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    • Columbia Bot
      Memorial Day is an American holiday honoring the men and women who lost their lives serving the United States military. It is observed on the last Monday of May and originated in the years following the US Civil War, before becoming an official federal holiday in 1971. Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting memorials and cemeteries of those who lost their lives in military service along with holding family gatherings and festivals that are often based around parades.
      Memorial Day got its beginning after the Civil War ended in 1865 and had claimed so many lives, more live than any conflict in U.S. history, that it required the establishment of the nation's first national cemeteries.  The Civil War ended in the spring which began a tradition in many American towns and cities where people would hold tributes at the cemeteries for the countless soldiers that lost their life in the line of duty. These tributes were performed by decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers to honor the graves of those who had fallen.
      There is no record of the true origin of these tributes, and many agree that they were independently created by local communities.  The earliest account of a Memorial Day style commemoration to the fallen soldiers of the war is a group of freed slaves in Charleston, SC less than a month after the war ended. However, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, NY as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
      The Waterloo celebration was first held on May 5th, 1966 and was chosen as the birthplace as it hosted an annual, community-wide event, that was also recognized by the closing of all local businesses during the celebration. In 1968, General John A. Logan was the leader of an organization that aided northern civil war veterans and called for the creation of a national holiday to remember the fallen. Decoration Day was the original name chosen for the holiday to be celebrated for the first time on the 30th of May in 1968.
      On the first Decoration Day, future president General James Garfield made a speech at the Arlington National Cemetery and approximately 5000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 civil war soldiers buried there. Many northern states held similar commemorative events and by 1890 every northern state had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states would also adopt commemorative holidays for the fallen veterans of the civil war but would celebrate on different days than the north.
      Confederate Memorial Day was the holiday created in the South, and is still celebrated in several states today, also commemorating the fallen veterans of the civil war but with a heavy focus on the confederacy. Today this holiday has become highly controversial, and it is only celebrated in a select few states.
      During World War 1, the United States found itself in a new war that resulted in a heavy casualty toll on the men and women serving the U.S. military. This war was the beginning of a trend to change Decoration Day into a holiday that commemorates all American military personnel who died in all wars. The holiday slowly became known as Memorial Day and continued to be observed on May 30th with even the southern states now adopting the holiday.
      In 1968 the U.S. government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, as an attempt to standardized Holidays and create a three-day weekend for federal employees to celebrate those events. In this act, Memorial Day was officially recognized as a national holiday and began being celebrated on the last Monday of May. This change went into effect in 1971 and created the Memorial Day holiday that we know of today.

    • Columbia Bot
      Mother's Day is a holiday that honors motherhood and is celebrated in numerous different formats and on different days around the world. In the United States, Mother's Day is a single day event where children will often present their mother with flowers and other gifts of appreciation. The holiday has also been known to be associated with numerous women's rights activist movement in recent history.
      The earliest accounts of a holiday or celebration of motherhood can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Romans who often held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Cybele and Rhea. However, when it comes to the actual traditions of modern-day Mother's Day, it is often associated with the early Christian festival known as Mothering Sunday. Mothering Sunday was once a major tradition in Europe, primarily the United Kingdom, and fell on the 4th Sunday during Lent.
      The tradition was based around faithful Christians returning to their “mother church” (the main church around their home) for a special service provided at the church. This tradition slowly transitioned into a holiday where children would present their actual mothers with flowers and other gifts. Mothering Sunday slowly fell out of popularity and eventually merged with the American Mother's Day in the 1930s.
      In the United states Mother's Day got its start from clubs called Mother's Day Work Clubs that taught local women childcare and other motherly skills. These clubs became a unifying force during the civil war and in 1868 Ann Reeves Jarvis organized Mother’s Friendship Day which mothers of both union and Confederate soldiers gathered to promote reconciliation. In the late 1800s numerous movements and celebrations began appearing to celebrate motherhood and even world peace, like Mother's Peace Day.
      In the early 1990s Anna Jarvis, the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, conceived Mother’s Day after the death of her mother as a way for children to honor the sacrifices their mothers make. The first Mother's Day celebration was in May of 1908 funded by a Philadelphia department store owner John Wanamaker and took place as a celebration at the Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.  During that day thousands of people also attended a special Mother's Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.
      Following the success of the first Mother's Day celebration Jarvis committed her life to getting the holiday added to the national calendar. Her argument was that American holidays were biased towards male achievements and as early as 1912 many states and local areas had adapted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday. In 1914 president Woodrow Wilson officially signed Mother's Day as a national holiday on the 2nd Sunday in May.
      After it became a national holiday, Jarvis began to protest the commercialization of the holiday in the 1920s when commercialization of flowers and other gifts seemed to outweigh the original celebration of motherhood. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether after years of actively lobbying the government to remove it from the national calendar.

    • Columbia Bot
      Cinco de Mayo, or translated as the Fifth of May, is the Mexican holiday that celebrates the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla during Franco-Mexican war.  The day is sometimes referred to as Battle of Puebla Day and always falls on the 5th day of May.  Cinco de Mayo is often referred to in the United States as Mexican Independence Day, but this is an incorrect reference as it is a minor holiday in Mexico and is the celebration of a single battle. Mexican Independence Day, or Día de la Independencia, is celebrated on September 16th as the commemoration of Mexico’s declaration of war against the Spanish government in 1810.
      The Franco-Mexican war was a joint military response by France, Britain, and Spain who sent military forces to Veracruz, Mexico demanding repayment of loans and other finances due to Mexico’s ongoing financial troubles and defaulting on recent payments. Britain and Spain never engaged in military combat due to negotiations with the Mexican government, however, France decided to use the opportunity to expand their empire into the Mexican owned territory. The Battle of Puebla was a final stand made by a ragtag Mexican military force that was vastly outnumbered and underequipped to face the French army but managed to hold the line against the French invasion. After this battle The United States, who was finally recovering from the Civil War, began to apply political pressure to the French and support for the Mexican military causing the French forces to withdraw.
      While in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where the victory had occurred, the United States began celebrating the holiday around the 1960s as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage within the United States. Since the 1960s Cinco de Mayo has rapidly grown in popularity within the United States with numerous festivals and events celebrating Mexican traditions and culture within the nation. While the holiday is still officially the commemoration of a victory in a military battle, it is widely regarded has a cultural celebration in modern times here in the United States. Many people connect this holiday with the association of Mexican traditions due to the high number of indigenous Mexicans that fought in the Battle of Puebla.

    • Columbia Bot
      Easter, the Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is one of the oldest Christian holidays and is often considered a convergence of Christian, Hebrew, and Pagan cultures. The New Testament of the Bible states that Jesus was crucified by the Romans in roughly 30 A.D. and was resurrected on a Sunday that has become Easter Sunday. Easter day is also the conclusion of a series of events called the “Passion of the Christ”, that is a 40-day long period of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice that begins with Lent.
      Officially Easter is one of the most religious and celebrated holidays within the Christian culture however it is also mixed with many traditions that pre-date Christian beliefs from earlier Pagan times and the Jewish holiday of Passover. The origin of the word Easter is still a debated topic and was not the original name for the holiday. The most widely accepted origin of Easter was from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eastre (or Eeostre). However, one of easter's earlier names was “hebdomada alba” which meant “white week” and it is believed that due to translation issues particularly with people speaking Old High German mistakenly translated the word as “Osteun” (which is a plural for the word “dawn”) which became Easter in English.
      For those curious, the reasoning Easter is centered around a bunny, or hare, is due to the holiday's heavy Pagan based history. When Easter was first celebrated by Christians its celebrations were based off Pagan festivals and Easter was a festival within itself. In Pagan tradition bunnies are a symbol of many beliefs, but most prominently fertility, and it is logical to utilize them as a symbol for celebrating new life. Bunnies are also an ancient symbol of the moon and the date of Easter is based around the moon. This association with the moon and an association with the bunny’s burrow being connected as a symbol of Jesus emerging from his tomb has kept the bunny well within Easter's traditions.
      Easter eggs on the other hand have a less solid of a connection to Easter, although there are many associations to the eggs that could connect them to the ancient holiday. Many ancient cultures believed the world began as an enormous egg, and with many of these cultures having contact with early Christians it is highly plausible the eggs became a symbol of new life just like the bunny. There are also sources that state many ancient cultures, again many that were directly associated with ancient Christians, utilized eggs as gifts during festival's along with some sources stating eating dyed eggs was a common practice during spring festivals and likely just transitioned into an Easter tradition.
      While bunnies and eggs are possibly the most common association with Easter, the most Christian association with Easter would be the Easter lamb. The lamb is connected to the Jewish holiday of Passover where families killed a lamb as a sacrifice. According to beliefs, when Jesus Christ became the “Passover Lamb” for everybody the lamb itself became a symbol of his sacrifice.

    • Guardian
      Toro, a popular snow blower manufacturer sold at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, and other major dealers, is recalling around 6,700 snow blowers that are failing to disengage the auger when the leaver is released.  The snow blower affected is the 2021 Toro Power Max 826 OHAE with the model number of 37802.
      For those that do not know, the auger is the corkscrew looking device that spins to scoop up the snow in the front of the snow blower.  These are prone to getting jammed and requiring the user to dislodge rocks, ice, etc. to free the blades to continue spinning and do not offer much protection to bystanders and users walking around the machine thinking the auger is stopped.  Shutting the snow blower engine off when walking around the machine or freeing a jam is always the safest practice for any snow blower user.
      Toro is currently advising all users of this model to stop using the machine and to check their website to see if their serial number is included in the recall.  If it is listed, then Toro says you should contact an authorized dealer for a free repair before using the device again.  No injures have been reported from this issue as of today.
      Find your local Toro dealer here: http://www.toro.com/locator

    • rdhdemt
      As of today, officials are planning to make the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds the centralized location for the COVID-19 Vaccinations when they become available to the public. 
      The Bloomsburg Fairgrounds has been utilized recently for mass testing for COVID-19 testing. EMA Officials, and Columbia County Commissioners are making plans to also utilize the fairgrounds for a centralized location for vaccination distribution.  Officials stated that the mass testing went on without complications and they are attempting to achieve the same results when COVID-19 vaccinations become available to the general public.  Due to space, familiarity of the location and centralized location, the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds is the best option to handle the massive numbers expected to be in line for the COVID-19 vaccination. 
      There will be some differences in traffic patterns, to compensate for the increased flow of traffic, and the Pa Dept of Health will expect persons receiving the vaccination to wait 15 min after vaccination to monitor for side effects and adverse reactions.
      There is no word yet on a date when the vaccination will be made available to the public. As of right now the vaccination is being prioritized by the Department of Health for healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and immuno-compromised persons. Officials of Columbia County states they will keep the general public informed on updates regarding release of the vaccination and procedures to ensure everyone can get the vaccination without complications.
      Columbia County online will keep you updated as needed on developments. 

    • Guardian

      Happy New Year!

      By Guardian, in Home,

      2021 is finally upon us and we certainly hope it is a better year than 2020!  However, you might as well make a New Years Resolution that you can keep, like signing up for our community for free!

    • Guardian
      Hampton Bay Mara indoor and outdoor ceiling fans were sold this year between April and October at Home Depot stores and its website and are now being recalled due to their blades flying off while in use.  It has been reported that The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has received nearly 50 complaints of the blades flying off with some impacting people and damaging property (it does not sound like any major injuries were reported). 
      The fans were sold at Home Depot from April of 2020 to October of 2020 and the owner of Hampton Bay Mara, King of Fans, has issued a report and video on their website on how to return the product.  Their website also has guides to find out if your fan was included and how to inspect the blades.  You can find the direct link HERE as we do not want to share any outdated safety information.

    • Guardian
      As COVID-19 cases continue to raise in Pennsylvania at an alarming rate, Governor Wolf has announced a restrictions on the state's residences, businesses, and commuters in an attempt to slow the spread and help health care keep up with the virus.  
      “Today I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” stated Gov. Wolf. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals: First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible. This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania.”
      These mitigation orders come after PA has passed 10,000 new cases a day and also over 1,000 deaths a week from the virus.  Pennsylvania is also well above the average positive test percentage with a rate of around 15% returning positive and that number is much higher then what the CDC considers "out of control community spread".  The new orders took effect Dec 12th and will last until 8am on Jan 4th.
      Below are the new orders as per the state website: https://www.media.pa.gov/pages/Education-details.aspx?newsid=1005
      In-Person Dining and Alcohol Sales
      All in-person indoor dining at businesses in the retail food services industry, including, but not limited to, bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, distilleries, social clubs, and private catered events is prohibited. Outdoor dining, take-out food service, and take-out alcohol sales are permitted and may continue, subject to any limitations or restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, or this or any other Order issued by the Sec. of Health or by the governor. Indoor Gatherings and Events
      Indoor gatherings and events of more than 10 persons are prohibited. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other places of congregate worship are specifically excluded from the limitations set forth above during religious services, these institutions are strongly encouraged to find alternative methods for worship, as in person gatherings pose a significant risk to participants at this time. While this an incredibly difficult recommendation to make, particularly at this time of year, faith leaders must carefully weigh the health risks to their congregants given the immense amount of community spread of COVID-19. Outdoor Gatherings and Events
      Outdoor gatherings and events of more than 50 persons are prohibited. Capacity Limits for Businesses
      All in-person businesses serving the public may only operate at up to 50% of the maximum capacity stated on the applicable certificate of occupancy, except as limited by existing orders to a smaller capacity limit. Gyms and Fitness Facilities
      Indoor operations at gyms and fitness facilities are prohibited. Outdoor facilities and outdoor classes can continue, but all participants must wear face coverings in accordance with the Sec. of Health’s Updated Order Requiring Universal Face CoveringsOpens In A New Window, including any subsequent amendments, and practice physical distancing requirements. Entertainment Industry
      All in-person businesses in the entertainment industry serving the public within a building or indoor defined area, including, but not limited to, theaters, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, private clubs, and all other similar entertainment, recreational or social facilities, are prohibited from operation. In-Person Extracurricular School Activities
      Voluntary activities sponsored or approved by a school entity's governing body or administration are suspended, but these extracurricular activities may be held virtually. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at or participation in activities such musical ensembles, school plays, student council, clubs, and school dances. K-12 School Sports and Youth Sports
      All sports at K-12 public schools, nonpublic schools, private schools and club, travel, recreational, intermural, and intramural sports are paused. Professional and Collegiate Sports
      Professional or collegiate sports activities may continue in accordance with guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health. Spectators may not attend such sports activities in person.  

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