Opinion

A Look Back in History: Salvage art creations and industrious Pennsylvania Dutch |Mar 27, 2017

Among the most logical waste items on a dairy or cattle farm were the many strands of bailer twine that were left over after opening up bales for bedding or feeding hay to livestock. Usually hung on a nail in the barn feedway, said cut bale twine could not be used again by the bailing machine.

PASSHE Op-Ed: State System strategic review key to Kutztown University’s future |Mar 24, 2017

As a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is part of the strategic review being undertaken by the State System—a top-to-bottom examination of the operations of all 14 System universities and the Office of the Chancellor.

Person to person — impact: Goulash |Mar 23, 2017

I chaired a committee that met monthly for a couple of years and therefore it was my responsibility to create the agenda. Instead of including a category at the end of the agenda such as “Miscellaneous,” I tried to personalize the agenda by using different words.

A Look Back In History: The rare feature of a ‘Schpriggel bar,’ still seen in a Maxatawny Township barn |Mar 23, 2017

Both Schweitzer and standard barns in the region are frequently found with a practical large earthen bank at its rear, which allowed wagons carrying sheaves of grain or loads of hay to bridge the threshing floor.

REFLECTIONS: The price of a too early spring |Mar 23, 2017

Unless you’re an avid skier or for some strange reason love to have the wicked, winter winds carve you up with an icy scythe, we can’t wait to embrace spring.

The Historian: ‘Hit and miss’ engines were a hit with farmers |Mar 10, 2017

Editor’s Note: This column is part one of an extended piece.

a look back in history: Wm. Penn’s Quakers influence on our Pennsylvania Dutch history in a nutshell |Mar 8, 2017

Our PA Dutch people who had immigrated to the American frontier were on the cutting edge of discovering New World goods and opportunities to create new Americana ways of life; not just simply copying their Old World ways, but creating exciting hybrid ones like our barns, hex signs, and rural folk art.

REFLECTIONS: Lent is doing hard time |Mar 8, 2017

We’re now in the Lenten season and loving every minute of it, right?

a look back in history: Rare Fegley and Moyer photos show life in Oley Valley’s 19th century |Feb 28, 2017

When photography was invented in the 19th century, few photographers took the time to photograph actual Folklife of people living in the Oley Valley except H. Winslow Fegley and Amandus Moyer, who lived near Lobachsville.

CHRIS FREIND: We need common sense in immigration debate |Feb 24, 2017

The immigration debate was back in the headlines. Par for the course, both parties’ spewed lip-service on the need for reform, while simultaneously killing any meaningful legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform hasn’t gone anywhere in decades, making it clear that neither party’s ruling class wanted it.

EDITORIAL: A tribute and thank you to Albert Boscov |Feb 24, 2017

We admire. We respect. We love. We thank you.

NATHAN BENEFIELD: Reinventing Pennsylvania government |Feb 24, 2017

Imagine if Stephen King had written “Green Eggs and Ham.” What if Dr. Seuss had penned “The Shining?”

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Trump’s Order and the Ninth Got it Wrong |Feb 21, 2017

Columnist On February 9th the political drama of President Trump’s executive order took an old turn when his opponents translated a political fight into a constitutional question and thus dragged the courts into the ring of battle.

Look back in history: King George III of England was actually a German! |Feb 21, 2017

A few years back when the PA German Society and the offices of the American Folklife Institute hosted a modern Germanic television film crew to televise our current PA Dutch territory for an European Broadcasting Company, we were glad to meet local PA Dutchmen, some of which were Palantine Germans, who came from New Jersey and were celebrating their 300th anniversary of arriving in America.

Reflections: Albert Boscov had a heart of gold and the golden touch of King Midas |Feb 21, 2017

The injection of energy and the infusion of personality that personified Albert Boscov were as remarkable as his marvelous accomplishments that will remain vivid in the folds of time.

Letter to the editor: Guatemala, Jan 7-14 |Feb 20, 2017

I have said for years that it is a shame that everyone could not have been exposed to the farming community. I think that adds something special to our character. Similarly, others have suggested that serving in our military would add to their character.

The Historian: Clothing the family |Feb 17, 2017

During the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, clothing the family as well as providing fabric for such things as bed sheets, ticking, pillow cases, hand towels and table cloths was, as we would say, “labor intensive,” and no small undertaking to the already burdened farm wife.

Reflections: Bread may be good for the soul but not the body -- depending on the ingredients |Feb 15, 2017

When Jesus Christ taught us the Our Father, one of the signature lines in the prayer was: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

A LOOK BACK AT HISTORY : Hex signs theory dispelled in a pinch (since 1950s) |Feb 15, 2017

Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, celebrated authority on Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, noted these (hex signs) folk art symbols were found locally on Christian made fraktur birth and baptismal certificates (Taufscheins).

Welcome to my world: Sally, the Pianist |Feb 15, 2017

Just recently, Sally Anderson, joined our breakfast group. Sally told us, “I lived in California for 28 years and moved back to Pennsylvania in 2015, because I wanted to be closer to my daughter and five grandchildren.

A look back at history: An amazing creativity in folk art developed in the New World |Feb 7, 2017

Here in the New World in a land of plenty, pioneer immigrants had the resources to develop an American style of folk art never dreamed about in the Old Country, hence the creativity of these Rhinelanders blossomed into an amazing folk art form that was nurtured by freedom of religion and free private enterprise, thus becoming American Folk Art! Although the Plain Dutch, such as the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, seldom engaged in bold colorful folk art as seen by the Church PA Dutch, both groups were known for their religious folk art writings, known as Fraktur, in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Klees’ Award Winning Book is The Bible on the Pennsylvania Dutch |Jan 27, 2017

In 1950, Fredric Klees had published his award winning book, The Pennsylvania Dutch , which covered the entire Dutch Country with architectural sketches to illustrate his chapters, similar to Alliene DeChant’s style (covered previously), which no doubt influenced her.

Letter to the Editor: School Property Tax Elimination Bill raises concerns |Jan 27, 2017

Senate Bill 76 – The School Property Tax Elimination Bill, may be introduced as soon as this week. State Senator David Argall, the sponsor of the legislation, has stated that his goal is to have the law passed and implemented as early as July 1.

Carole Christman Koch: President’s Inauguration firsts, traditions, and more: Part 2 |Jan 22, 2017

Part 2 Franklin Pierce, in 1853, accepted his presidency, but was still in mourning. Just a few months prior to the ceremony, the Pierces lost their 3rd and last child in a railroad accident, that both witnessed.

Reflections: Waiting for a cancer cure is like waiting for Godot |Jan 22, 2017

We have been waiting for a cure for cancer for what seems an eternity.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Tension |Jan 20, 2017

Sometimes, the simplest things in life create tension in you. A few days after Christmas I took our car to be serviced at a dealership. On the way, I passed close to the store that sells my favorite donuts.

Reflections: January settles over us like a shroud and smothers us |Jan 11, 2017

January, at least to me, is the worst month of the year. Indeed, it’s the ultimate meh month.

Pen Pals meet under unusual circumstances |Jan 11, 2017

I got to know 96-year-old Mary Jane (Peters) Anderson when I lived in Fleetwood, in the early 1970s. We both attended St. Paul’s UCC Church. It was Mary Jane who took me “under her wing” by getting me involved in church activities.

At the Movies with Rodeo’: Kid reviewer gives ‘Fantastic Beasts’ 4 popcorn boxes |Jan 6, 2017

A companion piece to the “Harry Potter” film franchise. Writer Newt Scamander lands in early 1900’s New York, with a suitcase full of creatures in all sizes and shapes endowed with other-worldly powers.

New Years greeting from Boyertown’s Mayor Deery |Jan 2, 2017

2016 was an exciting and nostalgic year! Boyertown celebrated its 150th birthday with fun and memorable events throughout the year. No snow for the holidays but I am sure 2017 will take care of that!

Think About It: Farewell, Dear Friends, Farewell |Dec 31, 2016

“Goodbyes are not forever; goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you, until we meet again.” — Anonymous

A Look Back: How PA Dutch Are You: Did you eat your good luck pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? |Dec 31, 2016

This folk practice still creates a yearning, especially among our older folk people and those still appreciative of our heritage and a good, hot Pennsylvania Dutch meal. Many Dutch families over the generations and years never forget this dish on New Year’s Day and eagerly partake in the consumption of pork and sauerkraut.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Dear Diary - 2016 |Dec 31, 2016

It would have been great if someone had engrained in me as a child to keep a diary during my life. No, I wouldn’t have to be a huge success to make it interesting. If nothing else, it might have been something I could leave to my kids in case at a certain point in time they wondered about my thoughts, where I lived, what was involved in my work, my interests, my successes and my failures.

Through My Kitchen Window: Baking with children, challenging but fun |Dec 29, 2016

When I think about this column entitled Through My Kitchen Window, I envision people looking through my kitchen window while I bake. I wonder what they would see.

Welcome to my world : The Hands of my Family |Dec 28, 2016

Farm Woman Written by Mary Alice Kohler Christman

Think about it: Becoming a full-time member of AARP |Dec 28, 2016

“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.” — Ann Landers

Reflections: Good looks are kind to the mirror and the bottom line |Dec 28, 2016

We’ve all heard again and again that you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover.

person to person — impact: Better Than MREs* |Dec 26, 2016

Over ten years ago, Barb and I, along with several others from our church, started a program we called Operation Encouragement. The objective of the program was to pray for, communicate with and send care packages to the men and women serving in our Armed Services.

A look back at history : New Year, New Ideas, New Horizons in the PA Dutch Culture |Dec 26, 2016

Plain groups as the Old Order Mennonites and Amish continue to prosper in our area and expand, protecting our rich and vast farmland. Nearby Plain Brethren, once called “Dunkards,” the sect that founded Pricetown in the Oley Hills, still maintain their 18th Century Brethren Meeting House off the modern Pricetown Road.

Think about it: Moving from One Season to Another |Dec 19, 2016

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different.” — C.S. Lewis

Look Back at History: Old tin-stamped cookies at Christmastime a Pennsylvania Dutch Tradition & treat |Dec 19, 2016

Hormon Foose, a creative tinsmith from Fleetwood, was one of those craftsmen that demonstrated his artistic abilities at the Kutztown Folk Festival and made tin cut-out cookie cutters which were collected by many families.

person to person — impact: There’s no business like snow business! |Dec 19, 2016

No, there is no mistake in the title of this column. I slightly modified the 1954 movie musical “There’s No Business Like Show Business”. During this Christmas season when many (especially the kids) have the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” on their minds, I thought I would take this column to prepare for Christmas and in doing so also talk about Christmas, snow, and the above Irving Berlin musical, staring: Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Donald O’Connor and others.

A Look Back in History: American history records the Pennsylvania Dutch |Dec 16, 2016

Historians trace this Rhineland immigration to as early as 1683, when the first waves of Rhenish immigrants speaking the Germanic Dialect arrived in Pennsylvania. One Historian, R. Webster records: “Although the immigrants that made up the 1683 Germantown settlement in the city of Philadelphia were German-speaking Dutch, German, and Swiss immigrants, most of them were Dutch.

The Historian: The story of ‘black head’ bricks |Dec 14, 2016

If you examine local brickwork of the 18th and 19th centuries you will see a small number of bricks that have black ends, apparently glazed. This black glazing is not intentional. The “black-heads” were those bricks directly exposed to the kiln fires.

Mike Zielinski— The magic of Christmas season |Dec 7, 2016

I don’t know whether anyone can quantify it or thoroughly explain it even after delving into the depths of theology and sociology, but the Christmas season has a magical quality — spiritual and secular — like no other time of the year.

A Look Back in History — To Allemangel and Westward: Travels by a PA Dutch Conestoga Wagon … |Dec 7, 2016

By the mid-1700’s, when immigrant Colonial wagon trains passed through the beautiful Oley Valley and East Penn region from Philadelphia en route to frontier lands northeast of Kempton (upper part of county), the Germans called this new territory “Allemangel,” meaning all wants, for its lack of fertility and farmable land.

Letter to the Editor: DEP report does not address many Kutztown Quarry issues |Dec 5, 2016

Dear Editor: I am very disappointed with the response I received from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the proposed permit revision requested by New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co.

person to person — impact: Common, yes, but a treasure still |Nov 30, 2016

It’s amazing how by happenstance you can be taught a lesson! Barb was walking on the sidewalk from our driveway to our front porch. She thought she saw a leaf on the sidewalk and was about to crunch it as she walked, when she focused more closely on the object.

A Look Back in History: From Native Clay to Beautiful Roof tile Adorning our Most Primitive Homes |Nov 30, 2016

In the Colonial years, when handmade brick was scarce, the availability of native clay also afforded Valley pioneers to build attractive brick chimneys with courses of brick corbelling. The result: the entire Oley Township being honored as a National Historic District by the United States Department of the Interior, for its heritage.

Think about it: The Literary Craftsmanship of Rudyard Kipling |Nov 30, 2016

“After you have read Kipling fifty or seventy-five best stories you realize that few men have written this many stories of this much merit, and that very few have written more or better stories.