grades are participating in the program, as well as the entire 6th grade class. All students need to do is get a permission slip signed by their parents to participate in the program.

The View from Here: Arcus Brothers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Help BTE Meet Fundraising Goals

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

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

The View from Here: Lee Homecoming

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

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

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

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

Remember When: School Lunches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Concerts at Bloomsburg’s Memorial Elementary School

The curtain opens and eyes search for family faces.

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

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

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

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

Pine Barn Inn Hosts Holiday Charity Buffet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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