BerksConnections

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If you’re looking for a unique volunteer opportunity, consider volunteering with BerksConnections, an agency that “connects people who need help with people who care.” BerksConnections’ programs and services aim to serve inmates from Berks County prisons, as well as their families.

We recently sat down with program director Christine Reichardt, and she explained the mission of the agency and the types of volunteer opportunities available.

To find out more about volunteering, contact Christine or Robin at 610-478-6920.

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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.

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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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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Teen Challenge – History of the Drug Recovery Program

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In this talk with director Rev. J. Jaime Santiago and intake director Joel Jakubowski, you’ll learn about the background and history of Teen Challenge, a global non-profit drug recovery and prevention organization with local headquarters in Rehrersburg, PA.

In a future segment with Jaime and Joel, you’ll hear about the organization’s recovery philosophy and their plans to relocate part of the operation to Reading, PA.

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Kevin Murphy – Berks County Community Foundation

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Learn more about the work of Berks County Community Foundation in this segment with president Kevin Murphy. The foundation manages around $42 million in assets and distributes $2.5 in grants annually to community efforts.

“It’s a constant job of going out and understanding what’s working in other communities, not only in the United States but around the world, and what’s not working in those communities, and how we can apply that to the challenges and opportunities that Berks County faces,” he said.

Some of the larger investments are directed towards the future of agriculture in the county and the nurturing of environmentally sustainable industries and practice.

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Doug Long – Greater Berks Food Bank

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Here’s an interview we did with Doug Long of the Greater Berks Food Bank. They’re a central support hub serving more than 227 programs and charities throughout Berks and Schuylkill Counties and the Pottstown area of western Montgomery County by distributing more than 3.5 million pounds (not a typo!) of food annually.

It is incredbily sobering to remember how many people in Berks are living in poverty – around 40,000 – and to think about the sacrifices made by so many volunteers to keep an operation like the food bank up and running.

Please help spread the word about volunteering with the Greater Berks Food Bank. Call 610-926-5802 for more information.

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Brittany Tranquillo – Greater Reading Chamber Winter Picnic

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Berks.TV took a break Tuesday night to visit the Greater Reading Chamber Winter Picnic, a standing favorite of the business community and a welcome diversion from the winter blues.

This year’s theme was “A Festival of Holidays Around the World.” We caught up with the Chamber’s Brittany Tranquillo at the picnic, who very modestly passed credit for the success of the event to her colleagues. Take a little credit, Brittany!

We’ll have more from the picnic in coming days.

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BCTV’s Ann Sheehan on the Upcoming Community Conversations Series

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Berks County, PA has a long history of pioneering interactive media, with Berks Community Television at the forefront in engaging people in a dialogue about their community.

The annual Community Conversations series on BCTV launches January 16 (check out the programming schedule), with topics to include health care, crime, immigration, education, and arts and entertainment. We sat down with Executive Director Ann Sheehan to talk about the series.

“One of the things that really makes BCTV programming better is when there’s a lot of participation by home viewers, so we hope that people will participate either by phone or by email and take part in the conversation,” she said.

This year for the first time, viewers will be able to Instant Message their comments and questions. Very slick!

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Grings Mill Holiday Lights

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Even the scrooges at Berks.TV crave a little holiday cheer now and again. The camera crew visited the Grings Mill light show at the park in Wyomissing, PA this weekend, only to stumble upon a conversation between an adult and a 6-year-old that reveals the true reason for edible Christmas tree decorations.

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Music provided by TinyHUGE.

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Reading Symphony Orchestra League Benefit Fashion Show Raises $15,000

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The Reading Symphony Orchestra League raised more than $15,000 in a recent benefit at the Sheraton in Wyomissing, PA. According to Caroline Dunford, an organizer of the event, 275 supporters attended the luncheon, which featured a fashion show with volunteer models from the community. Check out the video for highlights from the runway. See if you can spot Berks.TV managing editor Tara Karleen!

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Greater Reading, PA – The People and the Movement

We hear a lot these days about the idea of a Greater Reading, PA. Whether you think labeling the region “Greater Reading” is a good idea or not, it’s hard to deny there are changes afoot. This month, we’ll go in-depth with stories about West Reading, the newly revitalized borough that’s being mentioned as part of a “Greater Reading Corridor.” In the meantime, we wanted to highlight a few of the stories we’ve already published that seem to capture the essense of the new Greater Reading. There are many more coming. Stay tuned, and feel free to share your thoughts below.

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Jon Scott, Berks Economic Partnership, On Drawing New Business to Greater Reading, PA

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Tito Rivera and the Hip-Hop Culture Foundation in Reading, PA

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Governor Ed Rendell: More Opportunities Coming for Latinos in Greater Reading, PA

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RiverPlace’s Bob Behling on RiverPlace Projects – Using the Power of the Schuylkill River to Unite the Communities of Greater Reading, PA

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Know of something going on that you think represents the spirit of Greater Reading? How would you sum up how things are going? We’d love to hear from you. Please email us: editor@berks.tv or leave a comment below.

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RiverFest – Reminder of the New River Development in Reading, PA

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The recent RiverFest celebration in Reading, PA provided many opportunities to be reminded of the development efforts in progress along the stretch of the Schuylkill River running through the region. RiverPlace Development Corporation’s Bob Behling spent some time with us on camera in July explaining the details.

Video: RiverPlace’s Bob Behling – Using the Power of the Schuylkill to Unite Communities

Video: RiverPlace’s Bob Behling – Details on River Development Projects

NOTE: The image above is of part of the mural on the canal bridge near the Reading Area Community College’s Campus. The plate reads “Built by The Pennsylvania Steel Co., Steelton, PA, 1915”

The image below looks upriver along the walking path, which features the first in a series of planned plantings of Japanese Cherry Trees.

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This segment is sponsored by Pipe Up! Media, LLC, a Greater Reading, PA-based company offering web video, blogging, and search engine optimization services for companies of all sizes. Pipe Up! Media, LLC, is proud to support the strengthening and revitalization of our community. Contact them at info@pipeupmedia.com.