From the Item Editor: Happy holidays and thank you |Dec 22, 2014

Thank you to all of the students, teachers and principals for participating in the holiday letters. We have the last batch set to go in the Dec. 31 issue. We also want to wish all of our readers the happiest of holidays and a wonderful start to the new year.

Listen Up: Keep it simple |Dec 22, 2014

It’s amazing how one small incident can trigger a flood of thoughts and memories.

The Historian: Log Houses in the New Hanover area |Dec 19, 2014

When we think of early houses in the region, the images that usually come to mind are the large, stone farm houses and the associated bank barns.

Mind Your Body: A Perfect Time for Turning Inward |Dec 19, 2014

Winter has arrived and the nights have grown longer. Along with increased darkness, there is more quietude. As we look around us, we see bare branches. Many plants have gone dormant, there are fewer birds about, and numerous animals hibernate or go into “light hibernation.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Intense musical-thriller ‘Whiplash’ earns its title |Dec 19, 2014

For all intents and purposes, “Whiplash” is a monster movie -- it doesn’t exactly take place in reality. Concerning an ambitious young man at a renowned music college under the tutelage of a conductor whose technical excellence is outweighed only by his ruthlessness in weeding out imperfections in his students, this is a film that approaches musicianship much like “Gravity” approached space travel.

‘Tis the Season: A six-year tradition visiting Koziar’s Christmas Village |Dec 19, 2014

The first time I visited Koziar’s Christmas Village I was a fourth grade Girl Scout. Our leaders rounded us up in a bunch of cars, and we waited in the mile-long traffic to see the shimmering, magical lights.

Small Beginnings: Christmas confessions, getting caught up in the commotion of the holiday |Dec 19, 2014

I’m caught up in the middle of the hubbub. I’m shopping and frantically looking for the perfect gift for the people I love. I want them to have that WOW moment when they open the package and love what I got them.

Welcome to my World: The Christmas tree |Dec 19, 2014

Our Christmas tree is again decorated with glowing lights, ornamental glass balls, icicles of tinfoil, long strips of popcorn chains, and topped by an angel. Starry eyed, I repeat the familiar carol’s words: “Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree, How lovely are your branches!”

Dairy recipe: ‘Tis the season to be dairy |Dec 19, 2014

Tis’ the season to be dairy! From setting cookies and milk out for Santa, enjoying hot chocolate by the fire or even baking one of your favorite holiday recipes, this time of year is filled with dairy.

Ask Esther: Should I wait to sell until spring? |Dec 16, 2014

I would like to sell my home but the outside looks so drab in the winter and who is looking this time of year anyway? I’m wondering if it makes sense to wait to sell until the spring when flowers are blooming and things are green.

Book Beat - Impact: Review of ‘The Night Watchman’ by Mark Mynheir |Dec 16, 2014

Ray Quinn makes his way down a deserted street in Orlando, Florida, looking like a man many years his senior as he struggles with his cane and his plastic hip of 10 months. He notices two youths about 20 years old who are tailing him.

Letter: |Dec 16, 2014

I am a local Morgantown nurse and member of our local American Legion. On Saturday, Dec. 13 I had the pleasure of attending once again “Wreaths Across America” at Fort Indiantown Gap, a national Pennsylvania Veterans Cemetery.

Welcome to my World: My mother, the child comedian |Dec 15, 2014

I grew up the youngest in a family of ten. All of us siblings recall our Mother’s sense of humor, which all of us inherited.

The Historian: The West Branch Paper Mill |Dec 15, 2014

Of the many types of mills that were built on the Perkiomen Creek and its tributaries, the most uncommon was the paper mill. I know of just one, located in the extreme northern edge of Douglass Township on the West Branch of the Perkiomen on, appropriately, Paper Mill Road.

Reel Experiences with Rob Humanick: Laughter and tears mingle in bittersweet ‘The Skeleton Twins’ |Dec 12, 2014

More than likely than not, the cast of “The Skeleton Twins” will be looked over in the new year when Oscar nominations are announced.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice Of Life: Serving up chocolate...very hot |Dec 11, 2014

You simply can’t go wrong with chocolate and since Americans consume 2.8 BILLION pounds of it per year, it’s safe to say I’m not the only one who agrees with that sentiment. The irony of my extolling the virtues of chocolate is the fact that I was allergic to it as a child.

A Look Back in History: The Sarah Boone School and public education |Dec 9, 2014

Located at Hoch’s Corner in Oley Township, the fieldstone one-room school house of Sarah Boone had long been a centennial of pioneer education, even though Sarah Boone was long remembered for female vocational education.

ASK STEVE: What are the ideal thermostat settings for night and day? |Dec 9, 2014

As a service to you and our community, I want to answer your questions so you can make educated and more informed decisions when it comes to your energy, comfort needs and saving money.

The Historian: Six Horse Bell Teams |Dec 9, 2014

A fully rigged Conestoga wagon was a union of graceful craftsmanship and rugged utility. With running gear painted vermilion, sides a bright blue and topped with white canvas on graceful bows, wagon and team could be as much as 60 feet long.

Welcome to my World: Adventures and memories in the cellar |Dec 8, 2014

Today, I live in a ranch home with a lower level we call the basement. It consists of a laundry room, a TV room, and a tool room. During the 40s and 50s, while living at the Monterey farm, the lower level was always called the cellar.

Small Beginnings: Raising the standard higher |Dec 8, 2014

About a month ago, my husband and I spent the day together at Gettysburg touring the battlefield and taking in the museum. I anticipated that we would share a mini getaway and get some fresh air, go out to dinner and enjoy the day.

A Look Back in History: The Sarah Boone School and public education |Dec 5, 2014

Located at Hoch’s Corner in Oley Township, the fieldstone one-room school house of Sarah Boone had long been a centennial of pioneer education, even though Sarah Boone was long remembered for female vocational education.

Statement: Rep. Dent votes to prevent President Obama’s executive overreach on immigration |Dec 5, 2014

Office of Congressman Charlie Dent

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Racial policing and black men |Dec 5, 2014

Police treatment of African Americans has a troubled history in America.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Tattered edges of comedy/drama “Take Care” scratch at the heart |Dec 5, 2014

As far as quasi-indie comedies go, “Take Care” wants for a lot, and in a strictly technical sense, it is not a “well-made” film.

Focus on the Family: Tips on helping kids learn about history |Dec 3, 2014

Q: Every now and then I’ll see these “man on the street” interviews on television where people’s ignorance of history is on display -- and it discourages me that our culture doesn’t seem to value its importance.

The Historian: Butchering Day on the Farm |Dec 1, 2014

It’s safe to say that in the old days, most every farm family butchered pigs when the weather turned cold. Meat, more than bread, was the “staff of life,” and meat at every meal was not uncommon.

From the Item Editor: The holiday shopping season is well underway |Dec 1, 2014

To quote a popular book series, and movie franchise, “May the odds be ever in your favor” this holiday shopping season! It’s down to less than a full month left to find those hard to find, perfectly unique gifts for those on your list.

A thank you from the Grange president for supporting Hamburg Grange pot pie dinners |Dec 1, 2014

I want to personally THANK the Hamburg community for supporting the Hamburg Grange’s most recent pot pie dinners. The September dinner was a success! We planned for 300 people and we sold out at 6 p.

Welcome to my World: Her name is ‘Blue Heartthrob’ |Dec 1, 2014

Before I even met my husband, I knew of his infatuation with “Blue Heartthrob.” He thinks she has the perfect built — six cylinders and a standard transmission. He found her in a newspaper ad for $4,000.

Small Beginnings: Are we the only folks ‘Giving Thanks’ today? |Nov 24, 2014

Perhaps on this specific day, Americans around the world are the only people pausing to return thanks for their many blessings. But many other cultures have their own version of Thanksgiving and even if it is not directly related to our pilgrim feast, it’s interesting to find out that pausing to reflect and be grateful is a somewhat universal experience.

Listen Up: Chasing the music 2014 |Nov 24, 2014

Chasing the music in 2014 has been quite an adventure. Some shows are boldly etched in the frozen glacier that is my mind, while others fade in and out like a warm summer breeze. During the Polar Votex’s last year, several venues provided us comfortable, warm places to listen.

Welcome to my World: Of turkey, corn, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie |Nov 24, 2014

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is a family celebration of fellowship and the sharing of a festive meal. As with most festive occasions, particular foods are associated with these days. Thus, it is that the pleasant aromas of turkey, corn, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie permeate families’ homes on Thanksgiving Day.

Focus on the Family: Set limits to stifle kids’ narcissistic behaviors |Nov 22, 2014

Question: I recently read that narcissistic behavior is on the rise, and this seems to confirm my own observations of a culture that seems to be increasingly selfish and entitled. I’m especially concerned about my children growing up with these influences.

Through My Kitchen Window: A Day for Thanksgiving |Nov 19, 2014

The past 150 years, Thanksgiving feasts in the White House have been sumptuous affairs. The first official Thanksgiving feast was presided over by Abraham Lincoln after he declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in 1863.

A Look Back in History: Baking Bread in the Bakeoven |Nov 18, 2014

In further elaborating on my references of Colonial bread making and shipment made over the past month in my columns and with conversations with Director Shaner, by 1767, the bulk of exports from Colonial Pennsylvania consisted of wheat, flour, bread, corn, pork, and beef, bar iron, pig iron, flaxseed, and beer.

Welcome to my World: The Christman sisters’ occasional long trips |Nov 17, 2014

I’ve told you some of the highlights from the sisters separate birthday parties. This time I’ll tell you about some of our longer trips to various places.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Presenting the “it” item of the season, cranberries |Nov 17, 2014

Considering how good they are, it’s quite shameful that their popularity is seasonal. I am not referring to anything involving the words “pumpkin” or “spice” but to cranberries, the tart red berries that are a featured item during the upcoming holiday season yet seem to be forgotten the remainder of the year.

The Historian: A Voyage up the Salt River |Nov 17, 2014

Local historian Nancy Roan has her mother’s diary, which contains this curious entry for Nov. 17, 1932: “Up to Swamp to see the salt river parade tonight.”

Focus on the Family: Life’s difficulties can upset thanksgiving time |Nov 15, 2014

Question: Thanksgiving is this week, and I’m having a hard time getting up for it. I’m usually a positive person, but all of life’s difficulties decided to visit me this year. And the mess the world is in only adds to my feelings of despair.

The Historian: The Ice Industry, part 2 |Nov 14, 2014

Last week’s column noted that at the turn of the last century, the ice companies centered on Green Lane were shipping as much as 150,000 tons a year to Philadelphia and points beyond and providing seasonal work for hundreds of farm workers, many from the New Hanover area.

A Look Back in History: Chicken and waffles: a typical Pa Dutch meal |Nov 14, 2014

Among the Americana inventions of our PA Dutch people who were famous for designing cast iron waffle irons in Colonial times are 18th Century waffle irons with attractive tulip designs molded in their long handle fireplace iron molds, where housewives took pride in creating motifs which were definitely PA Dutch.

The Historian: The Ice Industry, part 1 |Nov 12, 2014

Since the creeks in New Hanover Township flow into the Swamp Creek, which joins the Perkiomen Creek at Zieglersville, New Hanover is part of the Perkiomen Creek watershed and region.

Focus on the Family: Be cautious about revealing too much of your youth to kids |Nov 10, 2014

Q: How much do my children need to know about my past? Is there any reason to be completely open with them about the moral failings of my youth?

Small Beginnings: I’m too practical for my own good sometimes |Nov 10, 2014

Last week I had a fleeting thought. It was so brief and fleeting that I never really considered it to be a viable option for my to do list, but it did pass through my brain. I can blame it on being too busy and having too few hours in the day but the truth is, I just don’t care.

Welcome to my World: A tribute to servicemen and women for Veteran’s Day |Nov 10, 2014

Veteran’s Day was originally Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War 1, which took effect the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Later, it was known as Remembrance Day, marking the end of World War 11.

A salute to our servicemen and women: Veteran Mac Chandler shares his life story |Nov 7, 2014

WRITER’S NOTE: As Veterans Day approached, I contacted friends of mine, Mac Chandler, and his wife, Joyce, about doing an interview for the purpose of writing an article for the Tri County Record.

Ask Esther: |Nov 7, 2014

Can I Afford to Sell? My wife and I had our 3rd child this year so our 3 bedroom home is becoming cramped. Because of our mortgage, I’m not sure if we can afford to sell. How can we find out what we can get for our home?

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Election of 2014: political landscape has changed, but that’s all |Nov 7, 2014

In 2008, the Republicans lost not only the presidency, but the House and the Senate. The decimation was without equal in recent memory. The Democrats won, on paper, a veto proof majority in the Senate.

Thinking Out Loud: ThanksLiving |Nov 7, 2014

November is here and with the turning of the calendar page come thoughts of the impending Holiday Season. Even before the Halloween candy was off the shelves, the retailers thought it helpful to remind us that Thanksgiving and Christmas were right around the proverbial corner by turning on the Christmas music and stocking the shelves with all kinds of things that we don’t need, but want.