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    • 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.  

    • Guardian

      Amazon Sidewalk is Here

      By Guardian, in Home,

      Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be enabling their “Sidewalk” feature on multiple devices and you should at least know what that means.  The company sent out emails to owners of the devices, but many people report them being filtered spam or simply ignored and Sidewalk has some concerns given Amazon’s security concerns in some devices in the recent past.
      Sidewalk is a new feature that allows Amazon devices to send a small amount of data from their home Wi-Fi to other nearby Amazon devices in the event the internet was to fail at that residence.  The data used is quite small and will likely never affect data caps on cable internet plans, but the main concern is security.  One of the worst network security concepts a person can make is allowing unknown devices on their internal network and this feature allows Amazon to do just that.  On top of that, Amazon has not released any details about the firewalls or security protocols this new feature will be using to protect the end users.  Our faith in Amazon to appropriately handle security is small due to how poorly they handled recent open access to their Ring Doorbells, and yes, those same Ring Doorbells are now sharing your Wi-Fi.
      There are perks to this feature however, Ring devices are security devices that require internet to function.  This means that the loss of internet or power will likely render those devices ineffective and crime does not stop when the lights go out.  Sidewalk would allow Ring devices to pull the required data off a nearby user to keep itself recording video and the battery would keep the device running for at least some time.  This approach will likely prevent or catch a crime in action when it would have been otherwise missed.  Even the best home networks still have outages and keeping the security running may be worth it to may people.  Echo devices on the other hand, are also included in this feature, but are likely not a critical safety feature in a home.
      The feature can be turned off in the app for the device, but it will be set to “on” after the update.  Overall, the core concept of this feature is good, but the way Amazon is handling it and the lack of security information makes me suggest turning it off for now.  Once the company has released more information, we may even recommend this feature to help your neighbors who are also using these devices.

    • Guardian
      Comcast has announced that over a dozen states in the northeastern part of the country will be added to the 1.2 TB a month data cap in Comcast's new plan.  Comcast's Xfinity plans currently offer unlimited data with bandwidth speed restrictions, but their lower tier plans will now also include the 1.2TB monthly data limit along with the speed limits. Starting in March, customers who exceed 1.2TB in a month will be charged $10 per 50GB of data, for a maximum of $100.
      Comcast has added extensions to their data caps in other states with the COVID-19 work for home push, but this gesture still small when looking at all the other cable companies simply offering unlimited data. Comcast does offer higher tier plans with unlimited data and faster speeds, but appear to be all over $100 a month.

    • rdhdemt
      With the recent COVID-19 pandemic ruling our lives recently, Berwick Historical Society has been hard at work behind the scenes, getting ready for a new exhibit. Just in time for the passing Halloween season, the Berwick Historical Society has just restored and opened an exhibit of the Old Berwick Jailhouse. The Old Carriage House, located at the Jackson Mansion is the site of the new exhibit. Jackson Mansion was built in the 1800’s, and served as a mansion, Town Hall, Berwick Police Department, and yes, our very own Jailhouse.
      In 1950, the Berwick Police Department took over the Carriage House and converted it into the Berwick Police Department. The police department served the members of the town of Berwick until 2009. As quoted by executive director of the Jackson Mansion, Jim Stout.
      In 2009 The Berwick Historical Society took possession of the Jackson Mansion and Carriage House. This is when restorations of the property began. The result, is as you see when you take the tours throughout the mansion to this current day. Obviously the “Jail cell” remained in tact, but wasn’t open to the public until now.
      So, with everyone concentrating on the pandemic, Berwick Historical society, restored the old Carriage House, and with brushes and tools in hand, restored the Jailhouse, to its former glory!
      The exhibit displays pictures of the police departments history over the last century. Photographs of the Berwick Police Department can be traced back to the turn of the century. Other memorabilia are displayed, as a proud display of Berwick history. Artifacts from the original Carriage House are also on display.
      So, if your looking to find something to do during the “pandemic”, take a short walk over to the Berwick Historical Society and Carriage House and see the history surrounding the town of Berwick!

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