Berwick Historical Society Update – Johanna Naus

April 23, 2015 –  Rotarian Kay Mentrikoski chaired the program this week and invited Gary & Johanna Naus to our meeting. Both Gary and Johanna are very active in the Berwick Historical Society. Gary is the treasurer and Johanna is the Jackson Mansion Coordinator. Johanna did most of the speaking and gave us all quite a bit of information pertaining to the history of the mansion as well as the current activities of the group. naus -1

The society itself was organized when a group of individuals gathered on January 8, 1938. They decided to list objectives and issue a mission statement which basically was to gather and preserve articles and history which pertained to Berwick.  The society met for many years at the old Market St. School, which is now the site of the McBride Memorial Library and later in the 100 block of E. Second St. in Berwick. In 2010, the group and their artifacts moved into the carriage house at the Jackson Mansion. The new location houses an office, museum, library and genealogy room. There are many recourses available for anyone looking for history facts. There are old obituaries, old yearbooks, history books, artifacts, etc.

Jackson Carriage House BL-1

The Jackson Carriage House Museum is open on
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, 11am – 4pm

Much of the mansion has been restored to its beautiful, original condition, thanks to donations and sponsorships. The first room completed was Jane’s room. Jane was Col. Jackson’s daughter. The second room completed was the family dining room. The dining room renovation was made possible by the Berwick Hospital Gift Shop committee. When the gift  shop closed, the members decided to donate their remaining funds to the society. As of today, all of the first floor rooms have been completed using only donations and sponsorships. Many of the upstairs room are complete as well. It is truly an amazing home and the society has done a wonderful job at completing the work and paying attention to details. Luckily, Col. Jackson had photographs taken, which are in the possession of the society, and used for reference.  

There are opportunities for everyone to be a part of the restoration. The society has a long list of sponsors who have donated items and money toward the decoration of the home. If you would wish to donate and become a sponsor, I’m sure Johanna would take your call and Gary would deposit your check. The Jackson Mansion is available to tour on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. There is a fee to tour, but if you join as a member, there is a discount. One of the most beautiful times to visit the mansion is early December during Victorian Nights. The home is open for a candlelight tour and decorated for the holidays as it would have been at the turn of the last century. It is truly impressive. 
Jackson Mansion L2-1

Jackson Mansion 2015

Thank you to Gary and Johanna for their involvement with the Berwick Historical Society and dedication toward the  preservation of the Jackson Mansion. Also thanks to Kay for arranging a very interesting program.


Designing the Community you Want to Hang Your Hat In – Josh Nespoli

April 16, 2015 – Jodi Alley invited Josh Nespoli to speak with us. Josh is the grandson of former Rotarian, Joe Nespoi, Sr., and has many wonderful memories of attending Rotary meetings. He remembers coming to parent/child evening, enjoying the entertainment and being impressed by all the members and seeing the leaders of the community all in one room. To Josh, it was a big deal. And to his Pop Pop, Rotary was a big deal.

Josh Nespoli-1Josh is now an adult and wants Berwick to be a big deal. He has undertaken the task of interviewing Berwickians, a series of questions with the purpose of finding out their feelings on ‘Designing the Community You Want to Hang Your Hat In’.   Josh has a goal of 2,000 interviews and to date, he has completed 117, ranging in ages from 14 – 68. He would like to reach his goal by the end of the summer and is asking for assistance. He’d like to have the Berwick Rotary Club be a part of it. If anyone would like to help, you can contact Josh for an interview guide by emailing:

The purpose of the questionnaire is to help rebuild Berwick into a strong community. The last 15 years or more, our area has had a slow recession and Josh feels that it is possible for any town, anywhere to be rebuilt. However, it will take more than 1 or 2 people. It must be a community effort. So he’s trying to find out what’s positive now and build upon it. He wants future generations to have many fond memories, as well.

Some of the things Josh would like to know is, ‘What are we good at? What do you want us to look like? What are your wishes? And, what role can you play?

Once the interviews are completed, Josh hopes to form a committee and build a strategic plan, so there can be a common vision. He would like the plan to build momentum and perhaps work with the Blueprint Community,  the Columbia County Housing Authority and coordinate with local agencies, groups and businesses. This process has a proven track record. Longmont, Colorado, had success using this method and moved itself to one of the top 100 best places, in the country, to live. Josh is confident that Berwick can do the same thing. He’d like to use everyone’s  avenues toward the same end; a better and stronger Berwick. Can you help?

Many thanks to Jodi for arranging a very interesting program and also for inviting Josh’s brother, Marc to join us. Marc is the owner of Fuel Fitness in Berwick and also has many fond memories of his grandfather and Rotary.

Animal Chiropractics – Dr Maria McElwee

If you were unable to attend, you missed a very interesting program which pertained to Animal Chiropractics.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Maria McElwee, from Sugarloaf, PA. Dr. McElwee is a graduate of Bloomsburg University, Sherman College of Chiropractic, Boiling Springs, SC and Options for Animals, Wellsville KS.

Animal_Chiro-1It took quite a bit of education, but Maria is doing exactly what she always wanted to do.  Although she has no physical office, she offers a mobile service and will travel to help an animal in need.  Most of her patients are horses and dogs. Like humans, animals develop aches and pains and need an adjustment,  or a manipulation of the spine. The spine protects the central nervous system and when vertebrae become misaligned,  it can cause decreased performance, uneven walk or gait, refusal to jump, bucking, abnormal posture, licking of fur, favoring one side, etc.

Dr. McElwee adjusts only by hand and the animals benefit by living a healthier life with proper nerve function, promotes healing and function within the body and restores function and proper communication within the body.

Thanks to Dr. Tom Kowalchick for inviting Dr. McElwee to speak with us. 

Contact info. –

                        (570) 447-8388

Farmer’s Night 2015

This year,  Farmer’s Night was held on March 25th and featured Deputy Secretary Gregory Hostetter as speaker for the evening.  Farmers_Night_2015-2Over 30 farmers and Rotarians were on hand to hear and update from our speaker about the on  going business of the Department of Agriculture.  Greg is a working farmer in addition to being a Deputy Secretary so he was able to relate very well with the farmers who were on hand.

Greg described some of the challenges that the state has been dealing with over the last year.  The Department of Agriculture over sees many different areas of business and their deputies often have overlapping specialties in order to deal with it all.Farmers_Night_2015-3  They handle weights and measures, seed analysis, chemical analysis, watershed protection, animal health, and the state conservation commission to name a few. 

Farmers_Night_2015-1Our farmers and Rotarians had an opportunity to ask several questions following the talk and we thanked Greg for joining us.  Thanks also to Bill Osborne for getting our special dessert made up at Dalo’s!

Berwick Pool Project Update–Jim Meighan

This week’s meeting, March 19th,  featured an update on the Berwick Pool from Jim Meighan, a member of the Berwick Area Swimming Pool Association, and current Berwick Town Councilman. Jim is a long time resident of Berwick, graduated from Berwick High in 1956 and is now retired from the Berwick Police Department after 25 years of service. Jim has also served on the Berwick Council for 12 years.

Jim brought us an update on challenges the Pool Association has been dealing with in getting the Berwick Pool back up and running. The pool was originally built in 1972 and consisted of 3 sections, a toddler pool, intermediate pool and adult pool. The pool have seen much use over the years. Government regulations have mandated that the pool needed to be ADA compliant by 2012, so it has been shut down since then until it can be made compliant.

The Berwick Pool Association is currently applying for a 501c-3 non-profit status so that they can conduct fund raising activities to raise the 1.4 million dollars needed to complete the pool renovations. The plan is to do the renovations in 3 phases, first make it ADA compliant with a long entry ramp, then add splash pads and sliding boards in later phases. The United Way has been serving as their fiscal agent until they can get their non-profit status.

At this point the Pool Association has raised enough money to complete phase 1 by doing fund raisers such as clothing collections, and sponsored breakfasts. They also have many “in-kind” donations from businesses throughout the area that are helping to make the pool opening a real possibility later this summer. The Health and Wellness Foundation has also offered a matching grant for any funds the Pool Association raises which will be a great help.

Very informative meeting, good to see our community rallying around this project.

Berwick Theater and Community Arts Center Update

This week we welcomed Alison Briggs and our own Rotarian Cindy Lombard to speak about the status of the BTCCA,  The Berwick Theater and Community Arts Center.  Both Alison and Cindy are on the board of the BTCCA,  a non-profit organization with a vision to restore and revitalize the Berwick Theater.  The organization is new and has applied for 501(c)3 non-profit status,  but in the meantime has been using the Berwick United Way as a fiscal agent for fund raising activates.


The BTCCA is part of the “Raise The Region” fund raising campaign last week and is working to raise money to offset the cost of some much needed building repairs at the theater.  The BTCCA is currently renting the building from the long time DeAugustine family owners but hope to be able to eventually buy the building and start a capital campaign to revitalize it.

The Berwick Theater has the potential to be more than just a movie theatre. BTCCA envisions it as a venue for live performances and local art displays.  The building could also be used for corporate events and meetings in the future.  The organization is currently faced with many challenges but has an enthusiastic board and lots of public support.  We wish them well in their efforts to keep this Berwick landmark alive and renewed. 

Some activities where Rotarians can help the btccaBerwick Theater include a Pancake Breakfast at Applebees in Bloomsburg on Saturday, March 28 from
8-11 (Cindy had tickets) and they will be a work site for the upcoming Berwick Area United Way Week of Caring (May 4-8) when we hope to have a Rotary work team participate in helping the community.

First Annual 4 Way Test Speech Contest Held

Berwick Rotary held their first 4 Way Speech Contest this week.  Six Berwick High School Students competed to see who could deliver the best talk about the 24-word test that challenges Rotarians every day to work in an ethical manner.

Alexus DegBrina, Carolyn White, Bailey Waltman, Ryan McNamara, Reed Pinterich, Olivia Seely, and Berwick Rotary President Bob Lombard

The purpose of the 4-Way Test Speech Contest is to foster the principles of ethics in every day life as well as in business. The Contest is designed to introduce high school students to Rotary by creating interest through a competitive speech contest, sponsored by their local Rotary club.

The students gave their speeches before Rotarians, Family, and teachers. The subjects of the talks ranged from animal cruelty, women equality in sports, use of Photoshop in advertising and the game of chess.   First place was claimed by Reed Pinterich  for a $100 prize and a seat in Rotary District competition in April. Second place,  Carolyn White won $50, and third place Bailey Waltman took the $25 award.

The students all did a great job.  Special thanks also to Berwick High School teacher Kim Glass who helped coordinate the student applicants and serve as speech coach for their efforts.

First place winner Reed has the opportunity of continuing on and competing at the Rotary District level with the potential for a grand prize of $1000. Good Luck Reed!

Jan. 15th – Berwick Area School District Superintendent, Wayne Brookhart Visit

We were very happy to welcome Berwick Area School District Superintendent, Wayne Brookhart as our guest speaker.  He noted that the last time he came to speak to our club was 8 years ago when he first became Superintendent in 2007.  Many positive changes have occurred in the District and he was excited to describe these changes to our group.

The fiscal Health of the School District is very good, and they are very proud to say that there have been no tax increases in our district in 8 years.  Some of the fiscal corrections that have been applied included “right sizing” the staffing throughout the district starting in 2007 to better reflect the number and type of staff needed to support the educational needs of the students in our district.  They worked to reduce 12 teaching positions retirements and layoff.  The money that was saved in reduced salary costs was set aside in a fund balance in anticipation of the future facility needs for the elementary schools. 

While there was a reduction in teaching positions, there has also been an increased emphasis on strengthening academics.  The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Magnet program is a partnership with Bloomsburg University.  The students apply to participate in this challenging program.  There has also been an increase in the number of AP (Advanced Placement) classes available for college bound students.  They have received State-wide recognition for the number and quality of AP classes offered.  He is very proud of the Teachers in the District who have received or are pursuing a certification as a National Board Certified Teacher.  There have been 8 teachers who have achieved this certification and 6 more are in the process.  This is an intense certification process that takes 3 years and encourages significant analysis of their teaching style and techniques and seeks to improve their skills and awareness in the classroom. 

He was most proud to share updates on the Facility Upgrades that are planned and in progress.  What has been the most gratifying part is that with careful planning, theses upgrades are being paid for without the need to raise taxes, because the Board looked ahead at its needs and established a financial plan to cover these costs.

1.  There will be a new elementary school built across the street from Tuzzi’s Bakery.  Demolition of the old factory is scheduled in the next few months and he anticipates the construction of the school will take 13-14 months with a scheduled completion date in April of 2016.  It will then be open for students in September of 2016.  Orange Street and 14th Street elementary schools will be closed.  The current plan is to move 5th grade to the Middle School.

2. The North Berwick Baseball field renovation is continuing with a completion date of March.  This field was in critical need of refurbishing because dips in the field made for an extremely uneven and dangerous sports field.

3. The Middle School and High School HVAC system was upgraded to be more energy efficient and cost effective.

4. The Pool was upgraded

5. The Track Project near Salem Elementary school was built with donations from the community and did not impact the School District’s finances.

6. Crispin Field has been refurbished to become a multipurpose field that can be used by all sports, for all genders including football.

Mr. Brookhart shared his pride and enthusiasm for our Berwick School District and its commitment to providing a quality educational experience for all students.  We can be very proud of our local School District and the Administration, School Board and dedicated Teachers who are molding our future leaders today.

Four Way Test Speech Contest Preview

This week our Rotary President, Bob Lombard,  gave a program on one of our upcoming projects,  “The Four Way Test Speech Contest”.  The project is designed to expand the knowledge of Rotary to many more people in the community by exposing them to our youth as they give a presentation about the Four Way Test.  Our district has been holding this contest for several years and this will be the first time that the Berwick Club will participate. 

The contest involves challenging some of our high school students to write and deliver a speech centered around the Rotary’s motto,  the Four Way Test.  They are to take an ethical situation that they have come across in their lives and apply the test to that situation.  The local Berwick  winner will move on to the District Regional contests.  Winner of the Regional will become finalist to present their speeches at the District Conference next year. Winners of the event have a chance to cash in on a grand prize of $1000.

Bob also showed a video of last year’s winner of our District 7360.  Here is a link to that speech in case you missed it.  Mark Petkac of the Rotary Club of State College PA was the grand prize winner last year.


Look for more info on the project over the next few weeks.  All club members will get a chance to participate and make this a success.

Joint Meeting – District Governor’s Visit

District Governor Jason Piatt met with our club last week at a meeting with three other clubs at the “Links at Hemlock Creek”.  Members from the Bloomsburg, Elysburg and Danville clubs joined Berwick members in meeting with the 2014-2015 District 7360 Governor.  Jason is an inspirational speaker who delivered a memorable talk to the Rotarians in attendance.


Jason noted that there are 537 Rotary Districts in the world,  and our RI President Gary Huang chose to spend 3 days of his year with us last month. That is a testimony to who important RI believes our district is to the international organization.  This year.  RI President Huang has chosen a Theme of “Light Up Rotary” and Jason presented each club president with a new Rotary Theme Banner.

Jason explained that one of his goals this year would be to try and get every Rotarian to get a chance to experience a “Rotary Moment”.  This is the moment as a Rotarian when you personally are touched and can share why you are proud to be a member of Rotary.  Jason share two of his personal experiences that qualified as his “Rotary Moments”

Jason encouraged all club members to continue to support the Rotary Foundation.  Any amount given this year is appreciated from all members.  The Foundation allows us to make our presence known around the world.  He has personally seen it make a difference in projects sponsored by his home club.

Save the date:  May 1-3, 2015  for the District Conference next year.  Jason promises an experience you will not soon forget.