Welcome to my World: Pennsylvania honors Stephen Foster |Aug 28, 2015

On the campus of the University of Pittsburgh is the only museum, concert hall and library dedicated to an American composer, Stephen Foster. His hometown memorialized him, even though he didn’t write our state song, but Florida and Kentucky adopted his tunes as their state songs.

The Historian: Early Cattle and ‘Watered Meadows’ |Aug 27, 2015

In 1683, William Penn reported to friends in England, “Here is plenty of cow cattle.” Cattle, together with all other farm livestock, were brought to the Delaware Valley from Europe by the Swedes, Finns and Dutch in the 17th century.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: MJ Dougherty, Saved by God’s Grace (Part I) |Aug 27, 2015

A neighbor came to visit us in recent weeks and said that I might be interested in writing a story about a new neighbor who experienced Sept. 11, 2001 firsthand. Barb and I invited MJ Dougherty to have dinner at our house one evening and invited her to dessert several days later.

Welcome to my World: Uncovering the Christman Farmstead History |Aug 21, 2015

At home on the Christman farm, as a kid, I often daydreamed about who lived there before us. Did anyone famous, like George Washington, sleep in the bedroom I now occupied? Were there Indian raids? Barn dances? Quilting parties?

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Differences in Dentists are Distinct |Aug 19, 2015

During one’s life, one will be treated by a number of dentists, all of whom are different in one way or another. Some of them, I remember, were rather normal and others not quite! When I was in junior high school, I could walk to my dentist because his office was a block away.

The Historian: As Dutch as Sauerkraut, Part II |Aug 18, 2015

Last week’s “Historian” noted that cabbage, often eaten in the form of sauerkraut, was undoubtedly the primary vegetable crop cultivated by the early Germanic immigrants of this area.

A Look Back in History: Remembering Dr. Don Yoder, co-founder of the PA Dutch Folk Festival |Aug 14, 2015

One of the three folklorists who founded the PA Dutch Folk Festival at Kutztown in 1950 with the renowned Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, Dr. Don Yoder emeritus professor of the University of Pennsylvania, has written and published significant books and articles on the Americana ethnic peoples who founded this portion of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Lemon Pound Cake |Aug 14, 2015

I wouldn’t take offense if you didn’t want to bake this recipe. In fact, I don’t want to bake it lately on account of the ridiculous price of eggs. Each year, I read about a scare of some baking commodity, with chocolate and pecans being the most recent items that were deemed scarce to justify the price increases.

Welcome to my World: The Customs I Grew Up With |Aug 14, 2015

I grew up with some customs that I didn’t know much about, so I decided to do some research.

A Look Back in History: Sacred Oak Tree of Oley Valley in poor condition |Aug 12, 2015

On Monday, July 20 at the regular board meeting of the Oley Valley Heritage Association, President Kelly Spatz remarked that the historic Sacred Oak Tree that was beloved and worshipped by the Native Americans of the Oley Valley (on the property of Mr.

Ask Esther: When to buy and sell to get the most for your home |Aug 12, 2015

DEAR ESTHER >> We have been working all summer to prepare our home to sell and plan to list it sometime in the fall. However, my sister told me we should wait until the spring because that’s the time most people buy.

The Historian: So Dutch as Sauerkraut |Aug 10, 2015

Perhaps it was the humble cabbage, as much as anything else, that made survival possible in the early local farms and settlements. Cabbage in the form of sauerkraut was one of the few vegetables that could be preserved for winter.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: A race for Izzy, a boy beating the odds |Aug 10, 2015

I am lucky enough to have a wife to bounce my thoughts off of. Many times I get what I think are “brilliant” ideas, and when I check with Barb, she sort of throws a wet blanket over the project.

The Historian: Thatched roofs and rye straw |Aug 7, 2015

The Germanic immigrants to this area brought with them the custom of rye straw roof thatching. Rye is a cereal grain similar to wheat, but with a habit of growth yielding stalks almost twice as high as wheat.

A Look Back in History: Kutztown University, a college town whose professors master the uniqueness of Americana and PA Dutch culture |Aug 6, 2015

Having graduated Kutztown State in 1960, I did not fully understand how lucky I was meeting professors who taught me the uniqueness of the Americana culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch people. Their true-grit livelihood stood for our Americana civilization, in art, education and American agriculture, as well as religion.

Through My Kitchen Window: Egg free chocolate cupcakes, take two |Aug 6, 2015

I wanted to retry an egg free chocolate cupcake recipe but this time include the vinegar. As I have been learning from my research online and from talking to other bakers, eggs can serve three purposes, for rising, for moisture or for binding.

Welcome to my World: The Older I Get |Aug 6, 2015

The older I get, 74 now, I’ve come to the conclusion there’s both good and not so good in all of this new technology we are bombarded with.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: “Road Calm” - When apology is in order |Aug 5, 2015

The year was 1971. I was honorably discharged from the Army, and my wife and I visited the fiance of a friend that was still serving in Vietnam. Several months later, Barb and I were invited to their wedding.

The Historian: The Window Pane Tax of 1798 |Aug 3, 2015

The Federal Direct Tax of 1798, popularly called “the window pane tax,” precipitated an event called Fries (pronounced “freeze”) Rebellion, which has been described as “a sort of comic opera that provided excitement here in Montgomery County for some months in 1798 and 1799.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Dogs will be Dogs |Jul 29, 2015

The year was 1960, and I looked upon Miss McKee’s ninth grade English class as a big waste of time. Even though I sat near the front of the classroom, I just couldn’t write the spelling down letter for letter that she was writing on the blackboard.

Welcome to my World: I learned to love dancing |Jul 29, 2015

I love to dance! When I was about 13 years old, my sister, Mary Alice, worked and bought lots of clothes. Whenever she left for work, and we didn’t have school, I’d sneak into her bedroom and try on her clothes.

Through my eyes: Rethinking old images - The nerd in each of us |Jul 29, 2015

After having my first column printed, I naturally showed it to some of my friends and relatives. The overall response has been positive, but we seem to have a difference of opinion on one key aspect.

A Look Back in History: “The Quality Girls” keep Q-Shoppe customers coming back” |Jul 29, 2015

Have you ever known someone for quite awhile, say 20 years in my case, exchanged pleasantries most of the time, but never really knew much about ‘em when one stopped to reflect upon it. Not until recently, at a chance meeting with a mutual friend (famed Farmer Younker) at a different locale, did I have a lengthy conversation with one, realizing we had basically grown up together as very young adults but with two different employers.

Through my eyes: Legal blindness and an unlikely hobby |Jul 28, 2015

As a new addition to Berks-Mont News, I figured I would use these early columns to give the readers a chance to learn more about me. I stated in a previous column that I struggle with being legally blind.

A Look Back in History: Architectural fashion in randomly laid fieldstone |Jul 27, 2015

America’s early hinterland houses built of native stone are more than well constructed abodes. They reveal the desire of the frontier inhabitants to be part of the architectural fashion of the day.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Pineapple Peach Pops |Jul 23, 2015

We all have things we hate. For two of my children, the squeaking of Styrofoam sends them into a tizzy and, coincidentally, both my husband and I detest those wooden spoons that accompany Italian ices.

The Historian: A most interesting diary, conclusion (Part III) |Jul 21, 2015

For the last two weeks this column dealt with the 1839-1845 diary of Norristown resident Mary Markley Boyer (1802-1858). Found by historian Nancy Roan some years ago, the diary pages are interleaved into The Lady’s Annual Register, a publication which included monthly almanac pages.

The Historian: A Most Interesting Diary, continued (Part II) |Jul 21, 2015

Last week’s column dealt with the 1839-1845 diary of Norristown resident Mary Markley Boyer (1802-1858). Found by historian Nancy Roan some years ago, the diary pages are interleaved into The Lady’s Annual Register, a publication which included monthly almanac pages.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: For the love of coffee and not baking… |Jul 21, 2015

I had the most surreal food experience yesterday. I opted to go inside my local Starbuck’s to peruse the coffee menu. I usually use the drive through although oftentimes I simply drive by rather than wait behind a line of six to seven cars.

Welcome to my World: Another Look at the Statue of Liberty |Jul 17, 2015

How did a friendship between the United States and France come about?

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Pat Long makes it good for customers & employees! |Jul 17, 2015

Welcome to Christmas in July! For you planners and procrastinators, this is a reminder that we are over half-way to Christmas 2015.

A Look Back in History: Historic Hottenstein Reunion 2015 |Jul 17, 2015

On a recent Sunday the Hottenstein reunion was held. Hottenstein descendants from all over the United States arrived in quaint Kutztown to attend their annual Hottenstein reunion at the architecturally exquisite Georgian farm mansion along 222, east of Kutztown.

Letter to the Editor to Boyertown community from ACS staff partner re: ‘Relaying through the rain’ |Jul 15, 2015

To the Boyertown Community: As a staff partner with the American Cancer Society, I have been blessed to work with many communities as they raise money to support local cancer patients and fund cancer research.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Presidential Reflections on America, Race and History |Jul 11, 2015

On June 22nd, President Obama, while being interviewed on a local radio show, commented on the issue of race in America and said, “what is also true is that the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives - you know, that casts a long shadow.

A Look Back in History: Dr. Peter Bertolet’s invaluable writings of the 1800s |Jul 11, 2015

When I began writing of Oley Valley’s rich history last year for a volume picking up where Phil Pendleton left off in his 1994 publication, I gathered as much literature as possible, and began to read all I could of the amazing history the Oley Valley offered, most of which had become very valuable, out of print publications.

On the Record with Carol: “Watch your Toes” |Jul 8, 2015

For those of you who follow my column you might remember that I call my grandchildren the ‘farmers ‘& the ‘entertainers’.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: When “Faith” came to live with us |Jul 8, 2015

When my brother and his family visited us about 12 years ago from Vermont, our niece, Becca, for some reason thought my wife really liked pink flamingos. Therefore, she gave the above flamingo to her and shortly after the flamingo was graced with the name Faith.

The Historian: A Most Interesting Diary |Jul 7, 2015

A most interesting diary has come to light. Found by historian Nancy Roan, it was created by Norristown resident Mary Markley Boyer from 1839-1845. Diaries and journals, called “primary source documents,” are the gold standard in historical research.

A Look Back in History: Rural Folklife of the early 1900’s as seen by Photographers; H. Winslow Fegley & Amandus Moyer (Part II) |Jul 2, 2015

Unlike Winslow Fegley, Amandus Moyer photographed life in the Oley Hills, around Fredericksville and the tavern at Landis Store, where frontier farmers lived more in seclusion. But being a very popular visitor at the Lobachsville Tavern and general store partly due to the curiosity driving his new automobile, he did fancy photographing good looking horses and their drivers, whether they drove a one-horse buggy or a team of horses.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: The President and the Power of Faith Through Grace |Jul 2, 2015

On June 26th, President Obama, gave a eulogy for State Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed in his own church building, along with eight other African Americans, by a white man who had just finished worshiping with them in a bible study group.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Part #2 of Singin’ in the Rain |Jul 1, 2015

Several decades ago I went to have some dental work done and the dentist gave me Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) for my first and only time. My wife, Barb, was to pick me up but was a little late. As I walked out of the office, I found it was raining so I stood in the rain whistling as I waited.

Welcome to my World: Red rose ceremonies |Jun 27, 2015

First page was in the Easton Express in 1986

A Look Back in History: Rural Folklife of the early 1900s as seen by Photographers: H. Winslow Fegley & Amandus Moyer (Part I) |Jun 27, 2015

At the turn of the century into the 1900’s, when most of the nation was fascinated with the unbelievable results of automation and the beginning of a mobile America, there were a few who saw the opportunity to record that way of life that was soon to be antediluvian.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Race, Racism and Christian Forgiveness |Jun 27, 2015

June was an eventful month. It raised some interesting questions.

From the Item Editor: A Farewell to the readers |Jun 26, 2015

This past March marked two years that I have been the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. It’s hard to believe how much has changed between that first day and now. Prior to starting, I had very little knowledge of the Hamburg area.

For what it’s worth: My personal food challenge |Jun 26, 2015

I’ve had the house to myself for about a week, and I have another week to go. When there’s only one person—it’s easy to downsize a bit. And I decided to downsize in regards to hastily purchasing food.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Singin’ In The Rain! Part #1 |Jun 24, 2015

This article is the beginning of a mini-series entitled Singin’ In The Rain! As the introduction, I would like to discuss the topic of GOALS. I consider myself an average person (no matter what others might say), so if you are like me, you may see a definite need for goals but they may also leave a bitter taste in your mouth.


I don’t know about you, but on occasion I find challenges seem to have a way of finding me. Two examples are when my mother who, was widowed over two decades, used to call me at work and say, “Jeff, I think I have a problem.

Through My Kitchen Window: A lesson in basic cooking chemistry |Jun 17, 2015

I received an email from Kutztown Patriot reader Laurel Powell, Lenhartsville, about the cupcakes I’d made for my daughter’s 4th birthday. (Note that Through My Kitchen Window is a weekly column that publishes in several Berks-Mont Newspapers including this one.

Through My Eyes: A nerd needs more |Jun 15, 2015

Over the years I have become a loyal patron of the local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Some of my most frequented sections include Fiction, World History, and Science & Nature (more for mathematics than actual science).