A Look Back in History: Georgian Keystones not just for mansions |Feb 27, 2015

During the Industrial Revolution when steam powered threshing machines replaced horse powered tread-mills, farmers with large tracts of land built huge Pennsylvania bank barns with double and triple threshing floors, realizing that these structures provided them with the most efficiency.

Letter to the Editor: Thank you, volunteers, for your shoveling help |Feb 27, 2015

This winter we have had more snow and ice than in an average year. As senior citizens living on West Main Street of Kutztown, my husband and I appreciate the opportunity to have younger volunteers from Operation Snowflake help us to clear the sidewalk in front of our home and yard.

For what it’s worth: York County’s Live Eagle Camera has my attention |Feb 26, 2015

I’m not sure why it’s so interesting to me—but it is. Since I discovered it, I cannot seem to stop watching York County’s live feed of an eagle nest.

The Historian: Fraktur, the folk art of the Pa. Germans |Feb 25, 2015

During the 100 years between 1720 and 1820, well over 100,000 German-speaking immigrants entered Pennsylvania, most of them through the port of Philadelphia. In just the five years between 1749 and 1754 nearly 37,000 Germans came through that port and spread throughout Pennsylvania and beyond.

Guest Column: Teachers are Born, Not Made |Feb 25, 2015

Before I came to realize that my future resided in the classroom, I took two education classes in my senior year of college. I’d already completed most mandated courses and taken more than the required units of English.

Welcome to my World: My sports enthusiast |Feb 22, 2015

My husband Harry and I were married in our 40s. He’s what I call a sports enthusiast. We are now married 33 years. Before we married I knew he was a sports nut. On our dates he either wore his Penn State Nittany Lions shirt, or a favorite baseball shirt with “Phillies” blazoned on it in red.

From the Item Editor: The book and the movie |Feb 22, 2015

There was a point in time, when I was excited to see that a favorite book of mine was being made into a movie. I remember heading to the movie theater right after getting off the school bus to see “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” on opening day and missing school to see “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” for its first showing at the local movie theater.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Birdman’ a Hollywood satire that even Oscar can love |Feb 22, 2015

The Oscars are, at best, a funny thing. Like any group that purports to canonize the arts, the Academy walks a thin line in their yearly spectacle of self-congratulation, their status as a group of individuals in flux compounding the already impossible-to-quantify business of measuring and comparing works of art.

Letter to the Editor: PennDOT does not feel a bypass is viable solution to safety and capacity issues on US 222 corridor |Feb 20, 2015

Regarding efforts by local advocates on behalf of an expressway option for the Route 222 corridor north of Reading, I wanted to explain some factors.

ON THE RECORD WITH CAROL: Blue Marshmallow Peeps for Fat Tuesday? |Feb 18, 2015

It’s an odd combination, snow on the ground and Easter candy in the stores, and Lent is upon us Ash Wednesday was Feb. 18, when we begin by repenting and receiving our ashes.

Letter to the Editor: Thank you for helping our pet live a happy and healthy life |Feb 18, 2015

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to Dr. Lauren Jones and all the techs and staff at Country Companion Animal Hospital in Morgantown who helped our pet live a happy and healthy life through nine months of treatment for heart disease.

Color Me Thiel: A farewell to readers |Feb 17, 2015

When I started as editor for The Southern Berks News almost two years ago, I had little knowledge of newspaper production, and even less knowledge of Berks County.

Small Beginnings: Maybe you just want to think again... |Feb 16, 2015

I’m writing this column before the next ubiquitous holiday, though you will be reading it after it has already passed. I am referring to Valentine’s Day of course although I tend to be a bit cynical about the various ways in which people are supposedly encouraged to celebrate this random calendar date.

Welcome to my World: The many names of the Easter season |Feb 16, 2015

I haven’t found one holiday season that has more names for its days then Easter. These names have been gleaned from various countries, but mainly England. Some of the names have been carried over to the United States by different cultures.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Mr. Turner’ is a ‘masterpiece’ |Feb 13, 2015

While there are many who are unfamiliar with the 19th century English painter J. M. W. Turner, there are few who haven’t seen his work, much of which graces the National Gallery in London (and where it was featured in the most recent James Bond film).

The Historian: Fences and the Antes Garden |Feb 11, 2015

In the 18th and 19th centuries, winter was the ideal time for many tasks not directly related to the planting, cultivating and harvesting of crops that took up all available time during the more temperate months.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Valentine’s Day should be every day! |Feb 10, 2015

One of the many things that impressed me in my recent BOOK BEAT - IMPACT report on 41 – A Portrait of My Father, is how President George H. W. Bush made new friends, but at the same time was faithful in keeping in contact with his old friends.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Confused and confusing ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is a folly for the ages |Feb 9, 2015

In the hours and days following one’s first encounter with something as massive, expensive, unwieldy, and utterly weird as “Jupiter Ascending,” confusion is to be expected.

Welcome to my World: The kiss |Feb 9, 2015

Valentine’s Day is approaching and love messages are every where — stores are laden with gifts of love and valentine cards, windows are decorated with symbols of love, to love stories in books and TV.

The Historian: Spring Houses - valuable additions to the farmstead |Feb 9, 2015

A spring house was a valuable addition to the early farmstead. A good, year-round spring on a property often influenced the location of the dwelling house and barn. The spring house usually was built directly over the spring and served as a cover, protecting it from dirt, leaves, livestock and other foreign material, but it also served as food storage area and sometimes work area.

The Historian: Baking Practices among the Dutchmen, part 2 |Feb 3, 2015

Most Germanic houses built in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries had bake ovens; it was almost a requisite for Pennsylvnia Dutch dwellings.

Small Beginnings: Things that become hard to do when you’re hurting |Feb 2, 2015

No this is not a Jeopardy category. It’s just something I have been contemplating lately. You and I are surrounded by hurting people. Everywhere we go we encounter people who are struggling to overcame deep personal pain from one source or another and we are seldom aware of this.

Welcome to my World: Handkerchief stories and memories |Feb 2, 2015

You might wonder how on earth a handkerchief story can be interesting. How can a square of cotton cloth used to blow one’s nose have any significance? Yet, I’ve found my childhood, and even grown up stories, to hold memories in their crimps and creases.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘John Wick’ - a stellar art house/action movie crossover |Jan 30, 2015

“John Wick” serves as a reminder that even so-called mindless entertainments are capable of great artistry, and in more than a few ways, recalls the magisterial, breathless kineticism of John Woo’s Hong Kong films of the late 80s and early 90s – namely, “The Killer” and “Hard-Boiled,” two of the greatest action films ever made.

Ask Steve: How important is installing a carbon monoxide detector in a new home? |Jan 27, 2015

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: Baking Practices among the Dutchmen |Jan 27, 2015

Most Germanic houses built in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries had bake ovens; it was almost a requisite for Pennsylvnia Dutch dwellings.

Thrivent Financial: You bought the policy…now what? Knowing your policies supports healthy financial strategies |Jan 27, 2015

Purchasing proper insurance coverage is an important part of a healthy financial picture. However, with many policies, staying engaged ensures you have adequate coverage as your life changes.

Book Beat - Impact: ‘A Portrait Of My Father’ shows 41st President took the less travelled path |Jan 27, 2015

Review of “A Portrait Of My Father” by George W. Bush

Mind Your Body: Twelve small steps = a year of big change |Jan 26, 2015

It is the third week in January and some studies show that New Year’s resolutions, such as going to the gym or changing one’s eating patterns, may be fading. By early February there is often a big drop-off in follow-through on resolutions.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Clint Eastwood’s rousing war film transcends political labels |Jan 26, 2015

“American Sniper” is a more complex film than many are giving it credit for, and that assessment applies to both its fans and detractors.

Welcome to my World: Fashion fads and others of the 50s |Jan 26, 2015

Last year, 2014, my Kutztown classmates celebrated our 56th class reunion. Whenever we have a reunion, I get out my ’58 yearbook to check out the faces to see who I remember. This time I also became intrigued with our 50s clothes and hairdos.

Guest Column: Memories |Jan 23, 2015

My growing up memories started on March 4, 1950 at 7 p.m. It is the night I married Carl Zettlemoyer. It was a marriage quite a few people said would not last. Because Lucille was a “City girl” and Carl was a farm boy.

A Look Back in History: Salem Church windows depict purple stained Iris colored flowers, a French “Fleurdelis” folk symbol |Jan 23, 2015

Last month a Community Christmas Cantata was held under the musical direction of choir director Kathy Snyder to a packed audience at Salem Church on historic Covered Bridge Road, on a Sunday afternoon, a unique presentation of Oley area churches, whereby old timers would not have to drive home in the dark.

At The Movies With Rodeo Marie HansonKid reviewer gives 4 popcorn boxes for “Paddington” (Studio Canal) |Jan 23, 2015

Rodeo Marie Hanson, 8, of Fleetwood, has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for all things Hollywood.

Focus on the Family: Daughter’s lies catching up with her at school |Jan 21, 2015

Q: How can I get my teenage daughter to stop lying? I’ve caught her telling “tall tales,” and now she’s complaining that the kids at school don’t believe anything she says.

Op-Ed by Sen. Mensch: To improve budget will require fundamental changes in way departments are funded |Jan 20, 2015

As I write this commentary I have an article dated January 15, 2009, in front of me. The Headline: “The PA Budget Deficit Could Be As High As $1.9 Billion. The article quotes then Governor Rendell at the PA Farm Show as he spoke to members of his administration, members of the legislature, and members of the agriculture community.

Letter to the Editor: Honey Brook Borough Police chief thanks toy drive donors |Jan 20, 2015

Again I would like to THANK all of the donors to the Police Department’s toy drive this year.

Letter to the Editor: Chester County has opportunities for 2015 |Jan 20, 2015

The citizens of Chester County have a myriad of opportunities as we begin 2015 and close out a successful 2014.

The Historian: The Tag-Team Preachers from New Hanover |Jan 19, 2015

Sometime around 1720, John Philip Boehm and a group following the German Reformed faith settled closely together in Swamp, New Hanover, and built a church. The congregation exists today, Falkner Swamp UCC, the earliest German Reformed church in America.

Welcome to my World: Toilets, pots and such |Jan 19, 2015

What better month then January to write about toilets. January 27 is Thomas Crapper Day! Yet, Crapper, whose been given the credit for inventing the toilet, actually didn’t. He was awarded nine patents, three of which were for water closets.

Felicia Fisher’s Slice of Life: Thinking outside the (brownie) box |Jan 16, 2015

I cannot tell a (baking-related) lie. I use boxed, store-bought brownie mix. To me, the ultimate brownie not only has an over-the-top, amazing, “Oh my gosh I need a glass of milk right now to wash this down” chocolate flavor but is of the fudge and not the cake variety.

Reel Experiences with Rob Humanick: ‘Blackhat’ an acquired taste; ‘Citizenfour’ not to be missed |Jan 16, 2015

“Blackhat” is being advertised as an action thriller, and strictly speaking, it is, and at an almost literally elemental level.

Person to person - Impact: The Lady in Red |Jan 14, 2015

For many years I was quite reserved and in most cases kept my thoughts to myself. Then I entered a period of “Internal Sweats”. Someone would do or say something that I knew was not correct (at least from my standpoint) and those Internal Sweats would build up until I just had to say something to the person.

Ask Esther: Should I be concerned about a septic system inspection? |Jan 14, 2015

I am planning to sell my home but have heard nightmare stories from coworkers concerning septic inspections. My home is about 40 years old but I have had no problems with my septic system. Should I be concerned about this?

From the Item Editor: My trip back to the PA Farm Show |Jan 12, 2015

Most of the time, thousands of people packed into one place, no matter how large, is not my preferred way to spend any spare time that I may have. Large crowds have never been my favorite thing and I tend to do just about anything I can to avoid them.

Small Beginnings: Untangling life in 2015 |Jan 12, 2015

Happy New Year! I know I’m a little late. The New Year is a few weeks old already and it’s as busy as last year and the year before that! What happened to that resolution about slowing things down and stopping to smell the roses? Long forgotten I daresay.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Selma’ marches to greatness; ‘Still Alice’ takes the easy route |Jan 9, 2015

“Still Alice” is likely three times the film it would be without its central performance – a tremendous turn by Julianne Moore, who adds texture and detail where the script often glosses over such.

Focus on the Family: Grandparents want to help, not butt in, with new baby |Jan 7, 2015

Question: How can grandparents help new parents without wearing out their welcome? I’m excited to play an active and positive role in my grandchild’s life, but I want to be careful to respect appropriate boundaries with my son and daughter-in-law.

On the Record with Carol: Social Media and Tri County Record find a match |Jan 7, 2015

My job in this column is to foster a closer relationship between the Tri County Record and the local people. In 2014 a variety of topics were shared here, some extending into the lives of those that reach out beyond our borders, and so it is with the diversity of this dance of life.

A Look Back in History: The Importance of the Church & Faith in our Pennsylvania Dutch |Jan 7, 2015

As we see our church numbers dwindle and only somewhat filling during the Christmas and Easter times, we need to take a step back and remember how strong religion and faith was to our ancestors driving them to pave the way and persevere in a new and unknowing with unparallel bravery in crossing the mighty Atlantic, and the tremendous hardship they faced in death of loved ones, cold, hunger, and doubt.