executive director – Arbeia Society http://arbeiasociety.org.uk/ Tue, 12 Apr 2022 16:49:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-3-150x150.png executive director – Arbeia Society http://arbeiasociety.org.uk/ 32 32 Heritage Homes Tour returns to New Bern https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/heritage-homes-tour-returns-to-new-bern/ Mon, 14 Mar 2022 20:04:12 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/heritage-homes-tour-returns-to-new-bern/ NEW BERN, NC (WNCT) – The story of New Bern is a remarkable story of strength and resilience. Neither hurricanes nor pandemics can erase this history. The New Bern Historical Society will celebrate the endurance of New Bern’s beauty and charm with the New Bern Heritage Homes Tour on April 8-9. As Mickey Miller, executive […]]]>

NEW BERN, NC (WNCT) – The story of New Bern is a remarkable story of strength and resilience. Neither hurricanes nor pandemics can erase this history.

The New Bern Historical Society will celebrate the endurance of New Bern’s beauty and charm with the New Bern Heritage Homes Tour on April 8-9.

As Mickey Miller, executive director of the New Bern Historical Society, explains, “It’s not visiting your mother’s homes. You can expect a diverse range of unique homes in the downtown historic district, ranging from traditional 19th century dwellings to creative adaptive reuse structures and exciting new infill homes. These are not museum properties; they are livable family homes with rich stories and architecture that exemplifies New Bern’s incredible history.

In addition to notable houses, the event will host working artists, performing musicians and a variety of food trucks.

Tickets, valid for both days, are available at www.NewBernHistorical.org/tickets, by calling 252-638-8558, or by visiting the New Bern Historical Society at 511 Broad St. in New Bern. Also available at Mitchell Hardware, 215 Craven Street, Harris Teeter, 3565 MLK Blvd., and Harris Teeter, Carolina Colors.

Tickets are $20 for adults through April 7. Starting April 8, adults are $25. Active duty military and family members, students under 23, and members of the historical society are $15. Groups of more than 10 people are also $15 each.

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Waterfront’s Cargill Hall Hosts ‘Remember When’ Gala to Support La Crosse County Historical Society https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/waterfronts-cargill-hall-hosts-remember-when-gala-to-support-la-crosse-county-historical-society/ Sun, 13 Mar 2022 05:38:00 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/waterfronts-cargill-hall-hosts-remember-when-gala-to-support-la-crosse-county-historical-society/ The theme of the gala is the 1950s March 12, 2022 11:38 p.m. Job : March 12, 2022 11:38 p.m. LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Community members show off their poodle skirts and retro outfits in support of the La Crosse County Historical Society. The theme for the gala at the Cargill Waterfront Hall in […]]]>
The theme of the gala is the 1950s

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Community members show off their poodle skirts and retro outfits in support of the La Crosse County Historical Society.

The theme for the gala at the Cargill Waterfront Hall in La Crosse is the 1950s.

The fundraiser includes a cocktail, dinner and auction.

The LCHS executive director said the society raises funds for its operating costs through ticket sales, auction items and donations.

These dollars will help support the Hixon House and the La Crosse Area Heritage Center.

“Really, for the staff, it’s a lot of work,” said chief executive Peggy Derrick. “The highlight is a wonderful evening. This is very fun. I think it’s about making friends and raising awareness about our organization and what they do.

Derrick says the LCHS sold 120 tickets for the fundraiser.

After expenses, she says she hopes the gala will raise more than $15,000.

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Heritage Area Project Aims to Improve Cycling in Falls | Local News https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/heritage-area-project-aims-to-improve-cycling-in-falls-local-news/ Sat, 12 Mar 2022 05:20:00 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/heritage-area-project-aims-to-improve-cycling-in-falls-local-news/ This may not seem like an obviously dangerous intersection, but Lewiston Road/Monteagle Street and Chasm Avenue are indeed on the map of dangerous places for cyclists or pedestrians in Niagara Falls. This will soon change. GObike Buffalo is working on a project to make the intersection safer. Meanwhile, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area tackles […]]]>

This may not seem like an obviously dangerous intersection, but Lewiston Road/Monteagle Street and Chasm Avenue are indeed on the map of dangerous places for cyclists or pedestrians in Niagara Falls.

This will soon change. GObike Buffalo is working on a project to make the intersection safer.

Meanwhile, the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area tackles Main Street, Portage Road and Pierce Avenue, an equally challenging intersection, thanks to a $25,000 Asphalt Art Grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Sara Capen, executive director of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, said crosswalks will likely be added this year with additional features to come.

“There will be bumps and a sense of vibrancy, an artistic experience in these hallways,” she said. “We are going to make it much more beautiful. Right now, even crossing is like playing “Frogger.” ”

The Monteagle/Chasm project began in 2021 when the City of Niagara Falls approached GObike and requested a way to increase safety and pedestrian and cyclist access to Main Street and the Niagara Gorge.

State Department of Transportation data shows that between 2017 and 2021, seven pedestrians and cyclists were struck by vehicles in the area, each resulting in injury.

Cindy Wood, planner at GObike, said a traffic study showed that while many vehicles were traveling at a reasonable speed, others were found going up to 80mph.

“The community’s vision is to improve the intersection with the use of bumps, slowing cars and adding crosswalks,” Wood said. “The work is temporary to create a report. The city is competent. »

Temporary barriers and decoratively painted pavement will be designed to calm traffic, Wood said. The idea is to reduce the time a pedestrian or cyclist spends in the “danger zone”.

Wood reassures residents that adding a traffic light was not part of the plan. The location was chosen due to proximity to the Highland and Center district.

Work will be completed in the last week of June/first week of July and is consistent with the 2019 Niagara Falls Cycling Master Plan.

Capen is grateful to work with GObike.

“We worked on a comprehensive plan for Placemaking with opportunities to tell the city’s story,” she said.

US Community Survey data shows there are approximately 2,310 residents within half a mile of the intersection.

According to counts made by GObike, 48 pedestrians and cyclists use this corridor every day. Nearly 20% of households in this area do not own a car. Two different NFTA bus routes also serve this population.

Main Street, Chasm Avenue and Monteagle Street will be the site of a pilot project later this year to make things safer by incorporating feedback from the surrounding community on traffic speed, access and safety.

The project is in collaboration with the City of Niagara Falls and with support from the Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund for Niagara County, the Health Research Institute (NYSDOH), and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

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Learn about the Civil War in Butts County at the Butts County Historical Society Meeting | News https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/learn-about-the-civil-war-in-butts-county-at-the-butts-county-historical-society-meeting-news/ Wed, 09 Mar 2022 21:04:30 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/learn-about-the-civil-war-in-butts-county-at-the-butts-county-historical-society-meeting-news/ Did you know that during the Civil War, over 8,000 Union infantry soldiers camped at Indian Springs waiting for the rain to calm down to cross the Ocmulgee River? Did you know another 5,000 Union troopers rode east of Indian Springs, flanking infantry for protection? Did you know that the Union Army took over the […]]]>

Did you know that during the Civil War, over 8,000 Union infantry soldiers camped at Indian Springs waiting for the rain to calm down to cross the Ocmulgee River? Did you know another 5,000 Union troopers rode east of Indian Springs, flanking infantry for protection? Did you know that the Union Army took over the Indian Spring Hotel and turned it into a hospital for Northern troops?

Did you know that Howard University in Washington, DC is named after Major General Oliver Otis Howard, who led the Jackson Town Fire? Did you know that the Butts County Archives were saved by a man who hid them in the Masonic Lodge of St. John’s?

Come learn the details of this important time in our county on Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at Flovilla Historic School from the man who knows: Steve Longcrier, Founder and Executive Director of Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails. The Butts County Historical Society enlists experts to share all aspects of history so everyone can learn about the past and the lessons we need to know. Everyone is welcome! Refreshments will be served and lots of friendship shared! If you have any questions, call 770-775-5350.

As the energy industry has faced new challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as changes in demand, generation capacity and distribution networks, access to oil has more recently become a major global concern in the midst of war in Europe. Despite recent predictions that the petroleum product… Click to read more.

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Report: Reducing Polling Location “Discouraged Turnout” for Black and Latino Voters in California in 2020 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/report-reducing-polling-location-discouraged-turnout-for-black-and-latino-voters-in-california-in-2020/ Fri, 04 Mar 2022 22:56:08 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/report-reducing-polling-location-discouraged-turnout-for-black-and-latino-voters-in-california-in-2020/ Only 16 counties remained faithful to the traditional model of assigning each voter a polling station without grouping the districts. The PPIC study found that precinct consolidation widened the turnout gap for Latino and black voters, particularly for black voters who were not previously registered to vote by mail and were therefore not accustomed to […]]]>

Only 16 counties remained faithful to the traditional model of assigning each voter a polling station without grouping the districts.

The PPIC study found that precinct consolidation widened the turnout gap for Latino and black voters, particularly for black voters who were not previously registered to vote by mail and were therefore not accustomed to a ballot arriving in their mailbox.

“The in-person locations were so varied across the state that people had to get used to that difference,” said Astrid Ochoa, a public affairs consultant who advises the secretary of state’s office on changes to the state. electoral administration. “Just because you’re mailing a ballot to every voter, there still needs to be an emphasis on voter education and awareness of this practice.”

Both studies tackled the difficulty of identifying voters from different racial or ethnic groups, as most voters do not provide this information. Instead, the researchers analyzed registrant surnames, census block demographics, and survey data to determine voter demographics.

More changes to California’s voting practices are on the horizon this year, when at least 11 more counties — including Alameda, Marin and Sonoma — will join California’s Voter Choice Act, which allows consolidation. permanently from polling stations to polling centers, where any elector in the county can vote and benefit from electoral or linguistic assistance.

The USC report also looked at longer-term trends in electoral fairness, namely that the turnout gap between black and white voters in California has grown in recent years, even as the gap between whites and other ethnic groups has shrunk.

James Woodson, executive director of the California Black Power Network, pointed to the long-term effects of gentrification and displacement in disrupting civic participation in black communities.

“Black residents are being pushed out of traditional urban centers into new emerging communities that don’t necessarily have an established organizing infrastructure, don’t have groups reaching out to engage them around elections,” he said. -he declares.

The USC survey found that black voters in California were twice as likely to take public transportation to the polls in 2020, compared to voters from other racial or ethnic groups.

Organizers say voting disparities could be further exacerbated as more black voters move to suburban and exurban communities with fewer transit options and greater distances between polling locations.

“We are not in an urban center, many of our places are still rural,” said Minister Quay Williams, organizer of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement, or COPE. “Even taking public transport to get to a polling place can be difficult, you may have to walk down the street to get there.”

For local election officials, clustering polling locations helps offset the cost of mailing a ballot to each voter. Election funding has been plentiful in 2020, but there is no guarantee that the largesse will continue for years to come.

But PPIC’s McGhee said state lawmakers should take the findings as a caveat that “maybe we need to rethink some of this in-person consolidation, or at least how we’re doing it and maybe how much.” we do this because of the equity impacts.”

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Our Lady of Victory Church should be a protected Chicago landmark, says Far Northwest Side Group https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/our-lady-of-victory-church-should-be-a-protected-chicago-landmark-says-far-northwest-side-group/ Tue, 01 Mar 2022 13:35:16 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/our-lady-of-victory-church-should-be-a-protected-chicago-landmark-says-far-northwest-side-group/ JEFFERSON PARK — A Far Northwest Side group wants a historic church that held its last mass last year to be given historic status to save it from potential demolition. Our Lady of Victory, 5212 W. Agatite Ave., closed her parish as part of the Archdiocese of Chicago renew my church consolidation plan. The building […]]]>

JEFFERSON PARK — A Far Northwest Side group wants a historic church that held its last mass last year to be given historic status to save it from potential demolition.

Our Lady of Victory, 5212 W. Agatite Ave., closed her parish as part of the Archdiocese of Chicago renew my church consolidation plan. The building is still a Catholic church open for services under the permission of the Archdiocese for the time being.

Although the archdiocese has no immediate plans for the building, it mentioned options to sell the property when it announced the closure in 2020. This has caused panic among parishioners and community members, as they want to ensure the building is preserved and remains a neighborhood asset.

A petition by the neighborhood group Save Our Lady of Victory calls on elected officials to work with the city to grant the church landmark status.

“It’s one of the most fabulous pieces of architecture on the northwest side – we don’t want to lose it,” said Susanna Ernst, president of the Chicago Northwest Historical Society and a Our Lady of Victory parishioner who organized the petition.

Our Lady of Victory, founded in 1906, is oldest catholic church on the far northwest. It has hosted Irish, Polish and German congregations. Its architectural significance, community outreach and growth between the 1920s and 1950s make it important to the region, Ernst said.

The church has been suggested for landmark status for the Chicago Landmarks Commission by the Northwest Chicago Historical Society, Ernst said. The commission, which is a branch of the City Planning and Development Department, is responsible for recommending sites for legal protection as official city landmarks.

If the commission finds that Notre-Dame de la Victoire meets the requirements of historical, architectural and cultural significance to become a landmark, the approval of the alderman and the property would be necessary, according to the city. landmarks ordinance. A public hearing, followed by a decision by the commission, is then presented to the city council before the monument becomes official.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Our Lady of Victory, 5212 W. Agatite Ave., in Portage Park on November 17, 2021.

While some people view the Notre Dame de la Victoire group as prejudicial to a possible sale of the church, Ernst said she fears it could be sold to an entity that would destroy it.

“Because the archdiocese hasn’t told anyone who the potential buyers are, we have to assume the worst,” she said.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Thomas said options are still being considered for the property, but those owned by the archdiocese are not considered a landmark by the Catholic organization.

“To the extent that we sell or transfer ownership of a property to another owner, that owner is free to pursue this designation if they wish,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “We are not aware of any decision to designate Our Lady of Victory as a landmark.”

The petition for landmark designation has been signed by over 400 people.

RELATED: Ahead of Last Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church, Jefferson Park Community Pledges to Preserve Historic Building

Preservation Chicago added the church to its list of 2021 endangered buildings and recommended that it be repurposed as another religious space, event venue, or housing.

“The church could still remain a sacred site, but perhaps be wrapped up in other uses, perhaps community-related, or perhaps an educational institution,” said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation. Chicago. “The historic designation encourages the right kinds of ideas and a creative imagination applied to these structures.”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Our Lady of Victory, 5212 W. Agatite Ave., in Portage Park on November 17, 2021.

In addition to benefiting the Far Northwest Side, which has few iconic buildings, the designation could benefit the archdiocese, Miller said. With the closure of the churches of the archdiocese and parishes of the region as part of his renew my church plan, its Catholic churches could see new life and sustainability with the city’s help, Miller said.

The archdiocese “could still mark the exterior of the building and encourage the city to maintain large structures, even if they are closing or in disrepair,” Miller said.

Since the archdiocese does not view its properties as a landmark, Miller said consent to ownership of religious buildings — added to the ordinance in 1987 — should be repealed.

“City funds could be used to repair these buildings…. It would show collaboration rather than a corporate hierarchy in an ivory tower making decisions that impact communities across the city and many, many people,” he said.

Local aldermen and state officials have joined in the outreach effort to keep the church in the community. Last year Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) named North Laramie Avenue of West Agatite Avenues in West Sunnyside as Honorary Our Lady of Victory.

“It’s our history, our architecture. This is ours,” Ernst previously said of the church. “He belongs to the community. And when you take that away from us, you don’t just take it away from Catholics – you take it away from every person.

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The Civil War falls on an ‘important’ piece of Middletown’s black history https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/the-civil-war-falls-on-an-important-piece-of-middletowns-black-history/ Sun, 27 Feb 2022 17:46:35 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/the-civil-war-falls-on-an-important-piece-of-middletowns-black-history/ MIDDLETOWN – Washington Street Cemetery is filled with tombstones dating back centuries, including several engraved with the names of Black Civil War soldiers. Local historians believe that the cemetery and the entire Beman Triangle area should be singled out as a National Historic Landmark. Jesse NastaAssistant Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University, has […]]]>

MIDDLETOWN – Washington Street Cemetery is filled with tombstones dating back centuries, including several engraved with the names of Black Civil War soldiers.

Local historians believe that the cemetery and the entire Beman Triangle area should be singled out as a National Historic Landmark.

Jesse NastaAssistant Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University, has studied the Beman Triangle area of ​​Middletown since he was a student at Wesleyan over a decade ago.

“It’s a very important site,” said Nasta, who is also the executive director of the Middlesex County Historical Society.

the Beman Historical Triangle was a pre-Civil War community of free, landowning African Americans, and was one of the first planned African American communities in Connecticut. The community formed in the 1820s and remained primarily black residents for nearly a century.

“This area remained the African-American hub of Middletown for decades,” Nasta said.

Much of the land around Knowles Avenue, Vine Street, and Cross Street was part of this historic district, which is now officially known as the Leveritt Beman Historic District, which also includes the Washington Street Cemetery.

Six of the cemetery’s headstones mark the resting place of Beman’s Triangle natives who fought in the Civil War, including Isaac Truitt, whose home still stands on Vine Street today.

Nasta said there were at least 17 African-American Civil War soldiers from Middletown, and Truitt, who was in his 40s at the time, was likely the oldest to enlist.

“I just think Truitt is really amazing,” Nasta said.

There are different reports of how Truitt ended up in Middletown, Nasta said. Some say he bought his freedom, while other reports claim he escaped slavery. Ultimately, he ended up in the Beman Triangle of Middletown, where he was a prominent figure in Cross Street AME Zion Church. It has moved twice and is now at 440 West St.

When the Civil War began in 1861, African Americans were initially not allowed to enlist. Truitt and many others enlisted as soon as that rule was lifted, Nasta said.

“They had a real interest in winning the civil war,” Nasta said. “They probably still would have had an enslaved family.”

He said 10% of those involved in the Civil War were black soldiers, and that number likely would have been higher if many weren’t still enslaved at the time.

Many soldiers from Middletown served in the Connecticut 29th and 30th Volunteer Infantry Regiments and fought throughout the south, Nasta said.

Four of the other Black Civil War soldiers known to be buried at Washington Street Cemetery—Alfred Powers, Christian H. Gordon, James H. Powers, and Rufus Addison—served in the 29th.

“For many, it was a pride to have contributed to the civil war,” Nasta said.

The fighting during the war had implications for the future opportunities, rights and freedoms of African Americans, Nasta said.

“It was really important,” Nasta said.

The Cross Street AME Zion Cemetery and Church are spots on the Connecticut Freedom Trail and on the state Register of Historic Places. Now Nasta and the Middlesex County Historical Society are on the hunt for a Designation of the national registerthat would qualify the district for preservation-related funding.

More information about the others buried in Washington Street Cemetery is available online through a Wesleyan University. community and public archeology project.

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Leaving a legacy of growth and preservation, Bob Cameron of the Boal Mansion Museum retires in April https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/leaving-a-legacy-of-growth-and-preservation-bob-cameron-of-the-boal-mansion-museum-retires-in-april/ Tue, 22 Feb 2022 10:12:20 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/leaving-a-legacy-of-growth-and-preservation-bob-cameron-of-the-boal-mansion-museum-retires-in-april/ ROBERT “BOB” CAMERON will officially retire as Director of Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion in Boalsburg on April 1, leaving behind a legacy of growth and preservation. BOALSBURG – As a child, Robert “Bob” Cameron worked with his mother to restore their Montour County farmhouse, helping her repaint the antique furniture that filled each room […]]]>

ROBERT “BOB” CAMERON will officially retire as Director of Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion in Boalsburg on April 1, leaving behind a legacy of growth and preservation.

BOALSBURG – As a child, Robert “Bob” Cameron worked with his mother to restore their Montour County farmhouse, helping her repaint the antique furniture that filled each room – while imagining the stories each room would tell.

Today, after seven years at the helm of the Chapel of Columbus and Boal Mansion Museum in Boalsburg, Cameron can look back on the stories he told about the 200-year-old estate after he officially retired on April 1.

Cameron, a retired Penn State professor with a Ph.D. in plant science and owner of a sustainable technology company, first took the job in 2015, after visiting the mansion and “seen the decline after years of neglect”.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I applied and, if accepted, I would take time off from running my businesses until the ship was righted,” Cameron said.

Once officially at the helm, Cameron embarked on the ambitious project of restoring the historic estate to its former glory.

“Most years I’ve been fortunate to have between 600 and 1,000 volunteers helping me on a wide range of projects, from building three miles of trails, building a pedestrian bridge, garden construction, lawn and road maintenance, arboriculture and much more,” Cameron mentioned. “I believe we have breathed new life into the Boal Estate.”

Cameron’s tenure has not only gone smoothly, as the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a new set of hurdles to overcome.

“The pandemic has been extremely difficult with the cancellation of so many special events over the past two years,” Cameron said. “This resulted in the loss of approximately 98% of our seasonal income.”

Since the museum is funded almost entirely by local donations and grants and receives no regular state funding, according to Cameron, he had to find creative ways to adapt to a stifled revenue stream.

“We further reduced our minimum budget and launched new initiatives to raise funds, such as the Ghost Tour of Old Boalsburg, which sold out in five days. Therefore, we have successfully come through two years of the pandemic,” Cameron said.

He said he hopes his efforts over the past seven years have shown how to “make lemonade out of lemons” in difficult circumstances.

During his tenure as director, Cameron was also able to upgrade the visitor center, an outdoor stage for the community theater and began construction of formal gardens to create a “Longwood Gardens type environment”, he said. declared.

In recognition of his “tireless efforts”, the Center County Historical Society awarded Cameron the 2021 John H. Ziegler Historical Award for Education and Advocacy.

“Bob’s arrival in 2015 was a transformative time,” said Katie O’Toole, co-chair of the awards committee, during her speech acknowledging Cameron’s accomplishments.

Cameron’s work to “revitalize, expand and reinterpret the museum’s collection,” as well as “to make these historic places intriguing and engaging for the public,” earned him this accolade, according to O’Toole.

According to Mary Sorensen, executive director of the Center County Historical Society, Cameron came to the museum at a “very difficult” time of transition.

“(The position of museum director) would require someone who had boundless vision and energy – like Bob,” Sorensen said, noting that the job would require the ability to balance preserving history, while expanding the reach of the museum by galvanizing the existing body. of volunteers.

“The work and advocacy for the preservation of history and historic sites often falls to a few enthusiasts, like Bob…we are fortunate in Center County to have several significant historic sites and incredible people telling their stories “said Sorensen.

“I have been blessed in my life, and the past seven years with the museum have been a small sign of my efforts to give back to society,” Cameron said, “however, after seven years, I have no doubt gained so much more than I have always contributed through the many new friends made, the knowledge gained, and the incredible experiences I have had as a director of this amazing field.

This story appears in the February 17-23 edition of the Center County Gazette.

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Nicodemus brings a welcoming smile to the Mishler crowd | News, Sports, Jobs https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/nicodemus-brings-a-welcoming-smile-to-the-mishler-crowd-news-sports-jobs/ Mon, 21 Feb 2022 05:05:03 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/nicodemus-brings-a-welcoming-smile-to-the-mishler-crowd-news-sports-jobs/ 01/24/22 Mirror Photo of Patrick Waksmunski/Jill Nicodemus, longtime volunteer usher at the Mishler Theater known for her welcoming smile and variety of festive coats, is approaching her 20th year of service with the Blair County Arts Foundation. With a smile and a warm welcome, Jill Nicodemus holds the door and welcomes […]]]>

01/24/22 Mirror Photo of Patrick Waksmunski/Jill Nicodemus, longtime volunteer usher at the Mishler Theater known for her welcoming smile and variety of festive coats, is approaching her 20th year of service with the Blair County Arts Foundation.

With a smile and a warm welcome, Jill Nicodemus holds the door and welcomes attendees to the shows at the Mishler Theater. As a volunteer for the Blair County Arts Foundation, it’s a task she’s done hundreds of times since 2003.

“It’s a pleasure to inaugurate Jill,” said Carol Tally of Altoona. “She is so conscientious and willing to help, whether it’s school outings during the day or performances (Altoona Community Theater) in the evenings.”

Tally also volunteers with BCAF and holds the door nearby.

It’s a responsibility both women take seriously because they represent the arts foundation and organizations that perform at the historic site.

“We greet people with a smile and a ‘Can I help you'” Tally explained. “You have to be pleasant and sociable and respectful of everyone. Jill’s personality is like that anyway. She doesn’t have to be an actress at the gate.

Nicodemus moved to Altoona in 1974 from Leonia, NJ, raised two sons and spent 11 years helping residents earn a GED. She retired from the Altoona Area School District at its Community Education Center in 1998. She then worked for Avon Inc. Corporate Headquarters as the District Representative for that area between 2005 and 2011 .

She also volunteers at the Altoona Area Public Library several days a week.

“Jill has been a loyal volunteer at the Altoona Area Public Library for many years,” said executive director Jennifer Knisely. “She is always ready to help and has constantly updated our birth database to help genealogical researchers. Most recently, Jill provided much needed support to get the books from the Youth Hall back on the shelves after the devastating flood in December 2020. The library and the community are so lucky to be able to benefit from Jill’s commitment to service public and volunteering.

As a Rotary member, Nicodemus heard about the Blair County Arts Foundation’s need for volunteers through fellow Rotarian Kate Shaffer, who serves as the arts organization’s executive director.

Shaffer said Nicodemus “is enthusiastic and positive. She is always so friendly and welcoming to everyone who walks through the door.”

Ushers are told they are needed for events via email and choose events that work with their schedules, Shaffer said. The arts foundation has a pool of approximately 80 volunteer ushers and can always use more as some volunteers take vacations during the winter months.

About 10 ushers are needed to help patrons at each performance, Shaffer said, as they greet attendees and help them find their seats.

“It’s not a high-pressure job” Tally said, but comes with the satisfaction of helping others in the community have a positive experience at Mishler. “It was a really pleasant experience for me, and Jill helped create that pleasant atmosphere.”

Nicodemus’ usual post is at the left door inside the vestibule – a cold post during the winter months. She has earned a reputation for her colorful and unique assortment of coats that are the envy of other ushers.

Shaffer said his favorite coat that Nicodemus wears “Reminds me of the concierge at the Plaza Hotel (New York). It’s red and she wears it with white gloves and it’s just awesome.

Nicodemus refers to the all-red mantle as his “holiday coat” because it is lined with black velvet. She usually chooses this coat for December performances to add a festive splash of red. The coat is from Harvey Bernard and she bought it at Value City years ago.

“It was such a great find, and it held up,” she says.

Another winter coat is white in color and cut in the formal style of a men’s tuxedo. Her winter coats and the blazers she wears in the warmer months are selected, she said, “to add to the magnificence of the Mishler.” It’s a world-class venue, and I want to give it the honor it deserves.

Under her coats, she and the other ushers wear black pants with a white shirt. White helps spectators find ushers if they need help.

Nicodemus said she really enjoys introducing the Mishler to residents — especially first-time visitors, who have increased in recent years as BCAF has diversified the entertainment offered at the site.

“My favorite part of the job is when I find out someone has never been to the Mishler before. I try to give them a quick introduction to the beauty of the building. the whole theatre. The balcony is the best place to see the amazing artwork on the ceiling.

The arts foundation’s efforts to modernize the historic theater have also been well received by patrons and ushers.

“We were very, very fortunate to add air conditioning several years ago without sacrificing the historic aesthetic of the building. Summers without air conditioning were stifling,” said Nicodemus. The Mishler has been on the National Register of Historic Places since May 1973.

“Our bailiffs do this out of love. They are selfless and always available if we need them,” Shaffer said.



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Churches in the historic city find new life as neighborhood centers https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/churches-in-the-historic-city-find-new-life-as-neighborhood-centers/ Sat, 29 Jan 2022 16:07:02 +0000 https://arbeiasociety.org.uk/churches-in-the-historic-city-find-new-life-as-neighborhood-centers/ MINNEAPOLIS — The pews swayed at Holy Trinity on a recent Sunday as congregants from Minnesota’s Swahili Christian congregation sang and danced beneath the high dark wood ceilings and bustling stained glass windows. Founded in the 1920s, the magnificent house of worship was once home to one of the largest Lutheran congregations in the country, […]]]>

MINNEAPOLIS — The pews swayed at Holy Trinity on a recent Sunday as congregants from Minnesota’s Swahili Christian congregation sang and danced beneath the high dark wood ceilings and bustling stained glass windows.

Founded in the 1920s, the magnificent house of worship was once home to one of the largest Lutheran congregations in the country, but now has just 200 regular Sunday worshipers. To stay vibrant, the founding congregation has increasingly opened its historic doors to meet a variety of community needs, from services in Swahili to operating as a makeshift emergency medical center during protests following the killing of George Floyd by the police in 2020.

“Over the past two years, it has become even clearer to me that the Spirit has led us to places we never imagined to go alone,” said Ingrid Rasmussen, senior pastor of Holy Trinity.

Across the United States, historic urban churches built decades ago to accommodate hundreds or thousands of worshipers and bloated Sunday School classes have struggled with dwindling flocks and rising conservation costs. . Many are finding new ways to use their buildings that allow them to keep these sacred places viable while serving the neighborhoods they have anchored for decades.

In Minneapolis, iconic churches have hosted everything from pantries and Finnish lessons to tai chi practices and group discussions about repairs. Elsewhere around the country, they have rented space for events or programs like preschools, generating much-needed revenue, and have also made their buildings available free of charge for gatherings of community groups as diverse as nutrition clinics and artistic workshops.

According to Bob Jaeger, president of Partners for Sacred Places, historic religious buildings are not just civic and cultural landmarks, but crucial social centers, with non-congregants making up about 90% of the people they serve. The nonprofit helps religious institutions around the country plan and fundraise to reallocate their spaces to another era, and Jaeger sees plenty of room to do more in this area.

“Congregations have enormous civic value but are often underutilized,” he said.

Polls show that the United States continues to grow, with total membership and followers declining. Fewer souls on the pews mean less money to pay for staff, maintenance and programs, forcing many small congregations to sell their buildings.

The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these problems by further reducing attendance. It also increased the need for food, housing, employment, and educational ministries among the faithful and society at large.

This is particularly relevant for low-income and minority neighborhoods where informal faith-based networks are often more trusted than government authorities.

The century-old Church of the Incarnation, a predominantly Spanish-speaking Catholic parish in Minneapolis, has renovated its garage to house a kind of community convenience store where the 1,600 households that depend on the church for food can get free food products. groceries and other vital goods. On a freezing Sunday, a steady stream of families came for donated coats and sweaters, as well as 10 books. sacks of chicken that remained frozen despite sitting in the sun for hours near the steps outside the shrine.

Incarnation remodeled the basement and used it to host COVID-19 vaccination clinics that drew “tons” of people, according to Victor Guillen, a three-decade church member who oversees maintenance and volunteered for the renovation.

“People come here because we’re a center for the Latino community,” Guillen said.

As with other churches, launching such service programs has had the benefit of increasing volunteerism and attracting more donations, enabling Incarnation to undertake a million dollar roof restoration that is almost finished.

Religious buildings with excess space also provide cash-strapped community groups with a place to hold their own gatherings, which is especially important in cities where property values ​​and rents are high.

The neighborhood church in Atlanta’s leafy Candler Park neighborhood was born in the mid-2010s from the merger of two United Methodist congregations. Proceeds from the sale of the church’s largest building were used to fund the renovation of the smaller, a 1930s structure redesigned to minimize Christian imagery to better serve the diverse neighborhood, the co-pastors said Andy and Anjie Woodworth.

Today, it hosts not just the congregation, but two polling places and, pandemic permitting, the activities of more than a dozen groups who share the church’s inclusive values, from scout troops to advocates. rights of transgender people of color.

“We are creating a welcoming space,” said Andy Woodworth. “Opening the church like this puts us in touch with a lot more people.”

The small, aging congregation at the Coppin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church on the South Side of Chicago is another that has become increasingly community-minded. Membership has shrunk to about a tenth of what it was in the 1960s, so Coppin struggles to afford the necessary upkeep of the nearly century-old building and its artwork, including two murals in the sanctuary.

Through the Coppin Community Center, which offers food and family programs at its adjacent youth center, the congregation has been able to attract grants and grow its ministry of service, said Frankye Parham, who directs Coppin’s Christian Education. and its community center.

The church is working on developing a new teen ministry at the request of neighborhood youth who sought Coppin as a “safe haven” from violence and other social ills.

“Traditional ways don’t work today. We have to talk about different things that the community deals with,” said Robert Parham, husband of Frankye, who first dated Coppin more than 50 years ago. years old and is now a director.

Similar challenges faced the congregation of Christ Church Lutheran, a mid-20th-century National Historic Landmark designed by famed architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen: Membership numbers dropped so low that everyone began to ask if we could keep the doors open,” Mary Bode said. , a member for three decades and a volunteer at the Minneapolis church.

With help from Partners for Sacred Places, the church created a preservation committee to save its pale brick and blonde-wood building, nestled in a tree-lined neighborhood of single-story homes. It has since branched out into different community uses and connected education building, ranging from Montessori preschool classrooms to basketball leagues.

Like others in the city, Christ Church Lutheran has sought to foster healing in the wake of Floyd’s murder. In May 2021, on the anniversary of his death, community members gathered in his modernist open courtyard where Miriam Samuelson-Roberts, the senior pastor, had left a laminated guide for reflection and prayer. .

“People came and sat down who might never have entered the church,” she said. “It is essential that neighbors have a space to meet.”

In some cities, the use of religious buildings for non-religious purposes, such as homeless shelters, has clashed with zoning rules and caused conflict with municipal authorities. But faith leaders have often succeeded in making the case that these ministries are essential to their mission and to their community.

“Every religion has laws that require you to do this,” said Randi Roth, executive director of Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul, Minnesota, where the group worked with the city planner on zoning code amendments. “But for all, it brings to life the words they read in prayer.”

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Associated Press religious coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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