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Issue Home January 17, 2006 Site Home

Blue Ridge Senior Center Update
Leadership 2020 Year V Starting
Local MD Paul Kerr Holds Book Signing
Preserving A Family Legacy

Blue Ridge Senior Center Update

The month of December saw our rooms beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Of course there was a tree, garlands, wreaths and lovely centerpieces on the tables. December also was cold with some flurries, and snow showers, so the ground was white at Christmas time.

We had a rather busy month at the center. Starting off on the 3rd with our Christmas party/dinner, held at the VFW in Great Bend. It is Betty K's Christmas present/treat for all her volunteers. There were about fifty (50) out. It really was a fabulous night. The wonderful roast pork dinner prepared and served by the Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW, the food was tasty, hot and plentiful. The ladies always do a great job, many thanks to them all. There were door prizes awarded after the dinner, then the entertainment provided by "Sarah" - who played the keyboard. The music was enjoyed by all and there was some dancers really kicking their heels up, even some square dancing. A great big THANK YOU to Betty K. for this special evening.

A few days later Sue Seamans from Susquehanna Master Gardner's program came and all had the opportunity to make a container garden. All the makings were provided and each could take three (3) plants of their choice and arrange them in a basket container. These were taken home, so we made ourselves a Christmas present. This program was sponsored by the Area on Aging. It was lots of fun and everyone enjoyed the afternoon.

On our Brown Bag day, eighteen (18) went to Maloney’s for lunch. We always like going out to eat and we feel so welcome at Maloney’s.

There were about 30 out for the Christmas dinner here at the center. The KIDZ Choir from the United Methodist Community Church here in Great Bend entertained us on the 29th of the month. After lunch we so enjoyed the Christmas music and the youngsters . Punch and cookies were served to the singers as well as some guests who also came to enjoy the musical treat.

I know we are a week or so into the new year – but it’s never too late to send wishes for all to have a happy, safe and healthy 2006.

See you at the center.

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Leadership 2020 Year V Starting

Area Economic & Community Development Agent

The Steering Committee is accepting applications for the upcoming Leadership 2020 class. This will be the fifth leadership development program for Susquehanna County since its inception in Fall, 2000. The special emphasis this year will be on leadership as it pertains to working with youth. The primary target for participants will be staff, board members and volunteers of youth-serving organizations. The series will not only include knowledge and skill development for perspective leaders but also specific information pertaining to youth such as motivation, education, accessing resources and child welfare.

Currently the numbers who have graduated from Leadership 2020 totals nearly 50, and many of our referrals come from the graduates. We are looking for interested individuals for the March 3, 2006 kick-off. The series continues every Tuesday evening thereafter, starting on March 14 until graduation on May 16.

Leadership 2020 participants take part in a team building exercise.

Leadership 2020 is a comprehensive leadership development program open to anyone living and/or working in Susquehanna County. Public officials, business people, staff, volunteers and board members of non-profit agencies and service clubs, and anyone working with youth who want to make a difference in their community or develop their personal leadership potential is encouraged to apply.

Leadership 2020 requires a significant commitment of time and travel within the county and will require homework and other out-of-class preparation. This is the second year we are utilizing a newly-developed statewide Penn State Extension leadership curriculum which consists of 36 hours of instruction. Tuition for the program is $200.00. Financial arrangements can be made if necessary. Accommodations will be made for those with disabilities.

For an application, or if you have questions on any aspect of the program, please contact Joann Kowalski at 278-1158. Applications are due by February 3, 2006.


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Local MD Paul Kerr Holds Book Signing

Dr. Paul Kerr, a recently retired physician and resident of Montrose was on hand at several county locations early this month to sign copies of his new book, Civil War Surgeon – Biography of James Langstaff Dunn, MD. Also present to show support for the author at his first signing were Fred Baker II, whose poetry was recently highlighted in the Veterans’ Day issue of Distant Echoes, and Patrick J. Burke, a well known lecturer in New York and Pennsylvania on the living history of the Civil War. Dr. Kerr is presently planning another book signing, in Susquehanna on February 4. Pictured above (l-r) are: Fred B. Baker II, Dr. Paul B. Kerr and Patrick J. Burke.

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Preserving A Family Legacy

In 2001, Hope Dennis, owner of the Dennis Farm in Brooklyn Township and her niece, Denise Dennis, established the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust for the historical preservation of the farmhouse and cemetery, and the environmental preservation of approximately 150 acres of farmland.

Denise Dennis serves as president of the Trust and met with a few neighbors and other Brooklyn residents during the fall and early winter months of 2005, to explain the goals of the Trust and its relationship to Brooklyn Township. She explained that she has been working with a team of nationally renowned preservationists in partnership with Preservation Pennsylvania, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, and the Susquehanna County Historical Society to ensure that the rare and unique history of several generations of this African-American family will not be lost.

Pictured (l-r) is a study group at Richard Zick’s home: Dick Arnone, Curtis Stone, Denise Dennis, Darryl Gore, Richard Zick, Richard Clark.

Members of the Dennis family are direct descendants of Prince Perkins and his wife, Judith, who came to Brooklyn Township from Connecticut in 1793. Their granddaughter, Angeline, married Henry Dennis who was born in Vermont and whose family came to the area in the early 19th century. The Perkins-Dennis cemetery is located on the property and contains the remains of about 40-50 members of the family, including a Revolutionary War soldier, Bristol Budd Sampson, who was married to Prince Perkins’s daughter, Phebe. A government marker, indicating the grave of a Civil War veteran, is also located in the cemetery.

Henry and Angeline Dennis’ youngest son, Sumner Dennis (1866-1950), was named for Charles Sumner, the Senator from Massachusetts who led passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1866. Sumner moved to Wilkes-Barre in 1886, married Mary Kinslow, and they had five children: Norman, Edith, Marion, Carl and Hope Dennis.

Edith Dennis, who was born in 1899, kept watch over the Dennis Farm until her death in 1980. Edith, Marion and Hope Dennis graduated from Bloomsburg, which was then a Normal School. Edith graduated, also, from the University of Pennsylvania. Hope Dennis is an alumna of both Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, and worked as an educator and guidance counselor. Denise Dennis is an alumna of Swarthmore College, which will be involved with research pertaining to the Dennis Farm.

Education has always been a priority in the family, and one of the functions of the Trust is to serve an educational purpose. The Dennis farmhouse, the beautifully crafted stone walls and the foundations of an earlier home, the barns, silos, well, and spring house show the classic layout of early farmsteads, and are as significant in their way as the uniqueness of a free black family playing a part in the settling of the nation. The farm was also on the route of the Underground Railroad.

Denise Dennis stated, “The Dennis Farm represents a little known chapter in American history. Thanks to the local historical societies, our family’s history as African Americans who were free – and landowners in Pennsylvania – long before the Civil War is fully documented. This documentation supports our own records and is a significant part of the preservation effort. Today, Prince and Judith Perkins’ descendants also include Margaret Crumley, Edith Moore Stephens, and the Darryl Gore family in Philadelphia, and the Lonnie Moore III family in New Jersey. ”

During the fall of 2005, Denise Dennis worked with Brooklyn landowners whose lands border the Dennis Farm to develop a plan for controlling access to the cemetery and grounds. She appointed neighbors on the south and north sides (Richard Clark and John Arnone) as caretakers, appointed a general contractor to make necessary repairs to the farmhouse, and involved local residents in the planning including Richard Zick whose family was a neighbor of the Dennis’ from the 1930’s on, and Curtis Stone who represented the Brooklyn Historical Society.

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