From the Berks.TV Vault: Pagoda and Duryea Summer Hill Races




All geared up for the lazy, hazy days of summer? The hill climb racers of the Blue Mountain Region SCCA are about to rev things up, with the first of two planned events in Reading taking place June 23-24, 2007. The Pagoda Hill Climb is a 1-mile, 7-turn course ending near – you got it – the Pagoda in Reading, PA.

In these features from the Berks.TV video vault, you’ll get a taste of what the races are like.

Interviews with racers Lloyd Geib Jr. and Tammy Oswald

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Skip Levengood talks about how he got into racing and some of the special features of the Duryea Hill Climb

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See you at the races!

Blues City Blues Band

Blues City Blues Band

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We recently caught up with the Blues City Blues Band at a gig at Canal Street Pub & Restaurant in Reading, PA. Tom, Jim and Bill are a talented trio whose stylings are a combination of originals and covers. Check them out next time you’re in a blues mood. You won’t be disappointed!

Many thanks to Jake and all the folks at Canal Street for hosting the Berks.TV crew!

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Berks County Master Gardeners

Beth Finlay

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We recently caught up with Beth Finlay, Berks County’s Master Gardener Program Coordinator, at the Master Gardener Program’s biannual plant sale. The plant sales, held in May and September of each year, successfully fund the program’s many projects.

If you’re interested learning more about the Master Gardener program, or if you’re a Master Gardener interested in volunteering with the Berks County group, take a few minutes to watch Beth in the video as she describes the activities of the Program.

For more information, contact Beth at 610-378-1327 or visit the Master Gardener website at http://berks.extension.psu.edu/mg/.

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Toby Parese–Young NASCAR Star

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Toby Parese, a Governor Mifflin township sophomore, has been racing cars since he was 6 years old and he got his NASCAR license long before he even got his Pennsylvania driver’s license (which he did just 2 weeks ago–congratulations, Toby!).

Toby, who describes racing as “exhilarating,” travels every weekend to North Carolina to compete as a team member of the Bobby Waltrip Racing Group. As the youngest driver in his division, he frequently races against competitors 3 times his age.

This summer Toby’s family will be moving to North Carolina and Berks.TV couldn’t pass on the opportunity to chat with Toby before he moves out of Berks County.

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Gum Ran Youse–Local Award Winning Artist

Gum Ran

It was our pleasure this past weekend to meet Gum Ran Youse, a local artist specializing in oriental style painting. Gum Ran (or “Kay,” as she is also called) is currently displaying her art at The Little Yellow House Country Gift Shoppe in Boyertown. Her artwork has earned her a number of local awards, including the Visitor’s Choice award from the Berks Arts Council in the Reading Pagoda Gallery.

Kay introduced us to a few of the unique materials needed to create her beautiful paintings, including the brushes, ink and paper. She will be holding a “Meet and Greet” this weekend (details below), where you will have the opportunity to preview and purchase some of her work.

Gum Ran Youse Meet and Greet Details:
May 5th and 6th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The Little Yellow House Country Gift Shoppe
631 Manatawny Road
Boyertown, PA 19512
610-689-5254

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What’s Going On This Weekend In Berks County?

If you’re looking for something to do in Berks County this weekend, we highly recommend checking out one of the following:

Hawk Mountain

Visit Hawk Mountain in Kempton, PA. They are currently hosting a Spring Migration Watch where you can spot and identify northbound hawks. Or, if trees are more your thing, attend the Learn Your Trees walk in honor of Arbor day on April 28, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. For more information visit www.HawkMountain.org. To see footage from our autumn visit to Hawk Mountain, click here.

Maggie Spike Haley Sheeler

Hear some great music! There are two local acts we recommend–they’re on the same night, though, so you can only choose one!

Maggie Spike is playing April 27, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Pleasantville Inn in Oley, PA. For more information, visit their website at www.MaggieSpike.com. For a quick glimpse of their talent, click here.

Haley Sheeler is also playing April 27, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at City Espresso in Reading, PA. You can read more about Haley on her website, www.HaleySheeler.com and you can hear her thoughts about her most recent CD, as well as a sampling of her music by clicking here.

Berks County Wine Trail

It’s the Berks County Wine Trail’s Third Anniversary–visit one of the wineries to say Happy Wine-niversary and receive a discount on some local wine! For more information visit www.BerksCountyWinetrail.com. And to hear from a few of the wine makers, check out our interviews with them from last year’s wine festival in Jim Thorpe, PA.

Charlie Schaffer and Carl Zeplin Interview

Charlie Shaffer and Carl Zeplin Interview

We recently caught up with saxophonist Charlie Schaffer and guitarist Carl Zeplin prior to one of their gigs at in the cozy hall at Landhaven Bed and Breakfast in Huff’s Church, PA. They talked about how they got started in music, and what kids can do if they’re interested in becoming jazz musicians.

Look for a performance with these two and Bonnie Wren, coming up on Berks.TV in the near future.

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Taylor Huey Wins State Championship!

Despite sitting out last season with a broken foot, and a number of injuries this season, Berks Gymnastic Team member Taylor Huey (who you’ve seen before on Berks.TV) took the Level 9 state individual championship earlier this month and led her Level 9 Berks teammates to the team championship. Congrats to Taylor and the entire Berks Gymnastic Team!

Listen to my chat with Taylor about the state championships and what’s next for the 8th grader:

Tom Minick – Greater Reading Young Professionals

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Greater Reading Young Professionals president Tom Minick sat down with us recently to talk about what the group is up to.

“The state of Pennsylvania has a real issue with brain drain – people graduating from college and moving off to other states. We want to try to keep them here,” he said.

People in a variety of age groups and professions attend the organization’s events, Tom said.

Check out their website at http://www.greaterreadingyp.org/ for info about how to join.

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Berks Jazz Fest 2007 Interview Series – Part 4

Pat Martino and Chuck Loeb at Berks Jazz Fest

In this fourth and final installment from the recent Berks Jazz Fest, we talk with two more big names from the modern jazz world, Pat Martino and Chuck Loeb. The two collaborated in presenting a guitar master class towards the end of the event, and they chat a bit in this segment about how young people can get started in jazz.

“I think about when I first started playing the guitar, and I can really sum it up in one word,” Chuck said. “When I heard the music I wanted to play, I loved it so much. It was the love of the music that drove me to want to pursue it and go after what I want. A student should try to hold onto the initial desire and love that they have for it.”

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Related Stories:

Rick Braun, Mike Zielenski, and Dana Hoffmann at Berks Jazz Fest 2007

Gerald Veasley and Steve Oliver at Berks Jazz Fest 2007

Mindi Abair & Brian Bromberg at Berks Jazz Fest 2007

Mike Zielinski talks about what’s new at the 2007 Jazz Fest

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Berks Jazz Fest 2007 Interview Series – Part 3

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In this third installment from the recent Berks Jazz Fest, we talk with Allentown native Rick Braun, a prolific trumpet player known for his many solo albums and also his work with Boney James, Jeff Golub, and others. “For me it’s like coming home,” he says of the Jazz Fest.

Later in the segment, Mike Zielenski and Dana Hoffmann, publicity directors for the event, tell us about their own highlights and the excitement surrounding the annual Friday night All-Star Jazz Jam.

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Related Stories:

Gerald Veasley and Steve Oliver

Mindi Abair & Brian Bromberg at Berks Jazz Fest 2007

Mike Zielinski talks about what’s new at the 2007 Jazz Fest

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Berks Jazz Fest 2007 Interview Series – Part 2

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We were blown away by the smooth sounds of this year’s Berks Jazz Fest, and we were equally impressed by the opportunity to have a chance to talk with some of the legends of the modern jazz scene.

In this second segment in our interview series from the Jazz Fest, you’ll hear from Gerald Veasley, whose Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading is a major stop for national artists, and Steve Oliver, whose albums including the recent “Radiant” continue to earn the California-based vocalist and guitarist both critical and popular acclaim.

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Related Stories:

Mindi Abair & Brian Bromberg at Berks Jazz Fest 2007

Mike Zielinski talks about what’s new at the 2007 Jazz Fest

Below: Gerald Veasley talks with Berks.TV at the 2007 Berks Jazz Fest.

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Berks Jazz Fest 2007 Interview Series – Part 1

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Couldn’t get enough of the Berks Jazz Fest this year? Over the next few days, we’ll be featuring exclusive interviews with artists and organizers, giving you a glimpse behind the scenes and into the lives of people who make it happen.

In this first clip, you’ll hear from Connie Leinbach of the Berks Arts Council, the organization behind the event, plus two stars of the jazz world, Mindi Abair and Brian Bromberg.

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Related Stories:

Mike Zielinski talks about what’s new at the 2007 Jazz Fest

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Teen Challenge – Treatment Philosophy and Reading, PA Expansion Plans

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In this segment, we continue our conversation with director Rev. J. Jaime Santiago and intake director Joel Jakubowski of Teen Challenge, a global non-profit drug recovery and prevention organization with local headquarters in Rehrersburg, PA. They share about the organization’s recovery philosophy and their plans to expand part of the operation to Reading, PA.

In an earlier segment, they talked about Teen Challenge’s history and mission.

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Bonnie Wren – Mountain Mary Music – Fire on the Mountain CD

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If you’re looking for a sampling of grassroots singer/songwriter music in Berks County, PA, the CD Fire on the Mountain is a great place to start. In this segment we talk with Bonnie Wren of Mountain Mary Music, who compiled the CD centering on the music community of the Barto and Huffs Church areas of the county. We spoke with Bonnie one recent weekend at Landhaven B & B in Huffs Church, where some of the artists featured on the CD frequently perform.

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