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Robert E. Field was born in 1937, raised in the Philadelphia area, and relocated with wife and children to Lancaster in 1967.
His father, Sylvan Field, set high academic standards for his three sons and encouraged them to think for themselves and question authority. His mother Hannah Worobe Field bestowed a strong social conscience. Brother Martin developed residential housing and hotels. Brother Joe founded Entercom Corporation that, with its recent acquisition of CBS radio, is now the second largest radio chain in the country.
Robert spent his freshman and sophomore years at Oberlin College and later graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, class of ’59, with a major in Economics. Offered an all expense plus generous stipend two year masters fellowship to Cambridge University, he declined in order to enter the business world with aspiration of a later political or social activism career.
As Executive Vice President of the Stewall Corporation, a predecessor to Manor Care (no relation to The Manor Companies that came first), Field oversaw the design and construction of nursing homes.
At 29, Field’s career began as an investor builder of apartment complexes, hotels and other residential communities. His various companies adopted The Manor Group as a Service Mark, more recently re-named Manor Communities. His initial development in 1966, Manor House Apartments, pioneered the acceptance of African Americans in the then segregated Lancaster city and suburbs.
In the 1970s, Field contributed half the cost for acquiring the current building for Clare House, a women’s shelter, after touring its then row house with temporary wiring running throughout that he considered an imminent fire hazard.
By chance while traveling in Italy with wife, mother and mother-in-law in 1972, Field prevented further damage to and safeguarded broken pieces of Michelangelo’s Pieta. His photograph along with the assailant’s appeared on the front page of the New York Times. He vividly recalls how moved he was while holding a broken hand of the Pieta.
Field served as state finance chair for Republican Arlen Specter’s successful candidacy for U. S. Senator in 1980. In 2002, during the early presidency of George W. Bush, Field changed his registration to Democrat.
Field was executive producer for the award winning motion picture “Liquid Sky” (1983), “Diamond Men” (2001), the documentary “Stalin’s Wife” (2005), and “Perestroika” (2009). A documentary on the life and death of Jonathan Luna is currently in production.
In 1990, with Melvin Allen, he co-founded and was the major donor during the first decade of Project Forward Leap that for twenty- five years provided five weeks of educational overnight summer camp on college campuses each year for about 300 youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In 1995, Field co-founded Common Sense for Drug Policy with Kevin B. Zeese . The organization provided factual information to counter then prevailing misinformation and flagrant falsehoods which led to the War on Drugs. Drug Policy Facts, long edited by Doug McVay, is a compendium of reliable information taken from governmental and peer reviewed publications. It has served academic, officials, students and the general public for a quarter of a century. DrugPolicyFacts.org has had twelve-million visitors. .
Along with a few others, Field co-sponsored, from 2002 to 2005, the state and federally approved Lancaster Prototype Methadone Program, an experiment to permit dispensing Methadone to stable patients in a pharmacy as an alternative to receiving the medication in a clinic.
With the valuable facilitation of Rep. Mike Sturla, Field was the prime mover behind the deregulation of the sale of syringes in Pennsylvania.
Through the private Lancaster Harm Reduction Project Foundation, Field founded and supports syringe exchanges in Lancaster, York and Harrisburg and helps fund an exchange in Reading. Melinda Zipp is its director.
He proposed and sponsored a CARE Foundation program providing over two hundred and fifty small libraries (approximately 300 books each) in rural schools throughout Afghanistan and Guatemala.
He also served on a committee that added a classroom wing and expanded public areas to Lancaster’s Shaarai Shomayim Synagogue.
About 2020, Field co-founded with son Richard the American House Foundation. This non-profit provides milk and bread to supplement the daily diets of five-thousand young children from impoverished Hungarian households.
Through the private Real Reporting Foundation, Field served as publisher of The Budapest Beacon and sister websites in Hungary that provided accurate news and commentary concerning Hungary to world media and also provided domestically Hungarian and worldwide news that otherwise were suppressed by the Hungarian government. Articles from its English websites have often been the basis of reports by major Western media.
In 2007, Field devoted much effort to his role as Project Manager for the tragically aborted renovation and expansion of the Lancaster Public Library. State funds earmarked for the library were diverted to complete the Lancaster Convention Center. The good news is that plans by others are now underway for re-locating and enlarging the library as part of the reconstruction of Lancaster Square East.
Field was founder, publisher, editor and occasional writer of NewsLanc.com. The web site for years was viewed by well over a thousand unique visitors each week, largely from the Lancaster, PA region. It is no longer active except for an occasional posting of his thoughts and memories.
In 2020, and again with Doug McVay as editor, the Field family’s private Real Reporting Foundation launched World Health Systems Facts (www.WorldHealthSystemsFacts.org), modeled after the highly successful www.DrugPolicyFacts.org Without bias, it presents excerpts with attributions and links from government publications and peer reviewed journal articles describing health care systems in the United States and many other economically advanced countries..
To further academic knowledge of worldwide health systems, Real Reporting has funded a series of virtual symposiums of prominent academics specializing in health system economics sponsored by Cal-Berkeley’s Gilbert Center and entitled “International Health Systems in Perspective: Lessons for U.S. Health Reform”.
Field long practiced anonymity for his public services but found it necessary through NewsLanc to speak out against what he believed had become a then predatory Lancaster Newspapers (now LNP) and certain other local special interests. Time has proven his assertions concerning the dire financial prospects of the Convention Center to be correct.
Field believes the likely most shameful act in the long history of Lancaster was the pillorying by LNP and then county District Attorney of two of the courageous and honorable county commissioners, Dick Schellenberger and Molly Henderson, due to the commissioner’s concerns about the financial viability of the proposed Marriott Hotel / Convention Center project in which hotel LNP was a major investor.
During the Corona Virus pandemic and resulting school closings, the Field family donated a thousand new lap top computers to the School District of Lancaster for the use of needy students at McCaskey High School. More recently they made a much larger contribution.
Having fortunately exited the hotel business in 2018 (pre-COVID) while retaining ten apartment complexes, Field is now retired from business, although he remains active with the family foundations and land investments in Hungary and Croatia.
Field divides his retirement between residences in Lancaster and the Upper West Side of New York City. In much of the year he can be seen sitting on a park bench in nearby Central Park, reading and watching the passing scene.
He has long struggled with Prosopagnosia (face blindness). He has always had trouble recognizing acquaintances and even family members, especially when in a crowd and out of their usual context.
He is a recipient of the Crystal Stair Award for public service from the University of Pennsylvania.
Bill Keisling is author of more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction. His essays, investigative writings, and short stories have appeared in diverse magazines and journals including The North American Review, Rolling Stone, and The Progressive magazines. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for his novel The Meltdown. The introduction to his first nonfiction book, Three Mile Island: Turning Point, was written by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Keisling grew up in close proximity to the Pennsylvania governor’s office, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. He has published several books on corruption in Pennsylvania government and the attorney general’s office, including The Sins of Our Fathers, We All Fall Down, and The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna.
Although occasionally posting an article at NewsLanc, more recently he has devoted his full time efforts as the writer and editor of Yardbird.com
Slava Tsukerman was born in Moscow, Soviet Union.
Best known as the director/writer/producer of a cult classic Liquid Sky, Slava Tsukerman has directed internationally 43 films of different genres. He has received 13 awards from many international film festivals.
Tsukerman made his debut at the age of 21, as the director/writer/producer of I Believe in Spring. This first independently made fiction short in the Soviet Union history, won First Prize in the Moscow Amateur Film Festival, was awarded in the Film Festival in Montreal and was successfully released nationally.
Tsukerman’s films Great Bells, The Heat in Cold Numbers, Professor Alexandrov’s Discovery, Vaudeville On Vaudeville won the highest awards in the Soviet film industry. His documentary Once Upon a Time There Were Russians in Jerusalem, produced by Israeli Television, was a first prize winner at the Tenth Hollywood Festival of World Television.
More recently Tsukerman wrote and director the critically acclaimed documentary “Stalin’s Wife” and the motion picture “Perestroika” which received highly favorable reviews on the West Coast and elsewhere but was later slammed by a young reviewer for the New York Times.
Columnist Richard H. Miller is a self-employed business person, life-long Western Pennsylvanian and has been a self styled “political junkie” for 45 years.
He was elected chair of Mercer County Democratic Committee in 1970 at age 28 and has followed Governors’ administrations closely ever since. Miller says he struggles to direct his columns to moderate Republicans and ultra-liberal Democrats. “Both groups need to get more in the mainstream of their respective Parties or convince more of their fellow party members to think like they do.”
A former Mayor of Greenville in Mercer County and president or chair of a dozen other governmental and community organizations, he “preaches that everyone owes public service in exchange for the benefits they enjoy living where they do.”
Dan Cohen is a writer and filmmaker who spent many years in the Lancaster community before moving to Los Angeles.
He is the writer/director of three features, including the award winning “Diamond Men.” Mr. Cohen’s most recent project, a biography of Tibor “Ted” Rubin, the only Holocaust survivor to have become the recipient of the Congressional “Medal of Honor,” will be published by Berkley Books in the spring of 2015. He is currently working on two screenplays.
His biography of American war hero Tybor “Teddy” Rubin entitled “Singe Handed” to be released in May, 2015.
Although Mr. Cohen spends most of his time on the west coast he frequently visits Lancaster where he maintains close ties with long time friends.