Shopping just got a little bit more fun

Giant Food Stores has teamed up with the Berenstain Bears to renovate the childcare areas in some of its supermarkets.

The children’s space in the company’s flagship store, located in Camp Hill, Pa., now resembles elements of the treehouse occupied by the beloved characters of the Berenstain Bears children’s books: Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear. Mike Berenstain, second-generation author and illustrator of the book series, was on hand for the December reopening.

The new space includes a reading nook, a place to color, a mini grocery store where little ones can scan items and cook pretend meals, a tepee, and a health and wellness area where kids can play with a stethoscope.

This year, four more Pennsylvania Giant stores — in Harrisburg, Jennersville, Royersford, and Willow Grove — will redo their play spaces, too.

New PHA modular homes open in North Philadelphia

Philadelphia Housing Authority just opened 83 new, energy-efficient, factory-built homes in North Philadelphia.

Dubbed Blumberg 83, for the number of new homes, the modular rental units range in size from 616 to 1,641 square feet and include town houses and multi-use walk-up buildings. Located near 23rd and Jefferson Streets, they’re part of the Sharswood Blumberg Transformation Plan.

Ten of the units meet local, state, and federal accessibility requirements. Three are adapted for hearing and visually impaired residents. And all offer access to a community center, green space, and a PHA management office.

“These new homes are attractive, energy-efficient, and cost-effective. They were built in a quality-controlled environment before shipped here, ensuring that precise specifications were met,” said Kelvin Jeremiah, PHA president and CEO.

Penn State Extension works to help cheese makers

Small-scale cheese makers just got a boost from Penn State Extension, which has developed a food-safety system for the state’s mom-and-pop cheese-making operations.

The system, tailored for producers who make raw-milk cheese, includes information on how to conduct risk assessments of their processes and how to meet Food Safety Management Act requirements.

The production of raw-milk cheese poses a potential risk to consumers “because there is no pathogen-kill step applied to the milk, and therefore cheese makers must manage the risk at various other steps in their process," said Kerry Kaylegian, dairy foods extension specialist.

Small-farmstead cheese makers may lack the personnel and resources to track important health information related to their products, she added. Often, the two- to three-person operation is also running a small dairy farm. For more information, visit