Opinion

From the Item editor: Taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge |Sep 1, 2014

We’ve seen it just about everywhere. On the various social media sites and on television when it comes to celebrities. We’ve seen the positive reactions and of course the negative reactions.

Welcome to my World: Remembering visiting family and friends |Sep 1, 2014

Reprint: Published locally 2009 in Lifestyles over 50 and Berks County TV web site 2011; 2014 Country Magazine

A Look Back in History: Colonial weathervanes of Oley Valley |Sep 1, 2014

When the early Pennsylvania Germans purchased their farming tracts from William Penn, these proud immigrants built agrarian farmsteads that rivaled their European counterparts, which naturally caused these Americans to place artistic weathervanes atop fashionable farm homes and gigantic Swiss bank barns, once the prerogative of European nobility.

Small Beginnings: Feeling grateful for our beautiful country |Sep 1, 2014

We are a little behind the vacation curve as we are just gearing up for our getaway. Most folks have already gone to the beach or done a theme park or two and they have the suitcases all nicely stashed away and the hotel soap is already melted down the drain.

Through My Kitchen Window: Avoid the school lunch slump |Sep 1, 2014

Are you packing multiple lunches, or need a fast lunch for your preschooler or homeschooler? Here are a few quick and easy lunch ideas to keep you out of the school lunch slump.

Letter from AARP: ‘Maintain good health as you age’ |Aug 30, 2014

Preventative care is the most important thing someone can do to maintain good health as they age. As an AARP volunteer and member, I have had the privilege of being educated on how my insurance can help me prevent illness and avoid being sick.

WTIM: Music Around Town: Sept. 3 edition |Aug 28, 2014

What’s going on musically in the Berks-Mont Newspapers coverage area? A lot, and we want to help keep everyone in the know.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Look-alikes Eisenburg and Simon take to the screen in ‘The Double’ |Aug 25, 2014

Richard Ayoade’s film noir-infused take on Dostoyevsky’s “The Double” is successful in enough of its individual parts that it proves almost doubly disappointing in its missteps, as if a gentle, sublime spell had been abruptly broken.

Welcome to my World: Anita, the Riveter |Aug 25, 2014

Reprint (2012 Berks County TV web site)

From the Hamburg editor: How to contact the Item and submit |Aug 25, 2014

As a community newspaper, we receive many submissions from our readers. It is something that I myself look forward to as it’s a way to get to know those in the community better and also see what they have been up to.

Slice of Life: Mixing Up A Pie That’s Key For Summer |Aug 24, 2014

Retailers’ use of interesting descriptions to depict ordinary things has always intrigued me. For instance, the color green is simply not called “green” it’s often called “hunter” or “kiwi” or “moss.

A Look Back in History: American Oral History Recalled by Natives at Salem Church Picnic |Aug 22, 2014

Sunday, August 3rd, Salem UCC Church of Spangsville, Oley Township, held its annual church picnic among the picturesque grove of trees in historic Earl Township. Frequently known as “Wood Choppertown,” among the Colonial natives of Oley Township, who recalled descendants supplying the Oley Furnace and Oley Forge with charcoal to produce iron manufactured goods to meet the needs of the United States Republic during Colonial times.

Letter to the Editor: Support of the Willow Street Project |Aug 22, 2014

Dear Editor, I was encouraged to write this letter in support of the Willow Street development project after reading Nancy Unger’s letter that appeared in the Patriot two weeks ago.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Ferguson, MO: The Mixture of Race, Crime, Police Use of Force and the Utility of Riots |Aug 22, 2014

On August 9th, Michael Brown was killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. As soon as the killing was made public, every politician, platitude, accusation, argument, justification, rationalization and defense that exists in these types of situations was heard on T.

On The Record with Carol: The Wolf’s at the Door |Aug 22, 2014

Monday, Aug. 19, President Barack Obama urged the Iraqis to unite because ‘the wolf’s at the door’ and the U.S. air strikes can only accomplish so much, http://www.ndtv.com.

Small Beginnings: Get your ice bucket ready for a very worthy cause |Aug 19, 2014

The world is not without worthwhile opportunities to be charitable is it? Every day we see commercials and receive solicitations in our mail box for various noble causes, all seeking donations to promote their cause or fund a cure.

Welcome to my World: My son, a tinker-of-all-trades |Aug 18, 2014

My son, Kevin, the only boy in a family of four children, was a tinker-of-all-trades. When he was around 11 years old, I was a divorced Mom living in a modular home on my brother’s land. I also worked as a bookkeeper for my brother’s sanitation business.

Up to Speed with David Barr: Restart of Gordon’s life part 2 |Aug 18, 2014

Hello readers, Under the threat of cloudy skies and rain, Jeff Gordon proved that the Drive for Five is still alive and well with a convincing win at Michigan. Gordon started on the pole and led the second-most laps on the day, but he had to fend off the likes of Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, and teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Under-rated superhero sequel swings onto home video |Aug 18, 2014

Like any number of recent big-budget movies – particularly those of the superhero/sequel variety – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” bites off more than it can properly chew, with too many underdeveloped antagonists and frequently on-the-nose dialogue that makes the mistake of speaking directly to the themes at play.

The Historian by Robert Wood: Inns and Taverns of Swamp, New Hanover, part 3 |Aug 16, 2014

For three days in September of 1777 the American army, about 8,000 strong, was camped in New Hanover principally in the long valley lying between Fagleysville Hill and Rosenberry Road but also extending south to Sanatoga and east to Schwenksville.

Mind Your Body: Yoga for Emotional Calmness |Aug 15, 2014

Who doesn’t want more peace in their lives? Now that most of us are plugged in most of the time, we are inundated with information—personal, community-wide, national, and international. There is too much to process and too little time in which to do it.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Thriller ‘Blue Ruin’ is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray |Aug 12, 2014

“Blue Ruin” is a prismatically efficient thriller, as daring for its unforgiving violence as its refusal to cater to audience expectations. Take an early sequence, for example (one that will remind many of the similarly tightly-wound “No Country for Old Men”): having suffered a serious injury, the main character, Dwight (Macon Blair), stops at a pharmacy for the tools needed to perform a makeshift surgery -- something he proves entirely unqualified for.

Perfect Pear Pie Recipe |Aug 11, 2014

Despite her flagrant act of trespassing, I greatly admire Goldilocks. After all, being particular and finding something that is unequivocally “just right” takes perseverance. I searched for two years to find

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Locke’: Driving through life’s decisions |Aug 11, 2014

Taking place almost exclusively within the confines of a moving vehicle, “Locke” is the kind of film that one might think was adapted for the screen after a successful stage run. To learn that such was not the case -- that the film’s pressure-cooker style was conceived deliberately with cinematic purposes in mind -- makes it an even more impressive accomplishment.

Up to Speed with David Barr: Allmendinger claims first win at the Glen |Aug 11, 2014

Hello readers, Recent history at the Glen suggested that fans were in for a treat and the drivers didn’t disappoint on Sunday. Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger, the two drivers who were putting all their eggs into the road-course basket as far as winning there in order to punch their ticket to the Chase were the ones up front all day fighting for the win.

Letter to The Editor: Bicentennial celebration should include an evaluation of well being of our ‘Most Agreeable Town’ |Aug 11, 2014

Dear Editor, As we prepare for the Borough of Kutztown’s bicentennial celebration, we all look forward to celebrating the hard work and commitment of the many men and women who built our town and who nurtured the growth of a self-sufficient family-centered rural community.

Letter to the Editor: Silk Mill Project - Another Point Of View |Aug 11, 2014

Dear Editor, I am very much in favor of the Silk Project that is being proposed for Willow Street in Kutztown.

A Slice of Life: Zucchini Cake that is no joke |Aug 6, 2014

Once they start “coming-in” there’s no stopping them. Zucchini that is. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini knows that once they start it’s only a matter of time until you are inundated with them. Years ago I remember reading a story about a town that used the proliferation of their garden-grown zucchini to engage in a month-long town-wide prank in which the residents would leave piles of them on each other’s doorsteps or other inconvenient places each evening.

A Slice of Life: Zucchini Cake that is no joke |Aug 5, 2014

Once they start “coming-in” there’s no stopping them. Zucchini that is. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini knows that once they start it’s only a matter of time until you are inundated with them. Years ago I remember reading a story about a town that used the proliferation of their garden-grown zucchini to engage in a month-long town-wide prank in which the residents would leave piles of them on each other’s doorsteps or other inconvenient places each evening.

Poem Das Mill Creak Creamery Haus |Aug 5, 2014

Written by Eleanor Whitaker, Kutztown

Up to Speed with David Barr: Earnhardt Jr. breaks out the broom at Pocono |Aug 5, 2014

Hello readers, For the second time this year at Pocono, it was Dale Earnhardt, Jr. celebrating in Victory Lane. Unlike June where he took advantage of Brad Keselowski trying to save his engine to pass Keselowski and score the win, Earnhard, Jr.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: ‘Boyhood’ an intimate epic of grand proportions |Aug 4, 2014

The mere existence of something like Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is nothing short of a cinematic miracle. Filmed over the course of 12 years with the same cast, aging in real time, it tells a seemingly ordinary story with an extraordinary sense of intimacy and patience, profoundly urging the viewer to consider their own lives.

A Look Back in History by Richard L.T. Orth: Fraktur among the Pennsylvania Dutch |Jul 31, 2014

As devout a Christian people as the Quakers were, they did not express their religious belief as dynamic as the Pennsylvania Dutch/Germans, whose American Folk Art naturally spilled over from the Bible into all their furniture and household belongings.

The Historian by Robert Wood: Old Inns and Taverns of New Hanover, part 1 |Jul 30, 2014

The old inns and taverns of Montgomery County share typical features that make them recognizable. Situated at a crossroads and built of stone, brick or logs, they were usually two stories high, squareish, and had attic windows in the gable ends and frequently attic dormers; along the front one will find a long porch sheltering two doors, one leading into the bar-room and the other leading into the inn parlor and family living quarters.

Dairy Recipe: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day calls for celebration |Jul 28, 2014

Another year has come to celebrate American’s second best-selling ice cream novelty, the ice cream sandwich. Ice cream sandwiches have been around since the early 1940s. Vanilla, chocolate and a combination of the two, are the most popular.

A Look Back in History by Richard H. Shaner Remembering, celebrating Dr. Alfred Shoemaker |Jul 28, 2014

Although only old-time residents remember celebrated Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker as the founder of Franklin and Marshall’s Kutztown Folk Festival in 1950, many Kutztonians still have publications of his Pennsylvania Folklife Society, including: Christmas in Pennsylvania, Eastertide in Pennsylvania, and his memorable book called, The Pennsylvania Barn published in 1959 that featured decorated barn architecture of native Fraktur barn stars.

TMKW: What is a traditional American breakfast? |Jul 21, 2014

The traditional American breakfast is a heaping bowl of cereal. At least, it has been for the past 120 years. What did Americans eat for breakfast before Henry Perky debuted Shredded Wheat (smashed wheat berries) at the World Columbian Expo in 1893?

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: The Hobby Lobby Morning After Pill |Jul 21, 2014

Much has been said and written on the Court’s ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The full impact of Hobby Lobby is in what the Court ordered in six other cases the morning after the decision.

Tammy Tattles Movie Review: ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ is intense movie |Jul 21, 2014

Does evil exist? Not just any kind of evil, but a true evil that can possess a human soul? That is the question facing Officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) in the movie ““Deliver Us From Evil”.”

Sound Off: Morgantown American Legion stands up for patriotism |Jul 21, 2014

My Fourth of July “On The Record Column” questioned the patriotism of local residents, how they live that out and where they stand on the national news about the veteran’s association and the border crisis.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Vampires are cool again in anti-’Twilight’ film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ |Jul 21, 2014

“Nosferatu.” “Dracula.” “Vampyr.” “Near Dark.” It isn’t too soon to add “Only Lovers Left Alive” to the list of the greatest vampire films – although this newest entry into the genre isn’t exactly a horror film, per se.

Mind Your Body: Reiki to the Rescue |Jul 16, 2014

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a subtle and deeply comforting Japanese technique which promotes stress reduction, relaxation, healing, and overall balance. One well-known Reiki teacher defines Reiki as “unconditional love.

‘The Immigrant’ reflects on the struggles of finding a home in America |Jul 16, 2014

Marion Cotillard has not been nominated for an Academy Award since her role as Édith Piaf won the statuette for “La Vie En Rose” in 2007. A second nomination for her work in this year’s “The Immigrant” should be a given, except that the normally awards-hungry Harvey Weinstein has put so little faith into this remarkable film that it is no surprise that the majority of those reading this will not have even heard of it before now.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: “SNOWPIERCER” and “LIFE ITSELF”: Two great movies lead the charge on new distribution method |Jul 14, 2014

Two of the best pictures of the year are currently in theaters, but not necessarily near you. Fortunately, these films – the sci-fi dystopia “Snowpiercer” and “Life Itself,” the documentary about the late Roger Ebert – are both employing a distribution model that acknowledges the ways technology has changed how movies are both made and watched.

A Look Back in History by Richard L.T. Orth: Congressman Daniel Hoch and our American Patriotism |Jul 14, 2014

Last fall, our American Folklife Institute did an article on the Sacred Oak of the Oley Valley (“Godhead Trees and Virgin Forests”), and while working on the Oley Valley History II: The Federal Years, I had become reacquainted with the knowledge that this iconic natural wonder was on the farmstead once owned by Congressman Daniel Hoch in Oley Township.

Up to Speed with David Barr: Almirola takes King back to Victory Lane |Jul 6, 2014

Hello readers, Rain was a major factor again for the second time this year at another race at Daytona. The cars never got on track Saturday night as rain postponed the Coke Zero 400 from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Hobby Lobby, An Example of What Does Not Matter |Jul 3, 2014

In the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Hobby Lobby asserted that from its religious perspective, anything that prevented the fertilized egg from growing into a baby – by definition – was in the same category as abortion.

Thinking Out Loud by Connie Schaeffer: A day to display our patriotism |Jul 1, 2014

Every year we celebrate American Independence Day on the 4th of July and this year will be no exception. Our great nation will be celebrating its 238th birthday. It is always a treat to have a day off to kick summer into high gear.

Reel Experiences with Robert Humanick: Donald Rumsfeld highlighted in documentary ‘The Unknown Known’ |Jun 30, 2014

There should be no doubt among anyone who has seen any of Errol Morris’ films (which began with 1978 profound “Gates of Heaven”) that he is among our greatest living documentarians. Few have so incisively probed their subjects’ knotty moral grounds while also pushing the form of the medium.

Up to Speed with David Barr: Keselowski dominates at Kentucky |Jun 30, 2014

Hello readers, If you looked up the word dominant in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Brad Keselowski celebrating in Victory Lane after winning the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky. Kyle Busch attempted to steal the win away but he didn’t have the car to hold off Keselowski as Keselowski retook the lead with just 19 laps to go.