The View from Here: Snowy Day

While many have enjoyed a more mild winter than we have been accustomed to in years past, it is hard to complain about the beauty it imparts when it does arrive. The Bloomsburg Daily’s own, Bob Rush, set out to capture a few glimpses of what winter is supposed to look like at this time of the year. We hope you enjoy the view as much as we do!

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.

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]

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.

The View from Here: Bloomsburg Memorial Award Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The View from Here: Backstage in Santaland

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

The Santaland Diaries performance schedule

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

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

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

The View from Here: North Pole Express

North Pole Express“I see it!”, “Look Mom, there’s the train!” Everywhere there are small voices echoing with excitement and wonder. A reminder that even in the most challenging times, magic is still here if you take the time to see it. The North Pole Express train ride offered just that opportunity for yound and old. A time to forget about the stress of every day and of the difficult task of rebuilding lives for those who lost so much in this year’s flood.

“All aboard!” The conductor announced and it was time to sit back and enjoy the trip down the rails. As the train traveled towards Catawissa, a sad reminder of the devastation this area experienced a few months ago was visable. Ponding water, debris in the trees, and more all still there. So much left to do, but for this hour it was a time to feel the magic of the season and watch the faces of wonder on all the assembled children when the “Big Guy” himself arrived.

The North Pole Express is truly a wonderful ride, a wonderful collection of people, and a time to enjoy family and new friends. Most importantly however, a time to remember to hear those bells ring. From all of us at The Bloomsburg Daily, we hope you always hear the silver bell ring.

A special thanks to Bob Rush for not only enjoying the ride, but for taking the pictures and writing the story.

The View from Here: The Bars of Bloomsburg

When I was in college I would come home for the Thanksgiving break and get to see all my high school friends. Most of them had gone off the school, but the Thanksgiving weekend was a chance to come home, spend time with family, and get together with the friends that matter the most. Typically I’d get in on Thursday morning and spend the whole day with my parents and sister as the house filled with the smell of Thanksgiving dinner. I think you know the drill all to well — eat until you can barely move and then fall asleep.

Friday was always a day filled with friends. We’d typically get up and try to find a gym to play some basketball in and then grab some lunch. When we all turned 21 the ritual changed and we would eat lunch and have a beer. Typically that place was the Paddock. Nothing quite like Paddock pizza and few pitchers to round out the Holiday. With that in mind, we though it would be fun to ask The Bloomsburg Daily’s photographer, Bob Rush, to see if he could capture some images of a few of our favorite watering holes. Who know, it might inspire you to call up some old friends and find a place to sit down and share a pitcher and old stories!