GUEST COLUMN: Facts, Not Hyperbole, Should Drive Tax Reform Debate |Dec 14, 2017

Have you heard claims that the Congressional tax reform bill will cause thousands of deaths and usher in a Nazi government? Needless to say, in the debate over fixing our broken tax, hyperbole has too often supplanted rational civil discourse.

Reflections: Christmas shopping and decorating don’t bring joy to my world |Dec 7, 2017

The steamy breath of the holidays is upon us. I love the holidays. What’s not to love when there’s plenty of food, drink and parties involved?

A Look Back in History: Travel historic frontier road Boyer’s Junction at in the Oley Hills |Dec 7, 2017

There is hardly a person who has traveled from the Oley Valley to Kutztown who has not passed through Boyer’s Junction at the intersection of the Pricetown Road and Rockland Township’s Forgedale Road, where Elwood Boyer built his Shurfine General Store some years ago.

A Look Back in History: Religiously-oriented PA Dutch people renew, rejoice at Christmastime |Dec 7, 2017

During Colonial times, our forefathers who were thankful for having survived the voyage to America were a humble lot, never taking things for granted, but always had faith in God and followed his humanitarian principles.

Welcome to my World: There are many guises of love |Nov 29, 2017

Carole Christman Koch What is love? We all have a different idea as to what love really is. The dictionary tells us love is “strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal desire…affection and tenderness felt by lovers…affection based on admiration or common interests.

A Look Back in History: Holiday customs of the PA Dutch going by the wayside |Nov 29, 2017

One only needed to stop in at a local congenial PA Dutch tavern or social frolic to realize the PA Dutch people are humanitarians whose Christian fellowship is at the apex of each other’s daily lives the whole year long.

REFLECTIONS: The ever-expanding Christmas season |Nov 17, 2017

Some radio stations, believe it or not, start airing Christmas carols 24/7 right after Halloween.

A Look Back in History: Village Creameries Part 2, Trademarked butter molds |Nov 17, 2017

Once a burdensome chore for each family to produce for dinner, the art of making superior butter became a delightful practice, and each neighborhood soon developed butter-making households that had such an expertise at making butter.

Welcome to my World: They stopped making clothes for my age group |Nov 17, 2017

I’m upset. I went shopping on Saturday, knowing the stores would have sales. They did. But, in the process of shopping, I found they don’t make clothes for my age group any more.

A Look Back in History: Village Creameries, from Schlop-Milk to the art of Butter Prints |Nov 14, 2017

Farmers in the East Penn Valley and Oley Hills relied heavily on village creameries for butter, but more importantly, the “Schlop-milk” waste product they discarded that was so vital to all pig farmers.

Welcome to my World: I’m a collector of happy, sometimes sad, memories in the form of letters or notes |Nov 14, 2017

I’m a collector of sorts. You might say I’m a collector of happy, sometimes sad, memories in the form of letters or notes. Why do I save this stuff? Perhaps, for just a cold winter day like today.

Welcome to my World: I’m Hooked On PJs |Nov 7, 2017

It’s true. I’m hooked on pajamas, alias PJs, jimmies, jammies, jimjams, onesies, or whatever name you give them. I have summer drawers full of PJs, or what you’d call shorties, nightgowns, sleepshirts, and schlumpy T-shirts.

A Look Back in History: Travelling historic roads and bearing witness to architecture in our rural countryside |Nov 7, 2017

No matter what one’s station in life in America during Colonial times, there was room for all to make a home and seek happiness if they were able to meet the challenge. That so many of our ancestors exceeded in not only meeting that challenge but having devotion and inspiration to provide their families with “more” than the necessities of life, had given this nation a rich legacy of extraordinary architecture.

REFLECTIONS: This time of year is a downer |Nov 7, 2017

This time of year is as drab as dishwasher. It’s matched in dullness only by a conversation about the state of health of a fern. It’s more boring than watching the synthetic enamel fade on your mother-in-law’s dentures.

READERS’ VIEWS: Informative Richard Orth columns much appreciated |Oct 31, 2017

Your information have been interesting after I got my grandson to set up my CD capabilities. The number of chests the Biebers completed was awesome. I am pleased to be a descendant of the pioneer George Bieber and the extended family.

A Look Back in History: A Shared German Vernacular |Oct 31, 2017

This proper Americanism, Pennsylvania Dutch, has always indicated a broader group of immigrants who came to America in the pre-American Revolutionary period from Europe’s Rhine Valley, which should be preferred by all serious scholars over the term Pennsylvania German or German-American, since the latter of which are not Americanisms.

Welcome to my world: Creating my bucket list; be on Ellen Show, do impression of frying bacon |Oct 24, 2017

On our date night, maybe two years ago, my husband and I decided to start a bucket list. I think each of us might have placed two things on our list, ended up chatting about them, and never got any farther.

A Look Back in History: English architecture by Germanic builders, architecture of the PA Dutch |Oct 24, 2017

America’s early hinterland houses, built of native stone, are more than just well-constructed dwellings, they reveal the desire of the frontier inhabitants to be part of the architectural fashion of the day.

REFLECTIONS: The pause that refreshes |Oct 24, 2017

Many of us, myself included, don’t seem to live in the present anymore. That’s because we never fully engage in a given moment because we’re always in a hurry to move on to something else.

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.