25 March 2011

news, not blues will be at the wellness fair tomorrow !

news, not blues will be at the boyertown area community wellness council's sixth annual wellness fair tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the new gym areas of boyertown area senior high school. the event is free, anyone is welcome, and door prizes galore will be up for winning-grabs. 

stop by to pick up some copies of the publication. some freebie reiki may also be available ! 

17 March 2011

( march introductions: the half moon café )

march introductions: the half moon café
by jennifer hetrick
with two seasonally done sessions per year, clay on main in oley is home to the areas’s only 60s style music coffeehouse under the sky-spent moniker of the half moon café.
for five years now, the café has operated on select friday nights, dimmed lights and all, each march through may and september through december, to avoid the costly expenses of summer cooling and winter heating.
mike petrauskas of earlville runs the gigs, while his wife kathy kolb makes sure plenty of coffee is brewing and that mugs are freshly clean for use by those sitting at the many two-seater tables which make up the half moon café.
it’s very intimate, in a small room,” petrauskas said, noting that on a good night, it fills easily with 45 to 50 people in the audience.

musician bonnie wren & mike petrauskas played together last may in the final spring session at the half moon café

photograph courtesy of mike petrauskas
aside from coffee, those who show up often can choose from assortments of cookies or grapes and sometimes even tomato pie or soft pretzels for nibbling minutes.
a $5 donation is requested at the door since this setup is nonprofit through clay on main, but petrauskas said people who check out the café nights often throw in extra money just because they believe in the cause and this little dose of extra culture in the town as weekends approach.
the money collected is split between the performers and clay on main to pay for utility bills, petrauskas said.
very selective in his lineup of performances, petrauskas tries to ensure that the artists who visit have the charisma to fit the atmosphere of the half moon café.
“even as teenagers, we staged pretend coffeehouses in our basements,” petrauskas said, revealing that he has wanted to do something like this his whole life.
so when he tested out the space in clay on main five years ago, his dream took shape and continues by the increasing crowds and lines of regulars dedicated to the few friday nights he is able to host the coffeehouse.
among the usual offerings of shows, petrauskas also hosts one night called jammin’ for dollars to help support the café. this fundraiser last year involved lasagna for the audience, at a higher donation amount but goes toward helping the volunteer operation to stay afloat. this year’s event, slated for of all days, april 1, will be to raise money for a pellet stove to replace having to heat the space with increasingly unaffordable oil.

petrauskas said not only is the audience receptive and often coming back for more, but the performers themselves loves to play at the venue again and again each new season.
the planned shows for this spring are—

march 18 - maggie spike

april 1- mike, alan, dominique & friends
(& some special guests)

april 8 - jammin' for dollars

april 15 -mike holliday

april 29 - charlie & amy

may 13 - the barn swallows

may 27 - chuck longenecker & friends 

to find out more about the half moon café, search for it on facebook, visit www.clayonmain.org, or contact petrauskas by e-mail at mikepet@dejazzd.com.

news, not blues donated rabbis of the air by philip terman to the boyertown community library.

news, not blues just donated rabbis of the air by philip terman to the boyertown area community library.

check it out soon in the library, especially if you're curious to glean what it is to say a peck of poop on repeat.

terman is another pennsylvania poet but of the western stretch of the state.

14 March 2011

( wellness fair rounds out its sixth year )

wellness fair rounds out its sixth year
by jennifer hetrick
hop, trot, skip, or speed-walk on out saturday, march 26, for your health, and visit the cub & bear gym areas of the boyertown area senior high for the sixth annual wellness fair—at no admission cost.
the boyertown area community wellness council sponsors this event every spring in hopes of reeling members of the area out of their homes and into the mindset of making efforts to put health first at the family and individual level.
with more awareness in recent years of the need to mingle health into better habits, the council formed in the mid-2000s with people from pottstown memorial medical center, teachers in the local school district, doctors, parents of students, senior citizens, and other members of the community on the council, totaling to 18 active members.
“the pottstown area health & wellness foundation is always our biggest sponsor,” said carla haydt, director of the council.
vendors usually total around 30 to 40, haydt said, with local businesses and organizations doing wellness-geared tasks around the community.
yoga and fitness center instructors will be offering demonstrations, with belly dancing and heart monitoring samplings usually involved. obstetricians, those running holistic operations, and even clayote will be on site at the fair.
because of the event’s theme, haydt is deservingly picky about the vendors who are allowed to sign up, and each one in some way or another is promoting the idea of overall body and life wellness in their endeavors.
the american cancer society, brookside montessori school, lehigh valley vegetarians, new hanover chiropractic, royal medical, master kim's black belt academy, serenity junction wellness center, reading-berks auto club foundation for safety, berks east gymnastics, chestnut knoll, and mothers against drunk driving are just a handful of the vendors at this year's wellness fair.
sometimes people suddenly recognize resources in the community for the first time by  visiting the fair, haydt said, like how every saturday in-season, right down the street is plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, pies, and more at the boyertown farmers’ market, in the vein of supporting locally and knowing food is raised by fellow residents and nearby pennsylvanians, not shipped from across the country for days on end, picked before its prime.
haydt said this sudden light bulb in the brain effect of fair goers learning about these great parts of the community aimed toward better eating, care for health, and improving lifestyles is a huge part of what the event is all about each year.
free food and water are available as well, with carrots and make-your-own-trail-mix as an option for when hunger hits.
an event poured into each instance of the wellness fair is the running of the bears. this is a competition in which elementary students at the seven buildings in the boyertown area school district see who can perform the most laps throughout the day.

( the running of the bears

photograph courtesy of carla haydt )

the running of the bears became a part of the wellness fair three years ago and involves a fellow named healthy bear. the school with the highest number of laps by day’s end wins, with the trophy as the annually traveling healthy bear—painted as a track runner, made of fiberglass, and intended as a miniature of the bears around town—taking a nice year-long stay at the winning school.
in the first year, washington elementary school took the decorative bear home, and in the past two years, boyertown elementary school has secured the most laps, bringing healthy bear back to the second street location.
last year, haydt and her fellow council members brought in a moon bounce for the first time, which she said was of course a smash of a good time for the kids.
an obstacle course is also always incorporated into the event to keep young children active and in line with valuing the importance of agility and blending brainpower with body movement.
haydt anticipates that around 500 people will lightly waltz their way through the fair this year and noted that it is open to anyone, even those outside of the local school district.
door prizes will also be given away to attendees from select vendors, with a list of them noted in the program for the day.
this year’s wellness fair runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. more information can be found on the boyertown area community wellness council’s website at www.bacwc.org. 

01 March 2011

( oley strives for a library )

oley strives for a library
by jennifer hetrick
a stretch of communities tucked side by side but without their own local library seems like it couldn’t be reality in today’s world, but this is the oley valley’s situation, and some residents are pushing forward in changing this fact into a better one.
helen clogston of oley township, along with two co-chairs and a handful of active volunteers, are a part of the oley valley library committee. ideas for the group forming sparked two years ago when it became known that oley’s post office would be closed down after the mail-sorting operation moved to a new building.
the co-chair visionaries thought the old building would be a great location for a library, especially since the county’s bookmobile system stopped serving the area by 2009.
oley has the only school district in berks county without the support of a local library, and the surrounding townships of pike, alsace, and ruscombmanor are a part of this void.
the nearest neighboring libraries are in boyertown, 10 miles, exeter, also 10 miles, muhlenberg, 8 miles, and fleetwood, 6 miles away from oley’s main street.
“a library brings a lot to the community—it builds community itself,” clogston said, noting that it’s a place for residents to share space, material, information, and the valuable attribute of access to it.
the committee met with the county library system in the beginning to find out what it takes to create a library, which clogston said involved a lot of information gathering on her part, as none of those striving to establish a library in oley have experience working in this arena of life.
the county system is ecstatic because they did not agree with cancellation of the bookmobile, and they really felt that left a hole in their service—that we’re being underserved here,” clogston said.
with regularly encouraging support of the committee and time spent answering its  members’ questions, the county library system has also donated at least $2,000 in startup materials, including software to catalog the collected books and movies thus far, and what’s needed to make them library-ready.
committee members have also met with the four surrounding townships’ officials, as a community library to eventually be a part of the berks county system must have financial backing from its municipalities in order to open and operate.
“each and every person we’ve spoken to supports a library, in principle,” clogston said.
“the reality though is that they’re feeling financial pressures from all fronts, and they are all challenged by the idea of where they’re possibly going to come up with money to support this,” clogston elaborated.  “how they’re going to find this money is a really big question for them, but i’m optimistic and hopeful that they will do it because we can’t start a library without them.”

(edit: pike township agreed tonight to donate $500 to the oley valley library committee, the first pledge of support from the four surrounding townships !)
with an overwhelming response of enthusiasm from the community since creating the committee, clogston stressed that those in support of a library should tell their township officials how they feel about the importance of making this project a reality.
the committee’s website states that “a funding commitment of about $5 per capita at the local level is all it will take for our library to become eligible for the additional county and state funding that would make up the larger share of the budget. this is less than the price of one book or one dvd, but will provide our residents access to thousands of books and movies, for free.”
the oley valley school district’s administration has in the meantime been incredibly supportive in that they’ve opened a temporary space for the committee’s supply of materials in a room in their building on jefferson street.
clogston intends to open a first official temporary library this summer, and the school district is considering letting it be run regularly out of its administration building, with extra space available.

“they’ve been really kind, have accommodated us, and allowed us to have a book sale on the premises in their off-season, bending their own rules when we have a requests,” clogston said about the oley valley  school district’s administration.
the district lets the committee use its several rooms at no cost for rent, electric, or heat.
the one room they donated to the committee has led to four used rooms now, with more than 20,000 items for the future library to circulate.
clogston noted that the county requires at least 4,000 items be a part of new libraries, which means oley is well supplied in their stacks of donated books and films so far.

( all photographs courtesy of helen clogston )

students from oley valley high school regularly perform volunteer  hours to the committee on fridays, and a student liaison who has been involved since the beginning is an integral element in this process.
a book sale in august and an open house tour in december have proved themselves as fundraisers showing the community’s belief in creating a library, with success brimming from each event.

“people don’t say—if there’s a library, they say when there’s a library, now,” clogston said about how seriously locals are taking this effort.
and from this, she said she’s determined to make a library something real in the community.
if clogston’s hopes of opening a temporary library in oley fall in line with truth by the warmer months later in the year, she said it would likely be available for patron use 20 hours per week.
funds raised are halfway toward the committee’s current goal of $20,000 to go toward salary for staff.
looking back on the possibility of using the old post office building as a library, clogston pointed out that it is in severe disrepair and would cost minimally $200,000 to renovate for public use, along with the need for installing an elevator. but aside from those weighted factors, she admitted that it has a perfect location.
more than 100 people have contributed to the eventual library in some way or another by now, clogston said, but what she recently realized is that some people don’t know that volunteering is an option.
“we have people who love to alphabetize, but that’s not for everybody,” clogston said about how there are all sorts of volunteering opportunities in the committee’s endeavors.
the next used book sale to help fundraise for the committee is scheduled for saturday, april 9 at 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. at the oley fairgrounds.
to find out more about how to bring a library into the oley valley, visit the committee’s website at www.oleylibrary.org and search for them on facebook under oley community library.