Honoring Veterans, Art in Milton, Community Service, Local History & More: Life Around The River Fall 2018
Photographs by Claire Oreskovich
Union County Veterans Honored
A conversation between two friends led to a monument honoring thousands of veterans.
“At the time we thought it was an impossible job but we knew we wanted to go for it,” Hess, 92, said.
Years of fundraising followed. Research yielded more than 2,200 names of Union County veterans. At first Hess and Machamer, now deceased, wanted the honor roll to be located in Lewisburg but plans for siting the monument shifted to Mifflinburg.
The World War II Honor Roll Monument was erected in the Mifflinburg Community Park on July 4, 2003; the dedication ceremony was held Nov. 8. The monument, 45 feet long by 8 feet tall, includes numerous bronze panels with 2,260 names of Union County men and women who served in World War II; 59 of those honored paid the supreme sacrifice.
Additional plaques honor those who served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, the destruction of the USS Cole and the attack and collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The final cost of the monument was $250,000. Hess, who serves as president of the Union County Veteran’s Foundation, does the majority of the monument’s upkeep, with help from son-in-law Doug Walter, of Lewisburg.
“I want to see what he and Drew started continue,” Walter said.
Three years ago Hess and Walter created a Veteran’s Day program to raise money for a different worthwhile organization each year. Past recipients have included the USO and Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors. This year’s ceremony, which will be held at 11 a.m., Nov. 3, at the monument, benefits the Hollidaysburg Veterans’ Home.
“The VA home is such a wonderful place to help as 100 percent of what is donated—whether it’s clothes, money or gift cards—goes to the residents,” Walter said.
“We want the young people to carry on the torch,” Hess added. “It is very important. We have a really good program.”
Visit SusquehannaLife.com/WebExtras for more information about the Veterans Day Ceremony Nov. 3, 2018.
Free: A Victorian Home
The Blaise Alexander dealership along Route 45, which has owned the home and lot since 2015, is expanding. That means there isn’t room for the house, which was the home of James Moore III, who was instrumental in founding the Baptist church in Lewisburg—what is now Bucknell University. Unless someone moves the Victorian home, the house will be demolished later this year or in early 2019 to make way for a lot to include 80 vehicles.
Aubrey Alexander of Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships said the dealership expansion is very much needed and the company is more than willing to give the house to someone free of charge, provided the person relocates it at their own cost.
“We have an old facility that is dated and very small,” Alexander explained. “Ford has been recommending dealers upgrade their facilities to better serve customers.”
Alexander said anyone seriously interested in moving the home should contact him by early September.
“I’ve had a few phone calls but nothing serious,” he said.
He said land survey and archaeological surveys were completed with no significant results.
Supervisor Char Gray cast the dissenting vote when East Buffalo Township Supervisors voted 2-1 last February to approve land development plans, which included demolition of the house. Most recently, the house and an adjoining structure accommodated The Victorian Lady and Vic’s Pub restaurants.
“My stand is you just don’t tear down a 180-year-old house,” Gray said. “In terms of the community, everyone I talk to is upset about this. I called Bucknell [University] and was told they weren’t interested in saving the house at this time. This reminds me of the Joni Mitchell lyric, ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.’“
While the home is significant for its connection to Moore, a founder of Bucknell University, Parker said he treasures the history the Victorian house has played in his family. Parker’s grandfather, Robert N. Parker, president of Pennsylvania House, purchased the home in 1936. After Robert’s wife Ruth died around 1945, their daughter and her husband, Virginia and Denver Dyer, moved from Tennessee to live with Robert until his death around 1958. Virginia sold the house after Denver died in 1972.
Anyone interested in moving the home should contact Aubrey Alexander at Aubrey@BlaiseAlexander.com.
Art in Milton
Five years ago Brice Brown, an artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, dreamed of creating an art space to focus on artists and conversations their work could generate. His vision, Milton Art Bank, has taken form at a renovated bank building at 23 South Front St., in Milton.
Brown chose Milton for the art bank location since it would “stand out” and reach people in a different way. He also liked Milton’s proximity to New York City, Lewisburg and State College.
Milton Art Bank is an experiment of sorts to see if art can effect change. The site is used for exhibitions, art installations and performances.
“I want to encourage curious dialogue and engaged participation as a way for people to become active agents of positive change in their community,” explained Brown, who holds dual residences in Milton and New York City.
Upcoming experiences include Surrealism, on display Nov. 1 through Feb. 24, 2019. The exhibition, in conjunction with an international conference on Surrealism at Bucknell University, will include a selection of European and American Surrealist works from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
“It will be unlike anything that's been shown in the Valley, and will include many museum-quality works by artists such as Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali and Francis Picabia, among many others,” said Brown. “There will be vitrines with rare ephemera such as first editions of Minotaure and Blues, both very important Surrealist magazines. We are also turning the vault—yes, we have a vault!—into a proper Kunstkabinett [cabinet of curiosities], curated from important local art collections.
Building Service, Character and Leadership
As district governor, Karpinski is responsible for the 12,000 Key Club members, and more than 200 Key Clubs, within the District of Pennsylvania, first chartered in 1947.
With more than 270,000 members from approximately 5,000 clubs in 30 countries, Key Clubs are sponsored by local Kiwanis International clubs, whose members include local business and professional people. Key Club not only functions on a local level, but also on a district [state] and international level.
“I really like to give back and it’s awesome to make a difference in so many lives,” Karpinski said. “Everyone should experience this in their high school years.”
“The fact you can move group to group and not lose any of the core values is really nice,” said Marsha Kouf, co-advisor of the Shikellamy Key Club.
Kouf is proud of Karpinski’s accomplishments, and those of all students she has worked with in Key Clubs, specifically those in the Shikellamy Key Club, the oldest in Pennsylvania. The club turns 75 in May 2019 and is sponsored by Sunbury and Northumberland Point Township Kiwanis clubs.
“Key Clubs serve a need for a lot of kids,” Kouf said. “Key Club can be where if you don’t feel like you fit in anywhere else, you can find your fit with Key Club. We focus on leadership, inclusiveness, character building and caring. If you are willing to volunteer, we are more than happy to help you.”
Kouf’s involvement with Key Clubs and Kiwanis goes back far longer than her years as co-advisor. She was a member of Builders Club and her father, Maurice Wilkinson, was a member of Kiwanis.
“It’s definitely in my blood,” she said. “It very much is a family atmosphere. We encourage kids to make this a life action or practice.”
For more information, visit PaKeyClub.org or Kiwanis.org.
Honoring History in Williamsport
Funds raised provide for beautification of the historic district through the purchase and maintenance of floral baskets mounted to the district’s lampposts during summer, and lighted wreaths and garlands on the posts during winter holidays. Funding also goes toward the planting and maintenance of rosebushes and flowers at the district’s main portal on West Fourth Street and to benefit the Rowley House Museum.
“I have always loved learning about the rich history of our area and especially during the opulent Victorian time-period,” said Jill Confair, chairwoman of the Victorian Christmas committee and co-chairwoman of the house tour committee. “These wonderful homes and buildings are truly a gift to our city, which need to be preserved and maintained for future generations to experience.”
“Grassy lots were filled with old tires and junk,” said Young, who is president of Victorian Christmas and co-chairwoman of the house tour committee. “Houses had leaky roofs, little paint and more. [While] having a glass of wine at the Peter Herdic House Restaurant, we decided to have a tour of homes in the historic district.”
That decision has led to a lasting community tradition that has helped shape the beautification of Williamsport’s historic district.
“The district is something of which to be proud and Victorian Christmas is one of the main events in our city,” Young said.
“We have more downtown historic buildings on the tour this year including the Scottish Rite and Acacia Club, the Community Arts Center, Old Corner Hotel and Williamsport’s City Hall, and all will have their history presented with photos of the past,” Confair said. “We plan to have copies of old photos depicting various other downtown locations versus current [ones].”
One special addition to the tour involves honoring Lyon, who died unexpectedly this year.
For more information, visit VictorianChristmaspa.com.