Cocalico Corner: The gifts of coverage

By on December 22, 2015

What do you want from Santa Claus this year?

Maybe living in the scenic history-rich Cocalico area is all you’ve ever wanted. The beauty of the region, the friendliness of the folks often feels like extended family. And, sometimes it is.

While I don’t live in Cocalico, I’m developing a fondness for the area and its locales after nearly two years of covering news and features here.

The fertile farms are particularly spectacular in the summer, the produce absolutely delicious. Even in the multi-hued brown of early winter, the rolling fields can serve as inspiration for writer, photographer, or painter.

On my way from the West Cocalico Township building to Ephrata, via Route 897, I never tire of seeing dozens of goats gambol on a little farm along the roadside.

Just down a bit on the other side of Route 897, a sign directs folks to the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue facility on Vera Cruz Road. The sign with the DVGRR logo, designed by a Berks County friend of mine, always makes me smile. Virtually every day on the DVGRR Facebook page, I see another posting about a rescued dog finding his or her forever home. So numbers of Cocalico -based canines are indeed the best friends of many families near and far and great ambassadors for our region.

When I take Route 222 South from Reading, I frequently turn off onto Route 272 on another way to our Ephrata Review newsroom.

In summer, cars and folks crowd the parking lot and lobby of Boehringer’s Drive-In just outside Adamstown, one of the most popular eating spots in either Lancaster or Berks counties. From grandparents and their charges to high school and college kids, Boehringer’s is the sort of place that not only stands still in time, but provides memories that last lifetimes. A real Cocalico landmark.

Traveling another mile or so, in the heart of Adamstown, the venerable Bollman Hat Company is tipping its collective hat to the future by bringing back more manufacturing jobs to the borough.

Chief among the product it will be producing there is the celebrity-favored Kangol hat which got its start in the late 1930s in northwest England and is now internationally known. Bollman got the license to make the hats in 2001.

Though it is only one of the company’s products, it is likely its most popular and may be among the most profitable. Bollman is now in the process of returning the machinery necessary to make the beret-style hat back to Adamstown from its unfortunate relocation to China. The cost of shipping, repairing, and retrofitting the equipment to American electrical standards will be in the millions, some of which may need federal and state funding assistance. Bringing these important jobs back to America, the Cocalico area specifically, has garnered the volunteer assistance of superstar Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackson, who is among the ranks of glitteratti who love wearing the Kangols, recently released a nearly four-minute video asking viewers to help reach a $100,000 goal via crowdfunding to assist in financing the return of Kangol manufacturing tools to Adamstown.

While Jackson is volunteering for Bollman, the company itself continues to show its big heart by providing headware to the less fortunate in cities far away and closer to home like Lancaster and Reading.

Just last week, Bollman joined with The Headware Association to provide winter headgear for the needy at Reading’s Opportunity House and Mary’s Shelter.

As a reporter and editor for the Cocalico section of the Review, that’s something that warms my heart. As a public official in Reading, a city in which many live in poverty, I’m grateful to the outreach to many of our economically challenged citizens.

So, what am I looking for from Santa? The wellbeing of my friends and family members to be sure. Peace on Earth, too. But, I’ve got to say that I’m hoping for another stretch of covering the Cocalico area where it seems Santa finds many more people who are nice rather than naughty.

Happy holidays to all!!!

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