All Aboard! Carl Person – Delaware Valley Hi Railers – O-Gauge Trains in Reading, PA

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I have many great childhood holiday memories of pulling out my old HO train set with its grey and red Santa Fe engine and laying down some track on a piece of 4×8 plywood in the basement. From simple makeshift setups to elaborate layouts decked out for the holidays, model trains have to be one of the great all-time holiday traditions in the US.

Turns out that the model train community has some pretty serious practitioners. We caught up with Carl Person of Delaware Valley Hi Railers, a group of model train enthusiasts who had a HUGE 28×60 O-gauge setup at the recent Great Train Expo in Reading, PA.

Check out this video to learn more about their enormous setup, the work of the Hi Railers, and some ideas about how to get started if you’re new to the hobby. While you’re at it, take a spin over to their website where they’ve posted a bunch of photos and video.

Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

–Dan

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Delaware Valley Hi Railers in High Definition

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A special Thursday treat for you – the Delaware Valley Hi Railers video in high definition. It’s a big file, but well worth the download. The high resolution 1280×720 format gives you a better opportunity to appreciate all the attention to detail in the ‘Railers enormous three-rail O-gauge setup at the Great Train Expo in Reading, PA last month. I’ve watched this video a dozen times, and every time I discover something new. (We originally published this clip in 400×225 a few weeks ago.)

It’s especially appropriate that we post this high definition version, as we met some Hi Railers who shoot in high def as well. (We had a nice chat about that.) Here’s sending a big shout out to all the Hi Railers, and best wishes as they prepare for their next big setup.

NOTE TO READERS: If you’re into the high def thing, check out this interview with Janelle Wolfe shot on the Comcast Tonight set.

–Dan

Great Places to Ride Motorcycles in Berks County – Part One

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Sport, touring, or cruising? Loud pipes, or soft? No matter who you are, or where your preferences lie, eventually everyone should explore the scenery and history of Berks County – like one of its many covered bridges – on two wheels.

Check out the first in a multi-part series on great places to ride your motorcycle in Berks County.

Pagoda and Duryea Hill Climbs 2007

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We missed this year’s SCCA sanctioned Duryea Hillclimb, held last weekend in Reading, PA, but caught part of the earlier and shorter Pagoda Hill Climb in June. (Carl Oswald and his 1990 Mazda Miata, #481, pictured above, raced in that one.) Check out the full results from the Pagoda race.

Racers from all over the region gather for these two races – favorites among the hill climb community. Last year we talked a few area racers, including Skip Levengood and others.

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!

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.

Laura Hernandez – Hawk Mountain Intern – English Interview

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Here is the English-language interview we did with Costa Rica native Laura Hernandez, a tropical biologist and intern at Hawk Mountain, a raptor sanctuary and research center in northern Berks County, PA. (We published our Spanish interview with Laura earlier this week.) In this interview recorded in October, 2006 at South Lookout on Hawk Mountain, she answers our questions about her internship and how she became interested in the work at Hawk Mountain.

Interested in learning more about the life of a Hawk Mountain Sanctuary intern? Try Drew Weber’s blog. He’s an intern there this year and is blogging about his experience.

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Check out some of the other video segments we’ve published about Hawk Mountain on Berks.TV.

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Laura Hernandez – Hawk Mountain Intern – Spanish Interview

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Costa Rica native Laura Hernandez is a tropical biologist and an intern at Hawk Mountain, a raptor sanctuary and research center in northern Berks County, PA. In this interview recorded in October, 2006 at South Lookout on Hawk Mountain, she answers our questions about her internship in Spanish. We’ll publish the English version of this interview later this week.

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Hawk Mountain: The Birds and the Foliage

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If you aren’t able to visit the incredible spectacle of foliage and wildlife at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, in Kempton, PA this fall, you’re bound to enjoy seeing this footage from a recent weekend outing in northern Berks County. Each season the sanctuary plays host to osprey, broad-winged hawks, bald and golden eagles, and others. They float, rise, and mingle in the valleys and along the red-tinged ridges — mountains, farmlands, and civilizations their subjects.

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Check out earlier segments about Hawk Mountain Sanctuary on Berks.TV.

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Curious what others watch on Berks.TV? Visit the list of most-accessed videos on Berks.TV.

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Hawk Mountain History and Research

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In this follow-up to our first segment on Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, we learn about the history of the property and its long record of raptor research.

In 1934, Rosalie Edge, a women’s rights activist and conservationist, leased the property in an effort to end the raptor shooting and establish a wildlife sanctuary.

Environmentalist and author Rachel Carson visited Hawk Mountain and used its research data to build a case against DDT in her book Silent Spring.

Today the 2,600-acre property in northern Berks County, PA is both a destination for bird watchers from across North America and an outpost for migration research attracting professionals from around the globe.

Our thanks again to Lee Schisler, Jr. and all the Hawk Mountain staff for hosting the Berks.TV crew and granting permission to use the historical and educational photos you’ll see in this segment.

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Visiting Hawk Mountain This Fall

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This week we visited Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in northern Berks County, where it’s prime raptor migration season. We have lots more footage we’ll be sharing in the next few weeks, but we wanted to be sure to let you know what you can see there right now.

If you visit this time of year, there’s a decent chance of seeing a selection of broad-winged hawks, eagles, and osprey, among others. The morning we were there, the sanctuary, which is located just north of the Appalachian Trail on Blue Mountain, was visited by osprey, a bald eagle, and several northern harriers. On one recent day, sanctuary officials tallied more than 7500 broad-winged hawks.

In this clip, Hawk Mountain President Lee Schisler, Jr., talks about what visitors can expect this time of year–fall colors, a variety of raptors and other birds, and volunteers throughout the sanctuary to help visitors learn about the birds. We’ll tell you it’s well worth the visit.

In upcoming segments, we’ll hear more from Lee Schisler, Jr. about the history of the sanctuary and research and education programs offered there. We’ll also hear from a Costa Rica native working at the sanctuary as an intern this season.

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Duryea Hillclimb, the Racing Community, and In-Car Video from the 2006 Reading, PA Race

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In a recent segment about the Duryea Hillclimb in Reading, PA, hillclimb racer Skip Levengood waxed exuberant about the community of hillclimbers that gathers each summer at the base of Mount Penn for the Blue Mountain Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) sponsored event. “It’s one of the nicest bunch of people I’ve ever been around” he said.

In this video you’ll see more testimonials to the race and its community — like one from Lloyd Geib Jr., who hasn’t missed the race in more than 40 years (look for his white 1959 MGA #111), and another from Tammy Oswald of Lower Alsace Township, who got into the sport after her husband bought her a race car.

There’s also plenty more ear- and eye-popping footage from the start line and from behind the spectator’s fence from just above turn three. If anyone knows why so many of the cars are yellow, we’d love to hear from you!

HILLCLIMB ON GOOGLE VIDEO: The weekend the hillclimb took over Mount Penn, we met some of the people behind the stomach-turning hillclimb videos getting tons of hits on Google Video lately. Fabio Vlacci kindly gave us permission to embed one of his videos here. We chose this one of his 2006 Duryea time trial in a Toyota MR2. It’s totally cool that this group is into new media like video sharing on the web. Many of them don’t leave the pits without a camcorder strapped into the cockpit!

MORE ABOUT THE RACE: The race is named after the road that starts at the bottom of the mountain, and the road is named after Charles Duryea, the man who invented the world's first hillclimbing car. Duryea tested his inventions right there on the mountain.

The race's thirteen turns, 800-foot-plus elevation change, and 140 mile-per-hour top speeds make the Duryea Hillclimb one of the favorite courses on the hillclimb circuit in North America.

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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. Let Pipe Up! Media help get your business or event online with their unique self-publishing model. Contact them at info@pipeupmedia.com.

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Tri-County Wing Snapper John Messersmith on Types of RC Aircraft

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Last week we promised smoke blowin’ RC aircraft action, and here it is.

We also promised that you’d hear from veteran radio control aircraft pilot and Tri-County Wing Snapper member John Messersmith. For those of you contemplating a start in the hobby, John’s description of the various types of aircraft could be just what you need to get going.

And there’s plenty more gorgeous footage of clear-sky flying for your enjoyment. Let us know what you think of the slow-mo action!

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NOTE TO READERS: Once in a while we think it’s okay to toot our own horn. This week, Berks.TV got a rave review on BloggyAward — a rating of nine out of ten. Not bad for a brand new blog! We’re grateful for such a glowing write-up.

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Radio Control Enthusiasts in Berks County; Jim Ellis Flies His First Chopper Loop

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A clear weekend afternoon on a hilltop in Hamburg, PA, was the setting for this segment exploring the world of radio control aircraft enthusiasts in Berks County. More than a dozen pilots were on hand to take advantage of the spectacular flying conditions at the field where members of the Tri-County Wing Snappers gather each weekend to refine their dips, tricks, and rolls–or just relax and enjoy the view from the clubhouse.

Paul Hartley, president of the Tri-County Wing Snappers, talked about the club’s work and some ideas on how newcomers can get their bearings.

The enormous Giles 202 you see at the beginning of this segment belongs to Lee Buskirk. Later on, Jim Ellis flies his first chopper loop. We were lucky to capture it on camera. Congrats, Jim!

In a future segment, veteran RC pilot John Messersmith talks about the variety of types of RC aircraft, and we’re treated to smoke-blowin’ fly-bys.

NOTE: The TCWS pilots are real media buffs, too. They were shooting digitals that day, including some of Berks.TV’s Dan Karleen, and had posted them on their website in less than 24 hours. They’ve been shooting lots of video and posting it online, too.

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