Berks 1st Spring 2023

Page 1

Restoring Passenger Rail Service to Berks
Berks to Broadband Celebrating 75 Years: Armed Forces Day Parade May 20, 2023 Rincón en Español Berks County, PA, Government News & Services Escaneé para leer! Scan to Read Online! SPRING 2023
Connecting
Berks County’s Choice for Higher Education* • Berks County’s Only Nationally Ranked Doctoral University • 50+ Undergraduate Majors • 30+ Flexible Accelerated Bachelor and Graduate Programs • In-Person, Hybrid and Online Courses • Nationally Recognized Experiential Learning and Community Service Programs Discover Alvernia *Alvernia University has been recognized as the Berks County college or university in the People’s Choice Who’s Who in Business listing for three consecutive years (2021, 2022, 2023). 1.888.ALVERNIA | Admissions@Alvernia.edu 400 Saint Bernardine Street, Reading, PA Alvernia.edu

COMMISSIONERS’ MESSAGE

When it comes to Berks County Government, we and our team do a lot of work, much of which is 24/7. In recent years, we have concluded that most residents of Berks have very little knowledge of everything that county government does and are unaware of what is available to them.

That is all changing with the launch of Berks 1st. This magazine will be focused on communication about county government, to and for the people of Berks County. Berks 1st is not designed to take the place of any other publication or communication network. Rather, Berks 1st is all about the services, programs, projects, and events that the County is engaged in that can impact, help, and benefit the people of Berks County.

The design and production of the publication is funded by ad revenue and led by a local company, Hoffmann Publishing Group. The only cost to the County is the cost of postage and distribution. And that distribution is huge! Berks 1st will be published three times a year and each edition will be sent to nearly 90,000 homes, as well as hundreds of businesses in Berks.

Each article will also include a QR code that will take the reader to the online version where they can read and view additional content and access the entire magazine in Spanish.

We want our residents to know about our Parks & Recreation events, what is happening with the initiatives to restore passenger rail and expand broadband accessibility, and what services are available to our veterans, farmers, business owners, voters and more.

The Berks 1st Magazine is all about connecting you to valuable information about your County Government. Welcome to our inaugural edition.

Berks County Commissioners Christian Y. Leinbach, Lucine E. Sihelnik and Michael S. Rivera
Join us in Topton! Topton Borough Hall 205 South Callowhill St., Topton In-Person and Online June 29 — 7 PM

Hoping To Lead by Example

With

new

16 4

Connecting Berks to Broadband

The Berks County Broadband Task Force is working to make affordable and reliable Internet access available throughout the county. Armed with a countywide feasibility report and $6.3 million in base funding, the initiative is primed for its next steps.

RAIL REVIVAL: Restoring Passenger Rail Service to Berks 12

The County of Berks has exercised great care to ensure that the content of this magazine is accurate as of the date of publication.

Editorial content and advertising appearing in this publication should in no way be considered an endorsement from the County Commissioners or the County of Berks. The County assumes no liability for the accuracy of claims made by the advertisers. This publication was created with the intent to deliver useful county government news to the residents of Berks County.

The County of Berks disclaims any and all liability and responsibility to any person or party, be they a reader, advertiser or consumer of this publication, for any consequences, actions, results taken or outcomes of anything done or omitted on the basis of reading information or reliance whether partly or solely on the contents of this publication and related website and products All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced electronically or in print without the expressed written consent of the publisher or editor.

Sihelnik
CONTENTS
TABLE OF
in 2023.
her
ice cream business in full swing, Lucine E. Sihelnik didn’t have any plans to pursue another run at public office
Official Publication of the County of Berks, PA 633 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601 Commissioners Office: 610-478-6136 • commissioners@countyofberks.com www.countyofberks.com
4 Sihelnik Hoping To Lead by Example 6 Taking Over The Reins 12 Rail Revival 16 Connecting Berks to Broadband 18 A Kaleidoscope of Safety 20 Johnson elected as First Female President Judge 22 Your Library Now Fine-Free 24 Spring Into Outdoor Fun with Berks County Parks 28 Armed Forces Day Parade 30 IMAGINE Berks 32 Preparing for the Primary 33 County 101 36 Employment Opportunities 42 Rincón en Español Employment Opportunities 36 Looking for a rewarding and challenging career? Learn more about current job openings with the County of Berks and other local employers.

At the start of 2023, all libraries of the Berks County Public Library System welcomed the new year by eliminating late fines on their traditional library materials and clearing all patron accounts of past fines.

www.countyofberks.com 3 May 20, 2023 Armed Forces Day Parade 28 Advertisers’ Index Addiction Education & Recovery Council on Chemical Abuse 9 Addictions Treatment & Recovery Services TASC............................................................. 21 & 35 Berks County Tourism Reading & Berks County, Pennsylvania’s Americana Region Back Cover Business Management Consulting SCORE Berks Schuylkill ...................................... 40 Community Revitalization Habitat for Humanity of Berks County 20 West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation 35 Contractor Services Home Builders Association of Berks County .. 19 Education Albright College 5 Alvernia University Inside Front Cover Employment Opportunities Brentwood Industries ........................................... 39 Cornerstone Law Firm, LLC .............................. 37 East Penn Manufacturing .................................... 39 Supportive Concepts for Families ...................... 38 The Children’s Home of Reading 38 Tower Health Reading Hospital 39 Healthcare Berks County Medical Society ............................ 29 Home & Business Security SAH, Inc. 26 Hospital & Healthcare UPMC Lititz 11 Insurance & Benefits EHD ....................................................................... 26 Literacy Services Literacy Council of Reading-Berks 5 Realtor Peter Heim, Realtor ® 9 Lisa Tiger Realtor ® ................................................. 7 Senior Living Services CarePatrol of Reading & Berks County 21 Staffing & Recruitment Gage Personnel 35 & 37 For Advertising Information, contact Berks1st@hoffpubs.com
Your Library Now Fine-Free 22
A First for Berks Spring
Outdoor
20 24
Into
Fun
Johnson elected as first female President Judge M. Theresa Johnson is the first woman to hold the leadership position since the Berks court system was formed in 1752. With Berks County Parks With nine parks and a full slate of educational and entertaining programs, there’s fun for all ages within the Berks County Park System.

Berks’ Newest County Commissioner

Sihelnik Hoping To LEAD BY EXAMPLE

With her new ice cream business in full swing, Lucine E. Sihelnik didn’t have any plans to pursue another run at public office in 2023. But when Kevin Barnhardt announced he would be resigning from his role as County Commissioner with a year left on his term, Sihelnik saw it as yet another opportunity to step up and serve her community.

Of the more than 20 individuals who applied to fill Barnhardt’s spot, Sihelnik rose to the top because she didn’t intend to run for the position in the upcoming election. The Board of Judges said that factored into their selection because they felt it was important for the voters to choose the next duly elected Commissioner from an equal playing field.

“There are not many people out there who would drop their life for 11 months to come fill a position,” President Judge M. Theresa Johnson said during Sihelnik’s swearingin ceremony on Feb. 21. “You are a very special person, and we are really looking forward to working with you. … I think the County is in fantastic hands.”

Sihelnik, 42, believes the true calling of a public servant is to rise to the occasion and fulfill whatever need the community has in that moment. Years ago, that meant stepping in to lead the Penn Street Market when it faced elimination. It then became serving on City Council from 2018-2021, including two years as Vice President. And, most recently, it became opening the Great American Creamery to give downtown Reading a boost during a global pandemic.

Sihelnik also currently serves as an Alvernia Trustee and is on The Friends of the Reading Hospital Board and Reading Muhlenberg CTC Occupational Advisory Committee.

4 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
FEATURE – New Commissioner
Article and photos by Stephanie Weaver
I’ve always had proven results and outcomes from what I do and that’s something I take a lot of pride in.
– Lucine Sihelnik

“It’s all been a demonstration of leadership when needed, where needed,” she said. “I’ve always had proven results and outcomes from what I do and that’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

During her tenure as the second female Commissioner in Berks County history, Sihelnik hopes to continue to lead by example, fostering a sense of shared purpose and strengthening the community’s circle of trust through transparency. As a proud resident of more than 20 years, she feels motivated to do whatever she can to bring the best opportunities to the community she lives in.

“If I can work towards that, instead of falling into complaining, then I’m going to go out there and disrupt politely to bring the change that needs to happen,” she said.

Fellow Commissioners Christian Leinbach and Michael Rivera said they are looking forward to working with Sihelnik during the next year and believe her background and experience will serve as great assets to continue to move Berks forward.

“I know that she will be a great addition,” Leinbach said. “My only disappointment is that she is not running for the position.”

And even though she’s not quite ready to pursue an elected position beyond this appointment right now, Sihelnik said she isn’t ruling out future possibilities.

“There’s still this desire and fulfillment of purpose for me to work in this capacity,” she said. “This appointment will give me the opportunity to serve under a different set of circumstances and see if it is something I am interested in pursuing in the future.”

55th ANNIVERSARY BREAKFAST to support the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks

Friday, June 9, 2023 at DoubleTree by Hilton • 7:30am

Tickets available at www.lcrb.org

www.countyofberks.com 5
Dreams Turning
Reality
into
610-670-9960 Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for traditional and adult students. ALBRIGHT.EDU A TOP NATIONAL COLLEGE - WSJ/TIMES HIGHER ED
35 S. Dwight St., West Lawn, PA 19609 •

The Reins Taking Over

Kevin Barnhardt knew the County of Berks was facing a tall task last summer. With then-Chief Administrative Officer Ron Seaman announcing his plans to retire the following spring, County officials would need to find a new captain to steer the ship.

Seaman possessed knowledge that could only be accessed by spending decades serving in various roles within local government. To find someone with that type of background, passion and knowledge of the County’s people, processes and projects felt nearly impossible.

Then, like most of his best ideas, ingenuity struck Barnhardt while he was riding his bike. He could apply.

So instead of gearing up to run for his fifth term as a County Commissioner, Barnhardt submitted his application to be the County’s new Chief Operations Officer.

6 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
FEATURE – County Leadership Team
Article by Stephanie Weaver, Photos by Lauren Adele Little
“It was a leap of faith, but I think it was the right decision at the right time,” Barnhardt said. “The elected part was nice, but I’ve always felt that I was a public servant and I wanted to do right by the people.”

A few floors lower, Larry Medaglia felt a similar urge to rise to the occasion. After 27 years as the Berks County Register of Wills, Medaglia was hoping to vie for one more term before retiring. But the allure of this new professional challenge had him rethinking those plans.

“There are so many really exciting things happening in this county and County government is right in the thick of it,” he said. “I’ve always said that everything I had done professionally over the years had led me to the next step. This was now a chance to utilize those connections and experiences in a way that could benefit a much broader base.”

After a six-month hiring process that involved numerous interviews, the County Commissioners announced in December that Barnhardt would be the new Chief Operations Officer and Medaglia would be the Deputy COO. Both men resigned from their elected positions in January to spend a few months learning from Seaman before his retirement on April 11.

Barnhardt said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was at least a bit of apprehension about how the two strong-willed, Type A personalities would mesh in their new roles, but so far, it’s been a dream.

“We’re like a hand and glove here,” he said.

Medaglia agreed, noting that for two elected officials who never worked together previously, they’ve quickly found their rhythm. With a significant assist from their executive assistants Jessica Blauser and Brittney Frankowski, the new team is doing its best to hit the ground running under the guidance of Seaman. Or as Medaglia aptly referred to him, Master Yoda.

But even Seaman has been impressed with the uncanny chemistry that’s blossomed between his two successors.

“The dovetailing I see taking place, where one person fits in very nicely in a particular niche that the other one doesn’t, is a tremendous asset that I didn’t have,” he said. “The knowledge that they bring with them was unparalleled in relation to the other potential applicants. And they bring an interest and zeal that I only hope is sustainable.”

continued on next page

www.countyofberks.com 7
“I am very happy with the hires we made,” Commissioner Michael Rivera said. “Both of these gentlemen have extensive experience in County government and will be able to help Berks County continue to move forward in a positive direction.”

Constant flow of information

While Barnhardt and Medaglia have synched up smoothly, neither was fully prepared for what awaited them in their new positions. Whether comparing it to trying to drink from the forceful spray of a fire hose or discovering the true mass of the iceberg that had been hiding beneath the water, the blistering pace of the job isn’t for the faint of heart.

“The amount of information that comes at you in a day is mind-boggling,” Medaglia said. “You think you have an idea of what’s in store for you, but most days never resemble what the morning calendar looked like. But that’s the nature of a very large, diverse and dynamic organization.”

Barnhardt thought he had a decent grasp on the County’s various projects and initiatives when he was a commissioner, but he never realized all the administrative tasks Seaman was also juggling behind the scenes. He said his biggest challenge so far has been determining how to prioritize all of those moving pieces each day and still produce results.

But the biggest piece of advice he’s received from Seaman is to simply slow down.

“You have to sip instead of gulp,” Barnhardt said. “And if you’re going to sink or swim, you’ve got to delegate. You can’t just handle it all because there’s this constant churning of things.”

Barnhardt and Medaglia both praised the County’s various department heads for the leadership, expertise and energy they pour into their demanding roles. Barnhardt said one of his main objectives as COO is to provide the department heads with the support they need.

“They’re all tremendous and dedicated people,” he said. “And when they need help, we need to be there to support them and be their advocate to the Board, because we believe in them. I can’t say enough about some of these people. I really don’t know how some of them do it.”

Even though their first few weeks have been a whirlwind, both Barnhardt and Medaglia said they are enjoying the wild ride and are eager to continue to learn and move the County forward. And hopefully, when it eventually becomes time for them to pass along the well-worn reins, they’ll have left their own unique stamps in the County of Berks history book.

“No matter what you do, your goal should be to do the right thing and to bring integrity to every choice that you make,” Medaglia said. “The Commissioners are the ones who establish the vision for the organization and our job is to execute that vision. To the extent that we have success, I’ll know that I had some part in that, and that’s a very rewarding thing.

Age: 63

Lives in South Heidelberg Township

Prior Positions: County Commissioner (15 years), Mayor of West Reading (9 years), and West Reading Borough Council (15 years).

Other Work Experience: Food wholesale

Barnhardt loves to clear his mind by being active, whether its swimming at the YMCA, riding his bike or walking his beloved dog, Buddy. “I do some of my best thinking when I’m not sitting in the office.”

8 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
FEATURE – County Leadership Team
Kevin Barnhardt

Larry Medaglia

Age: 60

Lives in Wyomissing

Prior Positions: Register of Wills (27 years), Administrator in the DA’s Office (4 years), and Wyomissing Hills Borough Council (2 years)

Other Work Experience:

Co-owner of a painting and contracting business

Medaglia served as a youth football coach for 22 years and said that experience lends well to his new role in County leadership. “You rely on specific coaches for the talents they bring and then you try to synthesize that into something that is going to lead to success. And you also learn that there is never a substitute for preparation or hard work.”

Ronald Seaman

Age: 70

Lives in Albany Township

Prior Positions: County Chief Administrative Officer (6.5 years), South Heidelberg Township Manager (13 years), Chief Clerk, HR manager, and other County government positions (23 years and 9 months)

Other Work Experience:

Constable, Truck Driver, Realtor and more

In addition to the wide variety of jobs he’s held, Seaman’s also dabbled as a semi-professional magician, hosted mobile record shows, sings with both his church choir and the Blue Mountain Heritage Chorus, and is learning to play the bagpipes to join the Hawk Mountain Highlanders. “I’ve done so many different things and there are so many more I want to do. Life holds so much out there, and I want to taste a part of as much of it as I can.”

Our Home is Worth What!

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A Lifetime of Service

Ron Seaman got his first taste of government life before he even graduated high school. As a teenager in the page program for the U.S. House of Representatives, Seaman fondly remembers the hustle and bustle he witnessed inside those storied Washington, D.C. walls.

“The Speaker of the House walked in the first day onto the floor of Congress and grabbed the gavel,” Seaman said. “And I thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’”

Now after more than 43 years serving in various local government roles, Seaman is ready to have a little more time for himself and his many interests. His last day as the Chief Operations Officer for the County of Berks was April 11.

Seaman has a lengthy list of things he’d like to accomplish during his retirement, but also knows he wants to find some type of part-time employment. He’s hoping to finally have the time needed to organize his many books and eclectic collections, spend more time with his grandchildren and fully pursue his dream of becoming a proficient bagpiper with the Hawk Mountain Highlanders.

“I’m not sure if it’s a bittersweet moment or a deer in the headlights moment,” he said. “It’s something that, like any other new venture, is filled with a little bit of concern about the unknown.”

Seaman started his career with the County of Berks as a member of the Board of Assessment Appeals. He then became the first countywide HR director, which transformed into a dual role as the HR director and Chief Clerk. At that time, the Chief Clerk also oversaw elections.

When the County decided to split the responsibilities into two positions, Seaman left to pursue other interests for a few years. But it didn’t take long for him to return to public service in 2003 as South Heidelberg’s township manager.

After 13 years with the township, Seaman heard the County was restructuring its top administrative position in 2016. The more he heard about the position, the more he realized it was very similar to his previous role as the gatekeeper between the County’s departments and the Commissioners.

“Being involved in government work was just in my blood,” he said. “I was lucky that I got to serve in positions that were vastly different and touched a different facet of the whole operation. That let me see things that a normal governmental

employee doesn’t get to be involved in. All of that helped me, I hope, in becoming successful in my current role because of my knowledge in all those various areas.”

Now as he looks back on all those years with the County, Seaman is amazed by the providence that has followed him, especially during some of the job’s most stressful situations. While those challenges seemed daunting in the moment, Seaman said there was always a willingness that arose within himself and other individuals to jump in and bring about a positive resolution.

“That’s kind of a Kodak moment that you’ll always remember,” he said. “I have to wonder what guiding light did I have that saw me through and gave me the ability to make the right decision in the right moment.”

Seaman said he’s especially proud of what the County has accomplished in recent years, from navigating through the pandemic in a way that kept operations viable while maintaining a degree of safety and growth of several departments to adjusting to the evolving election process and utilizing technology to modernize operations.

“When I first started with the County, we were not very progressive,” Seaman said. “Through the years, we rose to a level where we are doing some innovative programming and kind of became the role model for other jurisdictions.”

Seaman’s advice to anyone who takes on the mantle is to never become complacent and to always be willing to learn and take the necessary time to educate yourself on new topics. He said the only way to be truly effective in the position is to always stay one step ahead and to lean on common sense.

And whenever he could, Seaman tried to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to work quietly in the background to help make it all happen.

“I hope people always remember me as someone who was approachable, compassionate and wanted to assist them in making their operation and their career here as good as it could be,” he said. “And that I always had their best interest at heart.”

10 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
FEATURE – County Leadership Team
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Rail Revival

With a vibrant authority, community support and unprecedented funding opportunities, the latest effort to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia remains full steam ahead.

The idea of bringing passenger rail service back to Reading has been batted around for decades. Beyond its Monopoly board fame, the Reading Railroad played a significant role in the history of Berks County and the nation overall. And for the good part of a century, that railroad served as a critical mode of transportation to connect Reading with Philadelphia.

12 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023 FEATURE – Passenger Rail

Passenger rail service between the two cities ended in 1981, but discussions about finding a way to bring it back started up as early as the ‘90s. But each time, the governmentfunded efforts stalled out shortly after the completion of an initial study.

That trend changed in 2020 when the Berks Alliance, a private sector organization funded by local businesses, commissioned and paid for a new study.

“They looked at the challenge from a very different perspective,” Berks County Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said. “The result was a study that, for the first time, provided a cost-effective approach to restoration of passenger rail.”

A viable option

One important factor of the Berks Alliance study was that, instead of only looking at commuter service between the two cities, it explored the option of working with Amtrak and inter-city service to tie Berks to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. via Amtrak’s larger network.

“When they spoke with Amtrak and ran the numbers, they knew they had a viable option to present that no prior study had considered,” Leinbach said.

At the same time, PennDOT was working on its own analysis to examine the critical path necessary to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia. These studies helped foster discussions between officials in Berks with leadership in Chester and Montgomery counties to find a way to join forces and move toward next steps together. Up until that point, each county had been attempting to find solutions on their own.

In February 2021, the counties formed the Tri-County Passenger Rail Committee, which spent the next year researching the viability of the project with Amtrak and SEPTA. This effort was further bolstered by the 2021 enactment of the federal infrastructure bill, which makes unprecedented federal funding available for inter-city rail projects.

With Amtrak expressing an interest to establish the regional service, the three counties unanimously approved creating the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority in April 2022.

“The formation of a three-county authority to pursue the project is the first time the chief elected officials of all three counties have formally united around the project and have committed both financial and staff resources to bring it to fruition,” said Jim Gerlach, president of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

continued on next page

“About four years ago I began discussing the restoration of passenger rail with the commissioners in Montgomery and Chester Counties to see if there was interest in tackling this challenge together. We quickly identified that each county was trying to address restoration of passenger rail for certain communities in their respective counties. For Berks County, it was the City of Reading. For Chester County it was the Borough of Phoenixville and for Montgomery County it was the Borough of Pottstown. … Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties clearly understand that we are much stronger working together.”

www.countyofberks.com 13

The three counties will provide equal funding to operate the authority for the first two years, starting with a $100,000 investment from each county. The nine-member authority includes three representatives from each county, including a County Commissioner. Berks County’s representatives are Leinbach, Gerlach and Reading Mayor Eddie Moran.

One of the authority’s first actions was to hire Thomas Frawley as the SRPRA’s interim executive director. Frawley, of Chester County, has more than 40 years of experience in the train industry, working on and off with Amtrak. His work on the 2018 Phoenixville Mayor’s Task Force study into passenger rail restoration allowed him to become extremely familiar with the corridor that runs through his own backyard.

Frawley believes the confluence of funding sources is what makes this effort different from prior attempts. One of his main focuses now is to secure funding and support from state and federal sources, specifically by applying to participate in the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor Identification Development Program. If SRPRA’s application is accepted, the authority will be able to work with the federal government to develop a scope, prepare a service development plan, design improvements for passenger rail service and construct necessary improvements.

“This program presents funding for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore passenger rail service from Reading and Philadelphia and beyond,” Frawley said.

“The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority may be a big name, but it has a single purpose: To bring a train service back to a region where it is greatly needed and where it will benefit so many. We have a groundswell of support from residents, business owners and community leaders, and we have three counties focused as one, to make this happen.”

‘Everybody wins’

Authority members say restoring passenger rail service to Reading opens the city up to one of the strongest economic regions in the world: The mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. Linking into that network opens the door to economic development opportunities that simply aren’t possible today. The new service would help bring people from across the region to Reading and Berks County for jobs, social gatherings and cultural events, and in turn, gives Berks residents a reliable, safe and efficient transportation option to access other major cities and communities along the line.

“That cumulative activity will result in increased interest from developers to undertake commercial, residential, and cultural projects in the City and County necessary to meet rail passengers’ new demand for services and community amenities,” Gerlach said.

Various studies have shown that passenger rail service will bring an immense impact to all of the communities along the route. Over 30 years, the line is estimated to create economic and environmental benefits that include:

• $1.4 billion of income generation for residents

“Montgomery County is pleased to join with our partners in Berks and Chester to provide the seed funding to create the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority. By working with other municipalities along the Reading – Philadelphia Corridor, we will leverage our combined resources and capabilities to support station development as an integrated element of Transit Oriented Development and other community improvement strategies. This corridor would increase mobility for Reading and Philadelphia residents to and from the broader Northeast region with daily multi-frequency service.”

• More than $1 billion in new property development

• Job creation, directly with the rail service and through the growth of local businesses

• Reduction in vehicle congestion, specifically along the 422 corridor, with an estimated 1.5-1.8 million riders on the train, and off the road.

Beyond the economic advantages, the restoration of rail service will also contribute to lower transportation costs, improved air quality in the region and equity and economic empowerment. Frawley believes it could bring the boost the City of Reading needs to once again become a proud and prosperous city.

“This is a project that I think is going to have a lot of benefits, a lot of ‘everybody wins’ results,” Frawley said. “It’s also achievable in a reasonable amount of time.”

14 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
FEATURE – Passenger Rail

Making it happen

But even though the stars seem to be finally aligning, Leinbach stressed the importance of always keeping in mind the delicate balance between beneficial opportunities and costs.

“We have an obligation to be deliberate and thorough as we move through the process,” he said. “Just because we have come this far does not mean that the restoration of passenger rail is complete or a foregone conclusion.”

Leinbach noted that while the authority has successfully negotiated for Amtrak to be the operator, they still need to negotiate the use of existing rail lines with Norfolk Southern and SEPTA. And through those conversations they will better understand the true capital cost and ongoing operational costs of maintaining the line.

These considerations are why the authority was formed with the requirement that, after three years, all three counties will vote on whether to reauthorize the SRPRA. If one county decides against it, the SRPRA will end.

“This process will take time and strategic thinking,” Leinbach said. “We are committed to an open and transparent process, which is why we have this built-in review and analysis mechanism.”

So far, it’s been all green lights, fueled by a team of individuals who are committed to making the most of the incredible opportunity before them. Gerlach said he has been especially impressed by the laser focus and professionalism of the SRPRA members and their respective staffs.

“Restoration of regional rail service has been discussed for decades in our area, so the Commissioners and fellow SRPRA members aren’t engaged in this work to see it fail yet again,” Gerlach said. “We all know this service is needed and can be achieved, so everyone is focused on how to accomplish this goal as quickly and budgetarily efficiently as possible.”

Frawley agreed, saying he hopes this effort can bring lasting change for all the communities involved. That’s why, after four decades in the business and completing successful projects across the country, he wanted to be a part of this one.

“I’m at a point in my career where I really prefer to focus on things that are interesting and fun,” Frawley said. “I am working with a lot of really nice, really bright people and I’ve had no complaints whatsoever. Sure, sometimes it’s herding cats, but I think everybody, in the end, wants to see something good happen.”

Amtrak Bus Service

Berks residents eager for a safe, comfortable and economic way to travel from Reading to Philadelphia can check out the new Amtrak Thruway Connection bus service.

The service, which launched last summer, consists of two daily trips in each direction, with an intermediate stop in Pottstown. The buses departing from Reading leave daily at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., while the ones from Philadelphia depart at 11:35 a.m. and 5:55 p.m.

The bus service was launched as a precursor to the restoration of passenger rail service in the Schuylkill River corridor. The route is also directly integrated into Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and National Network that includes services to Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Washington, Florida and more.

Tickets can be purchased at www.amtrak.com, through the Amtrak app or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.

STOPS:

Reading: BARTA Transportation Center, 701 Franklin St., Reading

Pottstown: Hanover Street, near the Charles W. Dickinson Transportation Center

Philadelphia: William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, Philadelphia

www.countyofberks.com 15
Preliminary Regional Planning FRA Expression of Interest Letter Service Development Plan – Version 1 FRA Corridor Identification Program Application Preliminary Design and Engineering Final Design and Engineering Construction (Not Yet Forecasted) Service Development Plan Updates Start Up and Revenue Operation (Not Yet Forecasted) 2022 2023 2024 2025 Conceptual Design and Engineering Re-affirmation of Authority by Counties FRA Announcement of Selected Corridors

Connecting Berks to Broadband

County takes first steps toward closing the digital divide

Throughout the last decade, the ability to access the Internet has become as essential to daily life as electricity and running water. The importance of broadband access only became more heightened during the COVID pandemic, when schools, businesses and organizations had to find creative solutions to conduct routine business on a virtual platform.

While many residents don’t have to think twice about jumping online to schedule an appointment or check out the latest viral dance, there are unfortunately many areas within Berks County’s borders that do not have affordable and reliable access to the Internet.

That realization is what prompted the Wyomissing Foundation to bring together public and private organizations in 2020 to begin examining how to bring better broadband access to Berks. Now that effort has grown into a full-fledged task force, armed with a countywide feasibility report and $6.3 million in base funding to support making real improvements to the county’s broadband infrastructure.

Identifying gaps

The Berks County Broadband Task Force began to take shape in the spring of 2022. Building from the work of several community partners, the County Commissioners initiated a focused effort to fully review the availability, affordability and overall accessibility of broadband throughout the county.

But expanding broadband access isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. It requires a multi-stage process that kicked off with a communitywide survey to accurately identify what parts of the county had unreliable, inadequate, or, in some cases, completely nonexistent access to the Internet.

The County hired Lit Communities Broadband to perform a feasibility study and other necessary evaluations that, in combination with the survey results, would help identify the current needs and outline opportunities for improvement.

Lit Communities completed the Berks County Broadband Assessment in October 2022 and identified the following key findings:

• Clear gaps exist within the broadband infrastructure and have a direct impact on residents, businesses and service organizations. The largest gap areas were found in the northern region of the county.

• There is a critical need to improve digital literacy among residents, particularly as it relates to workforce requirements and access to telehealth. Digital literacy relates to an individual’s ability to navigate, evaluate and communicate information online.

• Through partnerships with community organizations, there are opportunities to improve outreach to those who are unserved or underserved.

• The survey found there is a general satisfaction with speed and reliability of current Internet services, but dissatisfaction with price and a heightened concern about the lack of competition and choice of Internet providers.

• There is heightened opportunity for economic advancement where fiber infrastructure is currently lacking in Berks.

• Nearly all survey respondents (98%) stressed the importance of conducting the Berks County Broadband Study.

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FEATURE – Broadband Initiative

Investing in Next Steps

Led by the report’s findings, the Berks County Broadband Task Force brought several recommendations to the County Commissioners in November as steps to begin addressing the identified needs. In January, the Commissioners approved allocating $6.3 million from County General Funds, made possible through American Rescue Plan funds, to support the task force’s recommendations.

Justin Loose, the County’s Chief Information Officer and Chair of the task force, said these steps certainly won’t fix every broadband issue that exists, but they will help create the groundwork for future steps and will empower the County to effectively compete for funding as it becomes available.

“We have an unprecedented amount of money coming from federal and state government,” Loose said. “We know this money is going to be competitive so part of what is coloring our recommendations is ensuring the County is in the position to quickly and rapidly move on the funding opportunities that are coming.”

The task force’s recommendations included:

• Allocating $5.7 million toward infrastructure projects with the intent of leveraging this investment toward grants, partnerships and other funding.

• Actively pursuing grant or private funding to address broadband connectivity gaps. The report specifically recommended that Berks County target funding from Pennsylvania’s $278.7 million allocation from the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund, the USDA’s ReConnect Program and the NTIA’s BEAD program.

• Allocating $600,000 to fund two pilot digital literacy programs. The programs will be run in partnership with the Berks County Intermediate Unit and the Berks Community Health Center to help residents obtain the access they need for education and health services.

• Authorizing the committee to initiate dialogue with neighboring counties to identify opportunities for collaboration and further increase the likelihood of obtaining funding.

• Authorizing the committee to continue discussions with new and incumbent carriers to identify opportunities for collaboration to address the unserved and underserved areas of Berks.

• Collaborating with municipalities, authorities and other stakeholders to look at opportunities for infrastructure buildout, including right of way and “dig once” opportunities.

Berks County Broadband Task Force Partners:

• Berks Alliance

• Berks County Community Foundation

• Berks County Intermediate Unit

• City of Reading

• Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center

• Reading Public Library

• Reading School District

• United Way of Berks County

• UPMC For You Health Plan

• Wyomissing Foundation

Pat Giles, president of the Wyomissing Foundation, and several community partners from the task force spoke before the Commissioners during the November 2022 meeting to support the recommendations. Giles said the driving force behind this effort has always been the critical impact broadband access has not only on residents’ quality of life, but also their employment, education and health opportunities.

“This is just the beginning of this effort,” she said. “This report provides us with what we know needs to be done and, in some cases, a focus on where it needs to happen. But getting it done is really the biggest challenge ahead of us. We recognize that this needs to continue to be collective work of public and private partners in this effort.”

Dr. Anna Weitz, who served as the chair of the Wyomissing Foundation’s original broadband-based community group, told the Commissioners she’s amazed by the work that has been accomplished thus far.

“One of the great things about Berks County is our ability to collaborate and to cooperate,” the former RACC president said. “I cannot think of a project that I have been involved in from the community aspect from the last 15 years that demonstrates this kind of collaboration better than what you’re hearing about today.”

Check out the full Broadband Assessment Plan and learn more about how you can help improve accessibility and bring better broadband access to Berks at www.countyofberks. com/broadband.

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A Kaleidoscope of Safety

For several weeks, the walls on the second floor of the Berks County Services Center will be adorned with special artwork as part of a collaboration between Berks County Children and Youth Services and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts.

The artwork, which is on display until April 17, will help raise awareness and recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Berks CYS and GoggleWorks teamed up years ago to host a similar art display that featured adult artists, but this time the colorful creations are all from local children.

The exhibit will feature between 50 and 60 individual and collaborative pieces that represent what being safe means and looks like to the young artists.

“We’re rekindling the relationship with GoggleWorks to give us the opportunity to have the children in our community creatively express what safety means to them,” said Elizabeth Monick, Manager of In-Home Services for Berks County CYS.

Monick said the project is a great reflection of Berks County Children and Youth Services’ mission to protect children and assure their physical and emotional well-being as provided by law, and to preserve, strengthen and empower their families.

After their time in the Services Center, the artwork will be moved to the GoggleWorks, where it will be on display for the rest of April. Levi Landis, the executive director for GoggleWorks, said it was an honor to partner with Berks County CYS on this meaningful project.

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Children & Youth Services
“The safety of our children is paramount for our community. When kids are safe, they can recognize and create a beautiful world. BCCYS is the perfect partner to spread artwork by kids in our community and raise awareness around the abuse faced by so many.”
- Levi Landis, Executive Director, GoggleWorks
Two young artists work on their creations during an art class at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. The artwork will be part of a display to raise awareness about Child Abuse Prevention Month that stems from a collaboration between GoggleWorks and Berks County Children and Youth Services. Photo provided by Alex Gordon with GoggleWorks Center for the Arts
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A first for Berks: Johnson elected as first female President Judge

M. Theresa Johnson first set foot in the Berks County Courthouse as an intern with the District Attorney’s office in 1993. Now 30 years later, Johnson has become the first woman to serve in the highest position on the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

Johnson, 57, was elected unanimously by her 12 fellow judges last fall to become the new President Judge. She is the first woman to serve in the leadership position since the Berks court system was formed in 1752.

Johnson said that while the accomplishment marked a historic day for women, she was able to reach it, in part, because of the men who supported her along the way. She hopes it can be a celebration for all and an encouragement for women to keep striving.

“Women should not hesitate to put themselves out there, because there are a lot of men who want to see them succeed,” Johnson said. “I think it just takes the courage of one person to start it.”

Johnson was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2014 after spending most of her career with the District Attorney’s Office. Her fellow judges said they selected Johnson because of her intelligence, good character, experience, work ethic and, most of all, humility.

Johnson invited the daughters of several attorneys who practice before her to hold the Bible as she was sworn in by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl on Jan. 5. Assistant District Attorney Jacquelin Hamer Groucutt and Assistant Public Defender Amy Litvinov said they were honored to have their daughters participate in the historic moment.

“President Judge Johnson sets a great example for not just female judges and attorneys, but for everyone,” Hamer Groucutt said. “She has consistently kept cases moving, demanding hard work and preparedness from everyone who appears before her, and has always ensured efficiency and justice, even during a global pandemic.”

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Court of Common Pleas
M. Theresa Johnson was sworn in as the first female President Judge for the Berks County Court of Common Pleas by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl on Jan. 5, 2023. Photo provided by Lauren Marks

President Judge M. Theresa Johnson invited the daughters of several attorneys who practice before her to participate in her swearing-in ceremony. The lucky young ladies included (left to right) Maggie Groucutt, Charlotte Bodor, Penny Groucutt, Anna Litvinov and Nina Litvinov.

Litvinov said it’s a privilege to practice before a judge who possesses integrity, compassion, and intelligence, while also understanding the complexity of being a working parent in the legal profession.

“My daughters will be encouraged to pursue any ambition because of women, such as the Honorable President Judge M. Theresa Johnson, who have blazed a trail before them,” Litvinov said. “This appointment reflects our current bench’s ability to recognize the need for diversity in our courts. They have elected a woman jurist who demonstrates vitality in moving our court forward and vigor in strengthening the judiciary.”

During her 5-year term as President Judge, Johnson hopes to oversee sweeping upgrades to the courthouse so that video hearings can be conducted in every courtroom. She also wants to focus on completing the implementation of online criminal filings by attorneys to create a more efficient system for everyone.

“My goal is that the Berks County courts are recognized for their good work throughout the state,” Johnson said. “I want Berks to become a role model.”

Before Navigating This Decision Alone

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Your Library Fine-Free IS NOW !

At the start of 2023, all libraries of the Berks County Public Library System welcomed the new year by eliminating late fines on their traditional library materials and clearing all patron accounts of past fines.

What does this mean for you?

If your library account had accrued fines from late items, you now have a clean slate to borrow from your library again! The Berks County Commissioners partnered with local libraries to help give everyone a fresh start at their library by clearing fines from all accounts.

It’s important to note that there may be some accounts which have fees associated with them from items that were damaged or never returned to the library. Fees are different from fines and will remain on the account until resolved. Patrons who have fees are encouraged to contact their library about a possible solution.

Late vs Lost

While there will no longer be late fines for traditional library items returned a few days after their due dates, late fines will still be in place for specialty materials, including:

• Library of Things materials

• Museum/Admission passes

• Inter-Library Loans (from outside of the system)

• Technology

• Equipment

After so many days of not being returned, a long-overdue item will become marked as lost and the replacement fee is added to the library card account.

Welcome back to the library!

If you’ve stopped using your library due to overdue fines, we would like to invite you back to the library. You may be surprised to see what your library has to offer, including electronic media from its digital collection, free access to databases such as Ancestry.com, and household tools & equipment you can borrow with your library card from the Library of Things collection. Learn more about the fine-free change and see what is available at your library by visiting www.berkslibraries.org.

Borrow more than 30,000 titles from your library’s digital collection.

Borrow different crafting tools from your library like knitting needles, resin casting molds, and even a Cricut EasyPress (pictured).

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Library System

Find yard games like these bocce ball and pickle ball sets by exploring the Library of Things collection online.

Longwood Gardens Community Read

As the winter frost thaws, yielding to the vibrant growth of spring, Berks County Public Libraries would like to invite readers to connect with nature during this year’s Community Read, sponsored by Longwood Gardens and hosted by your local library. Now in its 10th year, the Longwood Gardens Community Read is a collaboration between Longwood Gardens, local libraries, and museums to provide a communitywide read of selected book titles.

The Community Read occurs from March to May and features two adult titles and one for children that explore the connection between nature and food. Programs related to the 2023 theme will be held at various library locations. Copies of all three titles are available for patrons to borrow with a Berks County Public Libraries card. Electronic versions of both adult books may be borrowed from your library’s digital collection.

Learn more about this year’s Community Read by visiting www.berkslibraries.org/longwood-reads.

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora, edited and curated by Bryant Terry

An exuberant celebration of foodways and culture, Black Food is a beautiful, fun read of powerful essays, stunning visual art, and delicious recipes focusing on the culinary histories of the African diaspora.

The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph

Illustrated by Liz Anna Kozik

In this graphic novel guide, discover how to grow a successful vegetable garden, from planning, prepping, and planting to troubleshooting, care, and harvesting.

A library patron explores Ancestry.com at a genealogy program hosted by the Muhlenberg Community Library.

Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley

In this picture book for our youngest readers, trace the childhood roots of this revered chef’s appreciation for the bounties of nature as Edna and her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals.

Looking to try something new? The Library of Things collection allows you to borrow before you buy to see if that item is right for you.

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INTO OUTDOOR FUN with Berks County Parks

Are you looking for a place to enjoy the great outdoors? Want to learn more about Berks County’s rich history? Interested in ways to encourage your kids to get outside and be active? The Berks County Parks & Recreation Department has a little something for everyone. The beautiful parks in the County system are open for recreation year-round, but also offer a full schedule of programming that is often free or low-cost.

The Berks County Parks and Recreation Department is excited to continue some of its favorite programs in 2023, including the 35th year of Holiday Lights, and introduce some new ones! Some of the most popular new programs include the monthly Read with a Ranger program, which teaches toddlers about the environment as they become honorary Junior Rangers, the Summer Drop-In Art program for kids, and Museum Day, where visitors can see how the Gruber WagonWorks operated in its heyday.

The Berks County Park system includes nine parks, with the most well-known sites located along the Tulpehocken Creek. Gring’s Mill Recreation Area is one of the most-visited parks as the historic property serves as the backdrop for runs, concerts, and the everpopular Holiday Lights celebration.

Follow the Union Canal Tow Path North and you will come across the Berks County Heritage Center. This site is the home to many historic buildings, both original and relocated to the site:

The Gruber Wagon Works, which is a National Historic Landmark, the C. Howard Heister Canal Museum and a beautiful, covered bridge with its own park, the Red Bridge Recreation Area.

The Berks Leisure Area is found just south of Gring’s Mill and offers a large pavilion for rent and a pickleball court. Continue further down the Union Canal trail and you’ll find the Stonecliffe Recreation Area, which is the home of an action sports park for skateboarders, skaters, and BMX riders.

On the wilder side, the County owns Antietam Lake and the Angora Fruit Farm, which is home to roughly 12 miles of trails, a lake and two ponds. Programming on this site includes things like a Glow Hike, Hike & Yoga, and nature education programs.

The County also owns the Allegheny Aqueduct/ Beidler House which is utilized for seasonal programming, and the Youth Recreation Facility, a sports complex leased to Big Show Sports for leagues and tournaments.

Be on the lookout for even more fun programs as the Berks Parks team comes up with new ideas to get people outdoors for entertainment and education. To keep up with all of the programming and happenings, follow @berkscountyparks on Facebook.

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Parks & Recreation

APRIL 2023

Tuesday, April 18

Read with a Ranger: Earth Day

10 a.m. at Bingaman House

Join Park Ranger Doug Grove on an adventure! Kids ages 3-5 are invited to enjoy a themed story, go for a walk on the trail and complete a craft to become an honorary Junior Ranger. The theme for April is Earth Day. Parents/guardians must attend with their child (this is not a drop-off program). This program is FREE, but registration is required. Contact Lisa Gauker at 610-374-2944, ext 2611 or lgauker@countyofberks.com.

Thursday, April 20

Celebrate Earth Day: Pollinator Water Station

5:30 p.m. at Berks Leisure Area

Celebrate Earth Day by promoting the wildlife in your own backyard! Create your own simple bee watering station and learn why providing a good place to stop and take a drink can be beneficial to lots of wildlife! $5 per project. Pre-registration required. Contact Lisa Gauker at 610-374-2944, ext 2611 or lgauker@countyofberks.com.

Thursday, April 20

Colonial Homeschool Day

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Beidler House

Join the Berks County Parks Department and the Field and Forest Homeschool Group at the historic 18th century Beidler House. Outdoor craft demonstrations and tours through the Beidler House will be available.This event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact Daniel Roe at 610-374-8839, ext. 201 or droe@countyofberks.com.

Saturday, April 29

Berks Family Fun Day

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Berks County Parks and Western Berks YMCA are hosting a family fun day at the Heritage Center to celebrate its opening weekend for the 2023 season. The day kicks off with a 5k fundraiser at 9 a.m., followed by a slew of festivities at 11 a.m., including a pig roast, mac & cheese cookoff, Kids Color Run, food trucks, vendors and more. Visit www.ymcabc.org for more information and a full list of activities and vendors. Pre-registration for the 5K is through Pretzel City Sports & RunSignUp.

Saturday, April 29

Opening Day at the Berks County Heritage Center

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Join us for opening day of the Berks County Heritage Center’s 2023 season! The park’s museums and Visitor Center Barn, which includes the Snack Bar and Country Store, will be open Thursdays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tours of the National Historic Landmark, the Gruber Wagon Works, will be offered every hour, with the last tours departing at 3 p.m. The Canal Center will be open for walk-in visitors by suggested donation. The Epler’s One Room Schoolhouse will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please visit www.countyofberks.com/parks or contact Daniel Roe at droe@countyofberks.com or 610-374-8839, ext. 201

continued on next page

Photo by Lauren Adele Little Photo by Lauren Adele Little

April

MAY 2023

Friday, May 5

Full Moon Hike | 8 p.m. at Gring’s Mill

Step out onto the Union Canal Trail to experience the parks after dark. We’ll take a stroll on the trail and look skyward to enjoy the celestial sights while learning more about history, the natural world, and more. This program is FREE, but pre-registration is required. Contact Lisa Gauker at lgauker@countyofberks.com or 610-374-2944, ext 2611.

Saturday, May 6

National Regiment Civil War Encampment

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Officers from the National Regiment, an American Civil War reenactment group with more than 15 units throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, will set up camp at the Heritage Center. Guests are invited to explore an authentically recreated Civil War encampment, experience military drills and activities and discover what solider life was like during the Civil War. Free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 6

Women in the Civil War

11 a.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Local historian Hallie Vaughn will provide an overview of the contributions of women during the American Civil War. Vaughn will highlight women who dedicated their lives, or part of their lives, to what they believed in. Some were spies, some were couriers and some disguised themselves as men to fight. Their stories might not be familiar, but after the program, you will wonder why they are not more well known. Free and open to the public.

Sunday, May 7

Wildflower Walk | 9 a.m. at Gring’s Mill

Join naturalist Kathy Grim on a guided walk, starting from Gring’s Mill and heading out on the Union Canal Trail, to locate and identify some of the wildflowers that call the Berks County Parks home. This event is FREE and designed for adults. Pre-registration required. Contact Kathy Grim at kgrim@countyofberks.com or 610-374-2944, ext. 2615.

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Saturday, May 13

Hike & Yoga w/AquaOm

9 a.m. at Angora Road Trailhead

Join us for a mindful exploration of Antietam Park. Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Cost is $5 per person. No rain date. Pre-registration required via Aqua Om at www.aopaddle.com.

Saturday, May 13

Mother’s Tree History Hike at Antietam Lake Park

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Join Parks’ staff for a hike at Antietam Lake Park that will delve into the history of the planting of the Mother’s Tree in 1923 and highlight the many historical building remnants visible along the trails. The hike will begin at the Angora Trailhead parking lot, 230 Angora Road. Event is free but pre-registration is required by May 10.

Contact Daniel Roe at droe@countyofberks.com or 610-374-8839, ext. 201.

Join Sorlien, author of the new book, Inland: The Abandoned Canals of the Schuylkill Navigation, as she reveals what she found along the essential middle section of the system that ran through Berks County via the Hamburg Canal, the Duncan Canal, the Reading Canal, and the Berks half of the Girard Canal. Historic and contemporary maps will put this section in context, including rarely seen 1827 watercolor maps by Thomas Gill and a 2022 map by Morgan Pfaelzer. Sandy’s book will be available for sale and signing after the talk. Program is free and open to the public.

Sunday, May 21

Cindy Ross: Walking Toward Peace

1 p.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Tuesday, May 16 | Read with a Ranger: Waterways

10 a.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Join Park Ranger Doug Grove on an adventure! Kids ages 3-5 are invited to enjoy a themed story, go for a walk on the trail and complete a craft to become an honorary Junior Ranger. This theme for May is Waterways. Parents/guardians must attend with their child (this is not a drop-off program). This program is FREE, but registration is required.

Contact Lisa Gauker at lgauker@countyofberks.com or 610-374-2944, ext 2611

Saturday, May 20

The Schuylkill Navigation System in Berks County

11 a.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Starting in Schuylkill County and continuing down the Schuylkill River to Philadelphia, 19th century Schuylkill Navigation Company boats brought anthracite by canal and slack water from the Coal Region to tidewater markets, creating boom towns in between. Today, the Schuylkill Navigation System is abandoned, but is not entirely gone. Over the past ten years, Sandy Sorlien has photographed the remaining stone infrastructure – locks, aqueducts, and dam abutments – along all 108 miles of the system.

Join author, artist, and triple crown thru-hiker Cindy Ross as she shares her insight into finding peace among nature and how it’s helped veterans and everyday citizens struggling with their mental health. Ross will share about the positive impacts of hiking, community, and the healing aspects of nature that she discovered through her incredible life adventures, from building a log cabin by hand to guiding veterans through long distance hikes on our national trails. Cindy’s husband recently suffered a tragic accident and is now a quadriplegic. Cindy will share how this major life change has affected them and how accessibility to the outdoors is more important than ever! All are welcome, but veterans are especially encouraged to attend. We’ll head out on the Union Canal Trail after the lecture to enjoy some time on the trail. The trail is flat and made of packed gravel for those with mobility concerns. $5 per person, veterans are FREE. Event includes light refreshments. Contact Lisa Gauker at lgauker@countyofberks.com or 610-374-2944, ext 2611

Saturday, May 27 | Schoolhouse Games

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Berks County Heritage Center

Join the Friends of the Epler’s One Room Schoolhouse to discover hands-on games that were enjoyed by students of the past. Step inside the newly restored school and experience what student life was like in a one-room schoolhouse. Games and activities will be available every fourth Saturday from May through October. Activities are free and open to the public.

Photo by Lauren Adele Little

Parade to celebrate 75th anniversary

The Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs is proud to be a major sponsor of the upcoming Berks County Armed Forces Day Parade on May 20.

As the oldest Armed Forces Day parade in the United States, the Berks County event will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Diane Price, the chair of the Armed Forces Advisory Committee for 19 years, said the parade traces its roots to the 200th anniversary celebration of the City of Reading in 1948. The following year, Armed Forces Day was established nationwide as a way to recognize all the branches of the military in a unified celebration.

The Berks County parade serves as an annual presentation of support, recognition and honor for today’s military and the veterans in the community. Military units, bands, color guards, veterans groups, drill teams, floats and patriotic community organizations will all participate in the procession through the streets of West Reading.

Ken Lebron, Director of the Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs, is part of the committee with his Deputy Director George Bolton. Lebron said the parade is an important way for the Berks community to express gratitude to those who serve in the military while also inspiring the next generation.

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By Stephanie Weaver, Photos provided by Diane Price
Veterans Affairs

Many of the parade participants are high school students involved in junior ROTC programs.

“This parade pays homage to past, present and future,” Lebron said. “It brings the community together and takes time to recognize the service and the sacrifice of our military service members, our veterans and their families.”

Meet Some Berks County Medical Society 2023 Executive Board Members

President: Bill Santoro, MD, FASAM

Chief, Division of Addiction Medicine, Tower Health

President-Elect: Ankit M. Shah, MD Emergency Medicine, Tower Health

Treasurer: Daniel A. Forman, DO Hematology & Oncology Specialist, Tower Health

Immediate Past-President: Jillian M. Ventuzelo, DO Family Medicine, Penn State Health St. Joseph

Read Berks County’s Medical Record Magazine

Enjoy locally and regionallygenerated content about relevant and trending community and population health topics, regulatory issues, and health care delivery news that impacts local physicians, affiliated healthcare providers, and YOU.

Berkscms.org/medical-record

Berks County Armed Forces Day Parade May 20, 2023 • 10 a.m. Rain or shine.

Route: Begins at 8th & Penn Avenue, right onto 3rd Avenue, right onto Spruce Street and then ends at 7th Avenue.

For more information or to get involved, email berksarmedforcesday@yahoo.com.

Tune in to BCMS HealthTalk

Hosted by physicians, HealthTalk is dedicated to information on a variety of medical conditions and hot topics.

Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm on WEEU.

Serving

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Find a Doctor! BerksDoctors.com BERKS COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY Health & WellnessDIRECTORY 2022-2024 2022-2024 BERKS COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY HEALTH & WELLNESS DIRECTORY
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Berks County for 200 Years

Planning for the Future: The IMAGINE Berks Strategic Economic Development Action Plan

The Vision

Berks County is a welcoming community that supports an exceptional quality of life, including robust business and industry, rich cultural heritage, and a resilient economy. The county’s unique mix of rural and urban spaces is enhanced by the people who join together to foster and share the community’s assets. The county population is growing in size and diversity, creating momentum and a basis for a successful economic future.

The Berks County Comprehensive Plan 2030 Update, adopted in January 2020, identified a need for an economic development strategy for the County. And not just any strategy. It would need to be actionable, inclusive, and accountable. So, in the Spring of 2021, a Project Team was assembled, led by the Department of Community and Economic Development with the Berks County Planning Commission (BCPC), Berks County Industrial Development Authority (BerksIDA) and Berks County Redevelopment Authority (BCRA).

The team spent more than a year gathering data, conducting focus groups, touring communities, and listening to Berks County residents, businesses, and community leaders. The results of that work came to fruition when the Berks County Board of Commissioners adopted Berks County’s first Strategic Economic Development Action Plan, known as IMAGINE Berks, in August 2022.

This County-led planning process intentionally brought together people, voices, and topics that have not been part of traditional strategic planning. The outcome is a plan that provides a guide for thoughtful decision-making about resources and policies affecting Berks County’s economic future and sustainability, bolstered with three years of actionable goals and strategies.

30 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
Economic Development

Implementing the Plan

There are 6 Focus Areas identified within the plan:

• Business & Industry Growth

• Small Business & Entrepreneurship

• Infrastructure & Land Use

• Talent & Economic Mobility

• Housing

• Placemaking

Each of these focus areas has specific goals and action steps that will guide our resource allocation, engage community partners, and result in a coordinated and collaborative approach. Teams made up of residents, business and community leaders, and County partners are meeting regularly to better define roles and resources and exchange information that increases our knowledge, strengthens our strategies, and creates connections to get the best possible outcomes.

In the short six months since its adoption, the Project Team has recognized significant success in aligning staff time and financial resources with the goals and strategies identified in the plan. At this time, more than $20 million, enabled by the County’s American Rescue Plan funds, has been allocated for projects and activities identified in IMAGINE Berks’ goals and strategies. These projects are spread throughout the County and represent everything from trail connections and recreation projects to investment in our boroughs, support for high-priority jobs, increased capacity for youth and senior activities, and small business lending.

Other key programs and projects include:

• Designating $5 million to establish a Berks County Infrastructure Fund that will allow municipalities to access funds for improvements on sites in their community to help attract new investment.

• Allocating $6.3 million for broadband development and education.

The chart below shows the funds that have been allocated thus far for each Focus Area of IMAGINE Berks.

$2,578,000

$3,160,000

$20.7M $6,630,000

What’s Next

The commitments and accomplishments to date have been significant and are building the foundation for a cooperative, collaborative, and effective approach to economic and community development for Berks County. Special acknowledgement is given to the County Commissioners who are committed to strategic planning and guiding legacy decisions and investments that benefit all residents.

An annual report for the community will be available in August 2023, so that the strategies and action steps are accountable and measurable against the outcomes and process metrics identified in the plan.

Thank you to all the partners, stakeholders, and cheerleaders who have helped thus far to IMAGINE Berks.

The County of Berks’ priority continues to be communicating the IMAGINE Berks plan to the community. To learn more and get the latest information about IMAGINE Berks, check out www.IMAGINEBerks.org.

$8,220,000

$150,000

If you are interested in having someone speak to your group about IMAGINE Berks, please email Derek Harris at dharris@countyofberks.com.

www.countyofberks.com 31
Business &
Infrastructure & Land Use
Talent & Economic Mobility
Placemaking
Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Industry Growth

Preparing for the Primary

The Municipal Primary will be held on Tuesday, May 16. During a Primary Election, voters decide which candidates will represent their respective parties on the ballot for the General Election in November.

In Pennsylvania, Primary Elections are closed, meaning only registered members of a political party can participate in voting for their party’s candidates. The Democratic and Republican parties will be holding primaries in Berks County this year. Any third-party or independent voters will only be able to vote if ballot questions or constitutional amendments appear on their precinct’s ballot.

All registered voters can vote in the General Election on Nov. 7, 2023.

Important Dates for the 2023 Municipal Primary:

Last day to register to vote: May 1 Register to vote at www.vote.pa.gov/register.

Last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot: May 9 Apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot at www.vote.pa.gov/ apply-mail-in. All mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by the Berks County Office of Election Services by 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 16, to be counted.

Election Day: May 16

Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m

Find your polling place at www.vote.pa.gov/polls.

On the Ballot

The following positions are up for election this year: Justice of the Supreme Court Judge of the Superior Court Judge of the Commonwealth Court Judge of the Court of Common Pleas

County Commissioners

County Controller

Recorder of Deeds

Register of Wills

Sheriff

Clerk of Courts

District Attorney

County Treasurer

Magisterial District Judges in select districts

Mayor, City of Reading

Auditor, City of Reading

City Council President

City Council Members in select districts

School Directors

Township Commissioners, in first-class townships

Township Supervisors, in second-class townships

Borough Council Members

Mayors in select boroughs

Municipal Auditors, except where abolished

Tax Collectors in select municipalities

The detailed list of offices up for election and sample ballots for each precinct are available at www.countyofberks.com/elections.

Election Services 32 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023

COUNTY 101: Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

County 101 is a recurring feature that takes a deeper look at one of the County of Berks’ many departments to further explain the services and programs available to residents.

Leadership:

Pam Seaman, MH/DD Administrator

Michele A. Ruano Weber, Deputy Administrator and Lydia Singley, HealthChoices Program Director

Mission Statement:

To provide quality care as well as the delivery of efficient public services and supports for individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities so that they can increase their opportunities and abilities to lead lives of dignity and independence. Acknowledging that Recovery is an ongoing process, MH/DD is committed to promoting personal growth, choice, and inclusion of consumers in their community.

What programs do you oversee?

Mental Health

• Behavioral HealthChoices, the state’s Medicaid managed care program. Our office is the primary contractor with the state for behavioral health managed care in Berks. We subcontract with a licensed Behavioral Health Managed Care Organization, Community Care Behavioral Health, who contracts with community providers for the actual services. Under this program, we support treatment needs for people dealing with mental health and substance use.

• Block Grant funded services, which cover the dollars and resources we have available to provide resources that are not considered treatment services or the cost of treatment services for those without insurance. Examples of resources include mental health services for adults and children, crisis intervention and emergency services, community residential rehabilitation program (CRR), vocational services, social rehabilitation services, supported living and assisting individuals.

continued on next page

Vision:

The Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities system will be a partnership of consumers, family members, service providers and policy makers which creates options responsive to individual needs and preferences.

In a nutshell:

The MH/DD office does not provide any direct services but oversees the system of providers and serves as the administrative arm for various funding and grants related to behavioral health, developmental disability and early intervention services. The office is responsible for the planning, programming, quality, compliance and financial oversight of the provider network.

www.countyofberks.com 33 County 101

Developmental Disabilities

• Intellectual Disability/Autism Spectrum Disorder Services: These programs are for individuals who have either an IQ of 70 or below prior to their 22nd birthday and/or are diagnosed with autism along with other functional impairments. The services are rehabilitative in nature for individuals who meet these eligibility criteria and the MH/DD Program is responsible for the identification and monitoring of each individualized service in a person’s plan. Providers are licensed, approved and contracted directly through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

• Early Intervention Services: The MH/DD office oversees early intervention services for infants and toddlers from birth to 3 years old. Children eligible for these services show a delay in one or more developmental areas, have a physical disability or have a condition which has a high probability for developmental delay. Services are delivered through a coaching model with families in their natural environment and include: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special instruction, hearing and vision services, etc. The goal of early intervention is to build skills and catch up on developmental delays.

Other

• Human Service Development Fund: MH/DD manages funds/contracts with community providers on behalf of Berks County for low-income adults with disabilities for services such as: home delivered meals, counseling, homemaker/chore, service planning, etc.

• Homeless Assistance Program: This program is managed on behalf of the county to allocate and oversee state funds targeted toward the issue of homelessness. The MH/DD Program contracts with the Berks County Homelessness Coalition to work with providers delivering such services as case management, bridge housing, emergency shelter and rental assistance.

• The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): The MH/DD office manages funding received by the county for emergency food assistance for low-income individuals by contracting with Helping Harvest for community food distribution to the target population.

• Child and Adolescent Services Program (CASSP): The CASSP Coordinator, staffed at the MH/DD Office, works with all child-serving systems to problem solve individual and service system complex needs.

Are there any services you offer that you wish more people were aware of?

Due to the wide variety of services and programs we administer, it is understandable that residents may not be aware of who to call for assistance. Our office has a contract with Service Access Management to provide information and referral support. Residents can call our office or the SAM office at 610-236-0530 and ask for intake.

We also have crisis intervention services that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Holcomb. The telephone number for that service is 610-379-2007 or 1-888-219-3910.

34 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
County 101

Are there any misunderstandings about the programs you administer that you want to address?

Many individuals do not fully understand the HealthChoices program. Individuals eligible for Medicaid have a choice of various Managed Care Organizations/Insurers for their physical health needs. However, there is only one behavioral health Managed Care Insurance Company in each county. For Berks County, that is Community Care Behavioral Health.

Many individuals also are not aware of the various levels of care and numerous providers available throughout the county. These resources can be found through CCBH’s member line at 1-800-553-7499 or on their very resourceful and userfriendly website: https://members.ccbh.com/find-provider/ provider-directory.

What community organizations or initiatives is your department involved with?

R U OK Berks – The Berks County Suicide Prevention Task Force is a group of community leaders collaborating to reduce suicide in Berks County through advocacy, education and the reduction of stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

SOS Berks – The Berks County Opioid Coalition is made up of community members and stakeholders dedicated to reducing overdose deaths in Berks County.

Anything else you want residents to understand about your department?

Our team often needs to wear different hats because each system and program has different regulations and requirements. A lot of the populations we serve also cross over between the various programs, so we need to be able to be flexible and adjust with each call to find the best services available for each individual.

www.countyofberks.com 35
CALL 610-375-4426 19 N 6th Street, Suite 300, Reading, PA 19601 BerksTasc.org DRUG & ALCOHOL EVALUATIONS FOR ADULTS AND TEENAGERS Confidential • Independent • Free (for Berks County residents with no private health insurance) ruOKberks.com

County of Berks

Check out all employment opportunities and apply online: www.countyofberks.com.

Assistant District Attorney, Berks County Services Center: Primary responsibilities include reviewing, researching, preparing and presenting cases at various criminal proceedings. Juris Doctorate Degree and Admission to the Pennsylvania Bar required.

Assistant Public Defender, Berks County Services Center: Seeking applicants to provide legal representation for indigent persons at summary, preliminary, mental health and state parole violation hearings. Juris Doctorate Degree and Admission to the Pennsylvania Bar required.

Caseworker, Children & Youth Services, Berks County Services Center: This position provides a full range of social services to families, including interviewing and casework services, in accordance with established federal and state regulations, policies and procedures. Bachelor’s degree required.

Correctional Officer, Berks County Jail System: Seeking applicants to supervise inmates in open settings, including housing units, recreation areas and work details. Duties include maintaining physical security, supervising visitors and ensuring overall daily operations run smoothly.

Custodian, Facilities, Berks County Services Center: Seeking applicants to perform repetitive manual work, requiring efficient performance of simple building cleaning and minor repairs. Work is reviewed by inspection. Employee must be thorough and dependable.

Deputy Sheriff, Berks County Services Center: Duties include enforcing court orders, serving arrest and bench warrants, transporting inmates and maintaining courtroom security. Must complete the Municipal Police Officers, State Police Officer, or Deputy Sheriff’s education and training programs.

Dietary Aide, Berks Heim: Dietary aides assist in the preparation and serving of food and in the cleaning of the Dietary area, equipment and dishware under general supervision. May include training new employees and other related work. Full-time and part-time positions available.

LPN Staff Nurse, Berks Heim: Seeking licensed practical nurses to provide quality professional nursing care to residents following established policies of the facility. Must have a current license to practice nursing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Includes sign-on bonus.

Nursing Assistant (CNA), Berks Heim: Nursing assistants provide for the physical care and psychosocial needs of the residents, including personal care, feeding, transporting and assisting with restorative nursing procedures. Must be at least 18 years of age.

Park Ranger, Berks County Parks and Recreation: Responsibilities include enforcing the park ordinance and associated regulations. Park rangers provide park visitors with information and directions, protect park resources, and are responsible for all security, ticketing and permits.

Recreation Program Assistant, Berks County Parks and Recreation: Part-time. Hours vary and may include weekends and evenings. Seeking applicants who have an appreciation of nature and outdoor recreation programs to provide program and office support for special events and programs.

RN Staff Nurse, Berks Heim: Seeking registered nurses to provide quality professional nursing care to residents following established policies of the facility. Must have a current license to practice nursing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Includes sign on bonus.

Telecommunicator, Department of Emergency Services: Telecommunicators work in 911 communications, answering emergency and non-emergency calls and dispatching first responders and other resources. The next telecommunicator class will be offered this summer. Sign-on bonus available.

Tour Guide/Collections Assistant, Berks County Parks and Recreation: Seasonal, May-Oct. Includes weekends, summer holidays and some evenings. Min. age 17. Responsibilities include leading public tours of onsite museums, providing information to park patrons and working in the visitor center.

36 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023 EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Reading Hospital

Opportunities await at Reading Hospital! We offer meaningful careers in a family-like environment. Career growth is supported by management, financially & through internal recruitment program. Now hiring: Housekeeping, Nutrition, Patient Transporters, Shuttle Bus Drivers, and Security Officers. Generous time off, benefits, educational assistance, and more. View opportunities: careers. towerhealth.org keyword: #Support.

Cornerstone Law Firm

We have a rapidly growing team that is client-focused and driven to provide top-notch legal services. If you are interested in intellectual challenges and advocating for clients, while still maintaining a good worklife balance, Cornerstone Law Firm may be the right fit for you. See our professional and support openings at CornerstoneLaw.us/jobs.

East Penn Manufacturing

We have been voted one of the best places to work in PA. Are you ready to join a family-owned enterprise committed to honoring the contributions of everyone? If so, East Penn is ready to invest in YOU! EastPennManufacturing.com.

Supportive Concepts for Families

We are a leading provider of services to individuals with Behavioral Health/ Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in Pennsylvania. Join Our Team at Supportive Concepts for Families… #CareersInCaring #MakeADifference #FindYourPurpose

The Children’s Home of Reading

The Children’s Home of Reading is a multi-faceted youth and family social service nonprofit offering specialized residential, educational, and community-based programs to help both at-risk children and their families. Visit BuildingKidsLives.org to find out how you can become part of our team.

Gage Personnel

Whether you’re searching for parttime, flexible work, or your next fulltime career, Gage has the connections you need for administrative, accounting, professional, manufacturing, warehouse, skilled trades, management, and more. Visit jobs.gagepersonnel. com to find current openings, apply online or seek employees.

Brentwood Industries

Our culture is built on a can-do, entrepreneurial spirit, sustained over time by our diversity of people and ideas. We’ve created an atmosphere that rewards bright, ambitious, and creative people. Learn more about Brentwood careers at BrentwoodIndustries.com.

Treatment Access and Service Center of Berks County (TASC)

PT Warm Hand Off Program: Are you “In Recovery” from a substance use disorder? Want to give back and help others? Good pay for rewarding work. Contact dmilloy@berkstasc.org.

BILINGUAL Drug & Alcohol

Recovery Specialist: Are you a person in “long-term recovery” from a Substance Use Disorder? Have you been completely “clean and sober” for the past 2 years? Are you looking to “give back” and help others? TASC has a full-time case management position in our Recovery Support Services (RSS) program. Share your experience, strength, and hope in helping others suffering from addictive disease. MUST BE FLUENT IN THE SPANISH LANGUAGE. Contact dmilloy@berkstasc.org.

www.countyofberks.com 37 WE’RE HIRING 8500 Allentown Pike, Blandon, PA 19510 • 610.926.7875 Receptionists, Paralegals, & Attorneys Come join our rapidly growing team! Apply online at: CornerstoneLaw.us/jobs
Grow Your Business in Berks! Reach 75% of All Berks County Adults… Advertise in Berks 1st Magazine Contact Berks1st@hoffpubs.com
38 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023 Teachers Food Service Youth Care Workers Clinicians Great Benefits & Pay! All Shifts - PT & FT DailyPay - Get paid before payday! BeAHero! JoinOur Team #purpose #careersincaring #makeadi erence Learn More at: www.buildingkidslives.org Sign-on bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on position! • RN Staff : Starting at $36.39/hr • LPN Staff Nurse: Starting at $27.16/hr • CNA: Starting at $18.59/hr • Activity Therapist, Dietary Aide, and more Now Hiring For: Berks Heim offers a wide variety of positions and the County of Berks’ extensive benefit package. Learn more and apply online: www.countyofberks.com $15 - $19 Starting Salary Great Benefits Paid Training All Shifts PT & FT Positions Berks County & Beyond S FI C UPP RTIVE ONCEPTS FOR AMILIES, NC. Start $15-$19 hr. #CareersInCaring #MakeADifference #FindYourPurpose DailyPay - Get paid before payday! NOW HIRING

OUR PASSION IS TO EMPOWER

As a family-owned company, our mission is to help make lives better, one battery at a time…

In 1946, we started out as a family-owned company and that hasn’t changed. As a family of employees, we’re making the products that are helping to empower people’s lives. Come join our team of employees that are at the heart of what makes this company special.

www.countyofberks.com 39 EXPLORE NEW CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
WITH US
EPM_Berks1Ad_2023spring3.indd 1 2/27/23 12:46 PM
40 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023 It is the policy of the County of Berks to provide employment, training, compensation, promotion and other conditions of employment without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or disability. JOIN OUR
Check out all employment opportunities and apply online: www.countyofberks.com When you join the County of Berks, you become part of a community committed to doing the very best for the residents we serve. We offer a wide variety of careers, from public safety and human services to medical, clerical, and more, with excellent benefits: • Health, Vision & Dental • Paid Holidays and Vacation • Employee Wellness Programs • Pension • Loan Forgiveness Program • Tuition Reimbursment SCORE is currently looking for qualified volunteers to mentor people going into business or currently in business. We have a need for accounting, legal, computer skills, general operation expert. If you have extra time and would like to help us with our request, you can go to our website or call 610-376-3497 or 484-577-9791. Thank you, Co Chairs, Dave Verrill and Pete Kostick Berks Schuylkill Chapter of SCORE | www.berksschuylkill.score.org | 401 Penn Street Reading PA c/o Alvernia University
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Preparación para la Primaria

Las Primarias Municipales se llevarán a cabo el martes, 16 de mayo. Durante una elección primaria, los votantes deciden qué candidatos representarán a sus partidos respectivos en la papeleta electoral para las Elecciones Generales en noviembre.

En Pensilvania, las Elecciones Primarias son cerradas, esto significa que solo las personas registradas como miembros de un partido político pueden participar en la votación de los candidatos de su partido. Este año los partidos Demócrata y Republicano celebrarán primarias en el Condado de Berks. Cualquier votante perteneciendo a un tercer partido o un partido independiente solo podrá votar si preguntas sobre la papeleta electoral o enmiendas constitucionales aparecen en la papeleta de su precinto.

En la Papeleta Electoral

Los siguientes puestos están disponibles para la elección este año:

Magistrado de la Corte Suprema

Magistrado del Tribunal Superior

Magistrado del Tribunal de la Mancomunidad

Juez del Tribunal de Causas Comunes

Comisionados del Condado

Contralor del Condado

Registrador de Escrituras

Registro de Testamentos

Alguacil

Secretario de Tribunales

Fiscal de Distrito

Tesorero del Condado

Jueces de Distrito Magisterial en distritos selectos

Alcalde, Ciudad de Reading

Auditor, Ciudad de Reading

Presidente del Concejo Municipal

Miembros del Concejo Municipal en distritos selectos

Directores de Escuela

Comisionados Municipales, en municipios de primera clase Supervisores Municipales, en municipios de segunda clase Miembros del Concejo Municipal

Alcalde en distritos selectos

Auditores Municipales, excepto donde se supriman Recaudadores de Impuestos en municipios selectos

La lista detallada de las oficinas para la elección y las papeletas de muestra para cada precinto están disponibles en www.countyofberks.com/elections.

Fechas Importantes para las Primarias Municipales de 2023

Último día para registrarse para votar: 1 de mayo Regístrese para votar en www.vote.pa.gov/register

Último día para solicitar una papeleta por correo o un voto en ausencia: 9 de mayo Solicite una papeleta por correo o un voto en ausencia en www.vote.pa.gov/apply-mail-in. Todas las papeletas por correo y votos en ausencia deben ser recibidas por la Oficina de Servicios Electorales del Condado de Berks antes de las 8 p.m. el Día de las Elecciones, el 16 de mayo, para ser contadas.

Día de las elecciones: 16 de mayo

Las urnas abren de 7 a.m. a 8 p.m.

Encuentre su lugar de votación en www.vote.pa.gov/polls

42 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
Todos los votantes registrados pueden votar en las Elecciones Generales el 7 de noviembre de 2023.
Rincón en Español

Desfile del Día de las Fuerzas Armadas para Celebrar su 75 Aniversario

El Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos del Condado de Berks se enorgullece de ser uno de los principales patrocinadores del próximo Desfile del Día de las Fuerzas Armadas del Condado de Berks el 20 de mayo.

Como el desfile más antiguo del Día de las Fuerzas Armadas en los Estados Unidos, el evento del Condado de Berks celebrará su 75 aniversario este año. Diane Price, presidenta del Comité Asesor de las Fuerzas Armadas de los últimos 19 años, dijo que el desfile tiene sus raíces en la celebración del 200 aniversario de la Ciudad de Reading en 1948. Al año siguiente, el Día de las Fuerzas Armadas se estableció en todo el país como una forma de reconocer a todas las ramas de las fuerzas armadas en una celebración unificada.

El desfile del Condado de Berks sirve como una presentación anual de apoyo, reconocimiento y honor para los militares de hoy y los veteranos de la comunidad. Unidades militares, bandas, porta banderas, grupos de veteranos, equipos de entrenamiento, carrozas y organizaciones comunitarias patrióticas participarán en la procesión por las calles de West Reading.

Ken Lebron, Director del Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos del Condado de Berks, es parte del comité con su Director Adjunto George Bolton. Lebron dijo que el desfile es una forma importante para que la comunidad de Berks exprese gratitud a aquellos que sirven en el ejército y al mismo tiempo inspira a la próxima generación. Muchos de los participantes del desfile son estudiantes de secundaria que participan en programas juveniles del ROTC.

“Este desfile rinde homenaje al pasado, presente y futuro”, dijo Lebron. “Une a la comunidad y lleva tiempo reconocer el servicio y el sacrificio de nuestros miembros del servicio militar, nuestros veteranos y sus familias”.

Desfile del Día de las Fuerzas

Armadas del Condado de Berks

20 de mayo de 2023

10 a.m.

Llueva o sol

Ruta: Comienza en avenidas 8 y Penn, a la derecha en 3ra avenida, a la derecha en calle Spruce y luego termina en 7ma avenida.

Para obtener más información o para participar, envíe un correo electrónico a berksarmedforcesday@yahoo.com.

www.countyofberks.com 43
Por Stephanie Weaver, Fotos proporcionadas por Diane Price

Rincón en Español Servicio de Autobús de Amtrak

Los residentes de Berks ansiosos por una forma segura, cómoda y económica de viajar de Reading a Filadelfia pueden aprender el nuevo servicio de autobús Amtrak Thruway Connection.

El servicio, que se lanzó el verano pasado, consiste de dos viajes diarios en cada dirección, con un paro intermedio en Pottstown. Los autobuses que salen de Reading salen diariamente a las 7 a.m. y a las 2 p.m., mientras que los de Filadelfia salen a las 11: 35 a.m. y a las 5:55 p.m.

El servicio de autobuses se lanzó como un precursor de la restauración del servicio ferroviario de pasajeros del corredor del Río Schuylkill. La ruta también está integrada directamente en el Corredor Noreste y la Red Nacional de Amtrak que incluye servicios a Pittsburgh, Nueva York, Boston, Washington, Florida y más.

Los boletos se pueden comprar en www.amtrak.com, a través de la aplicación Amtrak o llamando al 800-USA-RAIL.

Parada de Reading: BARTA Transportation Center, 701 Franklin St., Reading

Parada de Pottstown: Hanover Street, cerca del Centro de Transporte Charles W. Dickinson

Parada Filadelfia: William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, Philadelphia

44 Berks1st - Keeping You Connected Spring 2023
COUNTY
INDEX CareerLink Aging Court System Land Record Search Agriculture Data Hub Parks and Recreation Assessment and Parcel Search Economic Development Pay Court Fines Berks County Jail System Election Services Planning Berks Heim Nursing Home Emergency Services Public Meetings Bid Notices/ Purchasing Library System Solid Waste Authority Children and Youth Veterans Affairs Employment Opportunities Gun Permits Jury Duty Licenses (Bingo, Dog, Fishing, Hunting) Marriage Licenses Sheriff’s Sales Tax Sales
Links
and Services Mental Health Services See our new CountyOfBerks.com website!
SERVICES
Popular
Departments

Articles inside

Berks 1st Spring 2023 Publication Statement

1min
pages 4-5

Great Berks County Staycation Ideas from Reading & Berks County Pennsylvania's Americana Region

1min
page 48

Servicio de Autobús de Amtrak

1min
page 46

Desfile del Día de las Fuerzas Armadas para Celebrar su 75 Aniversario

2min
page 45

Preparación para la Primaria 2023

2min
page 44

Employment Opportunities in Berks County

5min
pages 38-42

Berks County Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

6min
pages 35-37

Berks County Primary Elections 2023 Preparations Underway

2min
page 34

Berks County Economic Development Action Plan 2023

4min
pages 32-33

Berks County, PA, Armed Forces Day Parade - May 20, 2023

2min
pages 30-31

Berks County Parks & Recreation Spring 2023 Events

10min
pages 26-29

Berks County Libraries

5min
pages 24-25

Berks County's First Female President Judge

3min
pages 22-23

Berks County Children and Youth Services

2min
page 20

Berks County Broadband Initiative

6min
pages 18-19

Berks County Passenger Rail Service Update Spring 2023

10min
pages 14-17

Long-time Berks County Administrator Retires

4min
page 12

Berks County Administrative Team Transitions in 2023

7min
pages 8-11

Berks County's Newest County Commissioner

3min
pages 6-7

Berks County Commissioner's Message

2min
page 3

OUR PASSION IS TO EMPOWER

1min
pages 41-43

COUNTY 101: Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities

8min
pages 35-40

Preparing for the Primary

1min
page 34

Planning for the Future: The IMAGINE Berks Strategic Economic Development Action Plan

2min
pages 32-33

Parade to celebrate 75th anniversary

1min
pages 30-31

INTO OUTDOOR FUN with Berks County Parks

7min
pages 26-29

Longwood Gardens Community Read

1min
page 25

Your Library Fine-Free IS NOW !

1min
pages 24-25

A first for Berks: Johnson elected as first female President Judge

2min
pages 22-23

A Kaleidoscope of Safety

1min
pages 20-21

Connecting Berks to Broadband

4min
pages 18-19

Rail Revival

7min
pages 14-17

A Lifetime of Service

3min
pages 12-13

The Reins Taking Over

5min
pages 8-11

Sihelnik Hoping To LEAD BY EXAMPLE

2min
pages 6-7

COMMISSIONERS’ MESSAGE

2min
pages 3-6
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