Columns

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.

LOWMAN S. HENRY: Black-robed blunder: Judges now writing laws |Jul 26, 2017

If you ever wonder how far off track the judicial branch of government can stray cast your eyes to the Sunshine state where a county court judge actually struck down a law on the basis that it was rewritten by legislators, not by the judiciary.

JOHN C. MORGAN: The power of free speech |Jul 26, 2017

Long ago and not so far away I started working as a journalist on a daily Ohio newspaper. I had just graduated with a master’s degree in philosophy. What does a graduate degree in philosophy get you other than walking around asking lots of questions but not really having a job, like Socrates of old?

Welcome to my world: Listening to the silence |Jul 12, 2017

I happened to come across a title for this story through a leaflet that came in the mail. In my case, I’ve learned to listen to inward silence through the practice of meditation. Yet, looking back on my life, I realized silence also spoke to me, in a seemingly different way, especially in nature.

A Look Back in History: Farm women turned out plenty of fresh bread and pies in outdoor bake ovens |Jul 12, 2017

The quaint bake oven as it is found in the Pennsylvania Dutch region was an outstanding invention for its time, far superior to any found elsewhere in America. As European families transferred their white man’s culture to the virgin forests of Pennsylvania introducing their frontier farmsteads to the area, there was no other invention, expect perhaps the large frontier fireplaces, that intrigued the native Indians more than these outdoor bake-ovens.

NATHAN BENEFIELD: Reinventing Pennsylvania government |Feb 24, 2017

Imagine if Stephen King had written “Green Eggs and Ham.” What if Dr. Seuss had penned “The Shining?”

CHRIS FREIND: We need common sense in immigration debate |Feb 24, 2017

The immigration debate was back in the headlines. Par for the course, both parties’ spewed lip-service on the need for reform, while simultaneously killing any meaningful legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform hasn’t gone anywhere in decades, making it clear that neither party’s ruling class wanted it.

Carole Christman Koch: President’s Inauguration firsts, traditions, and more: Part 2 |Jan 22, 2017

Part 2 Franklin Pierce, in 1853, accepted his presidency, but was still in mourning. Just a few months prior to the ceremony, the Pierces lost their 3rd and last child in a railroad accident, that both witnessed.

A Look Back: How PA Dutch Are You: Did you eat your good luck pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day? |Dec 31, 2016

This folk practice still creates a yearning, especially among our older folk people and those still appreciative of our heritage and a good, hot Pennsylvania Dutch meal. Many Dutch families over the generations and years never forget this dish on New Year’s Day and eagerly partake in the consumption of pork and sauerkraut.

Think about it: Becoming a full-time member of AARP |Dec 28, 2016

“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.” — Ann Landers

person to person — impact: Better Than MREs* |Dec 26, 2016

Over ten years ago, Barb and I, along with several others from our church, started a program we called Operation Encouragement. The objective of the program was to pray for, communicate with and send care packages to the men and women serving in our Armed Services.

A look back at history : New Year, New Ideas, New Horizons in the PA Dutch Culture |Dec 26, 2016

Plain groups as the Old Order Mennonites and Amish continue to prosper in our area and expand, protecting our rich and vast farmland. Nearby Plain Brethren, once called “Dunkards,” the sect that founded Pricetown in the Oley Hills, still maintain their 18th Century Brethren Meeting House off the modern Pricetown Road.

A Look Back in History: 19th Century cane carvers of the PA Dutch Country |Nov 23, 2016

Locally, the most popular cane carver, “Schtockschnitzler Simmons” (1885-1910) from the Kutztown, Moselem, Hamburg area was a late German born immigrant who bartered his carved bird handle canes from farm to farm or tavern to tavern.

Think about it: The Sponge Capital of the World |Nov 23, 2016

“Do you ever wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.” — Stephen Hawking

person to person — impact: In His Time |Nov 23, 2016

The main speaker in my column of November 8th, “Precious In His Sight: Bill Montgomery” (http://www.berksmontnews.com/opinion/20161103/person-to-person-precious-in-his-sight-bill-montgomery), which talked about the home going of Bill Montgomery, indicated his death was no accident.

A Look Back in History: Interesting Folk Days rooted in Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers (pun intended) |Oct 18, 2016

Pennsylvania Dutch rural folklore was important in providing Rhineland peasants with knowledge of becoming successful American farmers. Although most PA Deitsch folklore revolved around their religion, it is dubious that Grundsau Day (Groundhog Day) was purely an American idea.

Welcome to my World: Grave Epitaphs |Oct 18, 2016

Every summer that I can remember as a kid, Mom insisted Pop drive to visit the gravesites of both the Christman’s, in Lehigh County, and the Kohler’s, in Berks County. Mom also took us on walks to the family cemetery of the Siegfried’s, from Siegfriedsdale, located near our farm.

A Look Back in History: The Americanism ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ still preferred today |Sep 28, 2016

Since Colonial times our ancestors were referred to as the Americanism, “PA Dutch,” a term widely used to describe these immigrants by suburban Philadelphians, who followed the local Quaker-American colloquialism, as people today.

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Decorating with family heirlooms |Aug 3, 2016

There is an overwhelming abundance of home makeover TV shows and online blogs about redecorating, redesigning and reconsidering the objects with which we live. Antiques and family heirlooms are front and center when it comes to innovative design.

Think About It - The beginning and end of a story: Part II |Aug 3, 2016

“Life is an open book full of blank pages. You write the story as you go.” - Anonymous

Think About It - The beginning and end of a story: Part I |Jul 27, 2016

“Great literature is one of two stories: A man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” - Leo Tolstoy

Think About It: The life-changing magic of tidying up |Jul 20, 2016

“Life truly begins after you put your house in order.” - Marie Kondo

THE TABLE: Chile, South America |Jul 14, 2016

The country of Chile that is located on the Pacific Ocean’s western coast of South America is often pronounced as Chilly (like the weather), but to be correct, it is pronounced “Chil-ay.

Think About It: What is the Secret Sauce? |Jul 13, 2016

“Every time you share an overused platitude on Facebook, an angel loses its wings.” - Anonymous

Think About It: My final day as president |Jul 6, 2016

“Memory is the mother of wisdom.” - Aeschylus

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: The art of storing china |Jun 29, 2016

If you have your heirloom china, crystal, porcelain and knickknacks in a lighted china closet or display case with lamps inside, don’t position your collectibles too close to the lamps. Once, during an in-home appraisal service call, I had to break the news to a Waterford crystal collector who had her entire collection on display in just such a cabinet.

Think About It: How to play workplace poker |Jun 23, 2016

“In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, they are not.” - Unknown (though some say Manfred Eigen or Albert Einstein)

Think About It: I wasn’t born yesterday |Jun 16, 2016

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” - John Keating

THE TABLE: Washington, D.C. - The United States capital |Jun 9, 2016

I keep a list of cities and areas I plan on featuring in THE TABLE. On the list was Washington, D.C. On Memorial Day Sunday, while watching the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, the list came to mind, and that Washington had not been addressed.

Think About It: Facing an impossible challenge |Jun 9, 2016

“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” - Orison Swett Marden

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Vintage wedding trends |Jun 2, 2016

June is a most popular month for weddings. A new trend in weddings is throwback nuptials that highlight antique and vintage elements that enhance the wedding day experience.

Think About It: Four things women want from a man |Jun 2, 2016

“I don’t have to prove these principles; I know they work. How do I know? My wife told me so.” - Dr. A. R. Bernard

Think About It - Thoughts on retirement: Part II |May 25, 2016

Last week I shared some preliminary thoughts on my retirement as the president of the University of Valley Forge on June 30, 2016. And since the UVF Board of Trustees surprised and blessed Evie and me with a one year sabbatical when I will serve as President Emeritus with no responsibilities from June 2016 to June 2017, this season of our lives will soon be coming to a close.

Think About It - Thoughts on retirement: Part I |May 18, 2016

Perhaps you have heard the news that I am retiring as President of the University of Valley Forge on June 30, 2016. For some time Evie and I have been pondering the possibilities of retirement, knowing that sooner rather than later this time would come.

Think About It: There’s no crying in baseball |May 12, 2016

“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” - Carl Jung

Think About It: Soda vs. Pop vs. Coke |May 5, 2016

“There really isn’t anything more refreshing then iced Coke out of the old school bottles.” - Mark Zupan

Think About It: The story of a great storyteller |Apr 28, 2016

“It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars.” - Garrison Keillor

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Dr. Lori’s Kid Collectors |Apr 28, 2016

At my public antiques appraisal events held at venues nationwide, many of my audience members are kids. Some of these kids remind me of my childhood. I was a kid who spent many a weekend touring local flea markets and yard sales with my dad.

Think About It: Big thoughts on small talk |Apr 20, 2016

“Small talk is the biggest talk we do.” - Susan RoAne

Think About It: Farmall tractors and childhood memories |Apr 13, 2016

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” - Corrie Ten Boom

Think About It - Choosing to cheat: Balancing work and family |Apr 7, 2016

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” - Goethe

Think About It: Thriving in the dark |Mar 31, 2016

“The race is won by those who keep running through the dark.” - Ann Voskamp

Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Spring cleaning tips |Mar 31, 2016

Spring cleaning has its drawbacks and its advantages. The drawbacks are obvious... Nobody really likes to clean. Once the task is complete, the advantages to spring cleaning include additional storage space, discovering items that you thought you lost and some quick cash if you work to sell some of your unwanted stuff online.

Think About It: Thinking about apples |Mar 24, 2016

“Anyone can count the number of seeds in an apple but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” - Robert H. Schuller

Think About It: The incomparable joys of a snow day |Mar 17, 2016

“Snow provokes responses that reach back to childhood.” - Andy Goldworthy

Think About It - The wit and wisdom of Erma Bombeck: Part II |Mar 9, 2016

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” - Erma Bombeck

Think About It - The wit and wisdom of Erma Bombeck: Part I |Mar 2, 2016

“He who laughs... lasts.” - Erma Bombeck

Arts & Antiques by Dr. Lori: Tips for home organizing |Mar 2, 2016

At my recent appraisal stage show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an audience member presented me with a six-page long list of the tips that I had provided during my appraisal show. I was a little taken aback by the volume of paper sheets filled with scribbled notes.

Think About It: The value of passion |Feb 25, 2016

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” -Bishop T. D. Jakes

Think About It: The right and wrong way to fall |Feb 17, 2016

“If you can’t fly, then run; if you can’t run, then walk; if you can’t walk, then crawl; but whatever you do, you have to keep going.” - Martin Luther King Jr.