Opinion

Welcome to my world: Some of my “fear of driving” stories |Oct 20, 2017

Reprint: previously printed in “Highway News and Good News” 2012 and “Mature Years” 2017

a lOOK bACK IN hISTORY: Early American Scriveners in the New World |Oct 20, 2017

Among the popular early American fraktur artists who designed elaborate folk art baptisms were Frederich Krebs and Frederich Speyer, who traveled our beloved Dutch Country making colorful baptism documents for farm families who were illiterate.

REFLECTIONS: A look at the American spirit in wake of terrible events |Oct 13, 2017

America always responds nobly and quickly to terrible events, whether they be mass shootings, 9/11 or hurricanes.

A Look Back in History: Green energy long used by Old Order Mennonites in Kutztown |Oct 13, 2017

Perhaps historic Pennsylvania Dutch farmsteads are more appreciated by Kutztown Mennonites than their modem Worldly Dutch neighbors, who seek to tear them down in modernizing farms. It is without doubt that Dr.

Welcome to my world: Halloween, Now and Then |Oct 13, 2017

Today, the Halloween holiday has become commercialized, with its own celebrations of parades, trick or treating, revelry and more.

A Look Back in History: Take a step back, remember how strong religion and faith was to our ancestors |Oct 3, 2017

As we see our church numbers seemingly dwindle every year and only somewhat filling during the Christmas and Easter times, we should take a step back and remember how strong religion and faith was to our ancestors.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: NFL players have right to protest but flag is wrong symbol to protest |Sep 29, 2017

So once again Trump has started a firestorm to distract attention to the failure of his party, with complete control of the government, to pass a health care bill or anything else. Rather than talking about the tension regarding North Korea, America has been in a debate over NFL players protesting by taking a knee when the national anthem is played under the flag of the United States.

Welcome to my world: My Birthday Trivia |Sep 26, 2017

I love trivia. I had never researched anything in particular before about my birthdate, Oct. 1, 1940, but my curiosity got the best of me.

REFLECTIONS: Halloween shopping season is upon us |Sep 26, 2017

The retail cycle always is out in front of the regular calendar so the Halloween shopping season is upon us. Of course, once Halloween passes, it’s full bore into the Christmas shopping cycle that now lasts almost as long as presidential election campaigns.

A Look Back in History: Cultural exchange between the Quaker English and PA Dutch |Sep 26, 2017

Successful farmers with iron forges and iron furnace manufacturing hauled their farm and iron products to the nation’s capitol daily in participating with the Republic’s economy. Thus, these upstate Dutchmen were also very familiar with English Georgian architecture as they noticed the Quaker mansions of William Penn’s “Society of Friends” and Grand Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.

Letter to the Editor: National Defense Authorization Act, if passed, will greatly increase insurance costs for military retirees |Sep 22, 2017

The 2018 defense budget, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), if passed, will greatly increase health care insurance (Tricare) costs for military retirees. If this passes, all military personnel currently serving will become subject to these fee increases upon retirement, and those already retired will immediately become subject to the fee increases.

Welcome to my world: There are rewards to visiting shut-ins |Sep 22, 2017

I can tell you, the rewards of visiting shut-ins are soul-satisfying. You’ll have felt their hurt, their pain. They’ll be part of you. You’ll have treasured memories of the giving and sharing in the life of a family member, or the life of a total stranger.

A Look Back in History: Pennsylvania Dutch heritage finally recorded in school textbooks |Sep 22, 2017

American history has only recently recorded the achievements of the Pennsylvania Dutch people. Their descendants that are alive today still number in the hundreds of thousands and should be considered a minority in the United States, and such, publishers should not be fearful at offending a pressure group to honor interests.

SEN. BOB MENSCH: Pennsylvania’s financial state is getting worse |Sep 20, 2017

As I write this in mid-September, Pennsylvania is without a final budget. In the past decade, we’ve had on-time budgets in only four years. The question is why? For a very long time I’ve been arguing that our deficits, along with our budget stalemates, are predictable given the lack of growth in the Pennsylvania economy.

Welcome to my world: The rocking chair is an American tradition |Sep 15, 2017

I have been attached to rocking chairs throughout my life. My grandmother Laura’s chair sat next to our kitchen stove when I was a teenager. I loved sitting on this rocking chair during winter months with legs hung over the side of the chair reading a book.

A Look Back in history: Folk Art found throughout Kutztown and its 1783 Hottenstein Mansion |Sep 15, 2017

Historically, one must recall that at the time of the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and thereafter, American agriculture was prospering and farmers became flamboyant in their building habits. The practice of industrious farmers putting architectural hex signs on their barns might very well be a sign and legacy left behind from the Republic’s antebellum days of agrarian wealth.

REFLECTIONS: Allure of burgers makes Hamburg a major destination each year |Sep 7, 2017

Is there any other more aptly named festival in the world than the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival held annually the Saturday before Labor Day in Hamburg? To be frank, if Hamburg held a hot dog festival instead, people would have an obvious beef with that.

Letter to the Editor: Concerns regarding DEP permitting process for expansion at Kutztown Quarry |Sep 7, 2017

I am once again writing to you with information and concerns regarding the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permitting process for the expansion at the Kutztown Quarry.

A Look Back In History: Pa Dutch is universal term our people refer to themselves |Sep 7, 2017

The Americanism, “Pennsylvania Dutch,” was a frontier collectivism begun by Philadelphia’s English Colonists in the 17th and 18th Centuries who coined the term in referring to “all immigrant Rhinelanders” that arrived to Pennsylvania at William Penn’s earlier Quaker preaching in 1677.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Twin Valley Fire Department is like a three-legged stool; equipment, financing and manpower |Sep 6, 2017

I recently met with Fire Chief Pete Hornberger, Bob Clements (Committee Chair, Friends of TVFD and Fund Raising) and Trustee and Past President Bob Gebhardt of the Twin Valley Fire Department to learn about the operation of the fire department.

GUEST COLUMN: Too much testing, not enough results for Pa. students |Sep 1, 2017

I know that when one challenges the policy of an administration, especially of one’s own party, you risk entering the danger zone.

THE HISTORIAN: Pigs and pig pens were everywhere |Aug 31, 2017

Pork in its many forms — fresh, salted, smoked and processed into sausages and scrapple — supplied the needs of the first New Hanover families. Any surplus could be bartered at the village store such as Brendlinger’s Store in Swamp.

Welcome To My World: Many legends talk about origins of the pretzel coming to America |Aug 29, 2017

Pennsylvania is the center of pretzel production in the U.S., making 80 percent of the nation’s supply. Both Reading and Philadelphia vie for the title, “Pretzel Capital of the World.

A Look Back in History: Farming on the eve of the American Revolution |Aug 29, 2017

In 1766, Benjamin Franklin remarked that the unfavorable balance of trade with England was only tolerable by our immense exports to the Colonies and the rest of the world. By 1767, wheat grain, flour, and “bread itself” were significant contributions by Berks County inland communities to the export trade of Philadelphia.

REFLECTIONS: Berks may not be paradise, but it’s awfully nice |Aug 24, 2017

Once again summer has zipped by us with ludicrous speed. If only January and February moved that quickly. Now that summer is almost over, it’s time for a bit of reflection. As we step back from the vortex of daily existence for a moment, we should pause to appreciate why we are blessed to live in Berks County.

A Look Back in History: Persevering toward a New World Democracy in 1776 |Aug 23, 2017

Among the huge number of Colonial Rhineland immigrants who arrived in the port city of Philadelphia, many of them had their ocean passage paid for by becoming indentured servants to Pennsylvanians and English Quakers in New Jersey.

Person to Person - Impact: My archives of yesteryear to today |Aug 22, 2017

I must admit I am pleased that I have some of the characteristics of my dear mother, who went to be with the Lord in 2000, just shy of her 92nd birthday. Among other admirable qualities: she could play a few songs on the piano, recite poems she wrote in grammar school, carve a tugboat out of balsa wood for me when I was in Cub Scouts and draw a crane in a lake to be used in art class to make a rubber stamp.

THE HISTORIAN: Pigs played a large role in Pennsylvania German life |Aug 18, 2017

A note in the publication American Farmer, 1819, reports that an exhibition at a fair showed a “pig with a wooden leg on the off side [left front] before which appears to walk with little lameness or inconvenience.

REFLECTIONS: Concussions make giving up football a no-brainer |Aug 16, 2017

This fall there are kids all over Berks County playing youth and high school football. Their parents should ask themselves, “Should they be?”

Sound Off with Carol: Community talks about medical marijuana Part 2 |Aug 16, 2017

In the Aug. 1 Tri County Record, we printed “On the Record with Carol: Medical Marijuana, What’s the Real Buzz http://www.berksmontnews.com/general-news/20170727/on-the-record-with-carol-medical-marijuana-whats-the-real-buzz

Welcome To My World: Happiness is washing the car, together |Aug 16, 2017

I don’t mind sitting at my desk and writing stories until late into the evening. I can sit quietly and read for hours as well. But outside chores, such as raking leaves, pulling weeds, or washing the car, I simply dislike.

A Look Back in History: Hidden Architectural Treasures found at Pricetown |Aug 16, 2017

Conrad Price, the person for which the small community of Pricetown bears its name, was among the original 12 Brethren pioneer families who settled here about 1754 and were an outgrowth of the Brethren Plain sect who settled in the Oley Valley.

A Look Back in History: Freedom of religion granted to our Pennsylvania Dutch people |Aug 8, 2017

Our ancestors were working true-Grit individuals who turned the PA Dutch Country into an agrarian cradle of Liberty following in the ideas of Adam Smith, our founder of the “Free market private enterprise system.

Welcome To My World: The treasures we keep help us remember good times |Aug 8, 2017

All of us — both men and women — have treasures we keep. They can be called keepsakes, mementos, heirlooms, memorabilia, tokens of remembrance, even souvenirs — most any object of a remembrance one acquires for the memories associated with it.

Book Beat: ‘Salvation of an American Incon’ made me think of the blessings in my life |Aug 3, 2017

Author Greg Laurie was asked to start a Bible study at the age of 19, two years after he became a Christian. The Bible study evolved into Harvest Christian Fellowship, where Laurie serves as Senior Pastor to more than 12,000 people.

Welcome To My World: Searching for the origin of Uncle Sam |Aug 2, 2017

I received the idea for this article when I was browsing books on epitaphs from tombstones. I came upon a monument in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York that read, “In loving memory Of “Uncle Sam” The name Originating with Samuel Wilson 1766-1854 during the War of 1812 and since adopted by the United States.

A Look Back in History: The Extraordinary Folk Art Born Out of Our Deep Religious Roots |Aug 2, 2017

The heart and soul of our PA Dutch Country here in southeastern Pennsylvania cannot be explained without first delving into its ethnic diversity, especially through the Pennsylvania Dutch of our region and their American folk art which is world renown.

Reflections: Berks historical sites are an educational tour de force |Aug 2, 2017

Parents sometimes scramble about like field mice finding ways to entertain their children in the waning days of summer that don’t involve phones, tablets, apps, televisions, social media, ballparks, festivals, fairs, amusement parks, camping, beaches and pools.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Why Trumpcare failed |Jul 28, 2017

Political rhetoric matters! Political narratives matters! Both create limits on what can be done when focus shifts from rhetoric and narratives to policymaking.

A Look Back in History: The Once Breakfast of Choice for Some PA Dutch farm families |Jul 27, 2017

The oldest historical reference to funnel cake among the Pennsylvania Dutch was in a research paper presented to the Pennsylvania German Society by Henry Kinzer Landis of the Landis Valley Farm Museum, Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1935.

WELCOME TO MY WORLD: Autograph books, then and now |Jul 20, 2017

If you were a teenager in the ’50s, you probably had an autograph book. It was a 4-by-6-inch leather booklet, the cover reading “Autographs” printed in gold, with blank pages inside.

Welcome to my world: Traveling with Harry |Jul 20, 2017

My husband, Harry, and I have been traveling for 34 years. It’s one of our favorite activities. We’ve visited all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and all 48 states on the continent. I did travel to Hawaii with my sisters, but I don’t count that as Harry was not along.

As I See It: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of free speech |Jul 20, 2017

The role of prayer in our schools is a hot button.

A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY: Cider presses in our Dutch Country |Jul 20, 2017

There were two basic types of cider presses in this apple pressing industry. The first was the two-screw press, which is built much like an old-fashioned book press. In this method, a wooden beam (about 12 feet long), threaded at both ends, is lowered vertically by two 8-foot-high wooden screws.

REFLECTIONS: We aren’t shaken by killer quakes in Berks, but are we rattled by cellphones? |Jul 20, 2017

If we all lived forever, do you realize how difficult it would be to get a decent tee time or dinner reservations at a reasonable hour?

A Look Back in History: Farm women turned out plenty of fresh bread and pies in outdoor bake ovens |Jul 12, 2017

The quaint bake oven as it is found in the Pennsylvania Dutch region was an outstanding invention for its time, far superior to any found elsewhere in America. As European families transferred their white man’s culture to the virgin forests of Pennsylvania introducing their frontier farmsteads to the area, there was no other invention, expect perhaps the large frontier fireplaces, that intrigued the native Indians more than these outdoor bake-ovens.

Welcome to my world: Listening to the silence |Jul 12, 2017

I happened to come across a title for this story through a leaflet that came in the mail. In my case, I’ve learned to listen to inward silence through the practice of meditation. Yet, looking back on my life, I realized silence also spoke to me, in a seemingly different way, especially in nature.

REFLECTIONS: Don’t let a tick get you sick with Lyme disease |Jul 6, 2017

When I was a kid, I loved to play in the woods. My buddies and I were all over Mount Penn, playing war games, building tree forts, hiking, scaling rocks, hiding out from our parents.

A Look Back in History: President John Adams’ favorable opinion of the PA Dutch People |Jul 6, 2017

When Patriot John Adams stopped over at Kutztown, Pa., he remarked in his diary he was pleasantly impressed with the cooking and lodging among these local Pennsylvania Dutch at Kemp’s Tavern on his return trip to Massachusetts.

Welcome to my World: Piggy Banks and the delight they bring |Jul 6, 2017

There are times I get exasperated because I discipline myself to sit and write every week night, but all last week I didn’t get one idea for an article. At least not until I visited, my 1½-year-old great-granddaughter, Eva, on Saturday.