As Abington area residents look back on 2017, there are both celebrations and lossses to remember. Here are some of the highlihgts from this year’s news:
A 106th birthday celebrated at CSSL
Marian Pysh, Clarks Summit Senior Living’s oldest resident at the time, celebrated her 106th birthday on Jan. 3 with a dinner party in her honor. More than 50 people attended.
The Dickson City native, who died on April 17, was the daughter of the late Elmer Roy Mott, a carpenter and a member of the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church, and Mary Ellen Gaughan Mott, an Irish immigrant.
Tragedy struck Factoryville Borough
Steven Swift, 43, Factoryville maintenance manager and sewer plant operator, was killed on the job in an explosion that occurred the evening of Jan. 30, while he was operating heavy equipment near a borough shed.
Factoryville Mayor Gary Evans described Swift as a good worker and friend to many.
“While we will need to find people to do the work that he did, he’s not replaceable,” the mayor told the Journal in February.
“He was a non-stop worker for the borough. He was an incredible guy. He worked hard, worked smart and, if he had to work seven days a week, he worked seven days a week. He was more than an employee.”
Festival themed ‘Ice. Lights. Broadway.’
The 13th Annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice, themed “Ice. Lights. Broadway,” was a hit, despite a sunny sky and warm temperatures that melted most of the 50-plus ice sculptures before it was over.
The family-friendly event, presented by the Abington Business and Professional Association Friday through Monday, Feb. 17-20, featured a Family Fun Faire and parade, live ice carvings, musicians and live entertainers, horse and carriage rides and more.
The year of the rooster was celebrated
The Scranton Chinese School and the Asian Club at The University of Scranton teamed up to celebrate the the year of the rooster at the 2017 Chinese New Year Festival Feb. 11 in the university’s Brennan Hall. David White and Shu Qiu served as host and hostess for the evening.
The annual event included a meal and a talent show, featuring students, teachers and guest performers.
Gerrie Carey was honorary parade marshal
Clarks Summit Borough Council President Gerrie Carey rode in the Scranton Saint Patrick’s Day Parade as honorary parade marshal. The borough native rode through the streets of downtown Scranton in an older model Cadillac convertible loaned to her family by longtime friend Bob Perry and driven by her eldest son, William (Hutch) Carey.
Storm produced two-plus feet of snow
When winter storm Stella swept through the region at the beginnning of the third week of March, local residents, organizations, businesses, school districts and municipalities scrambled to dig themselves out of more than two feet of snow.
“I think it was the worst snowstorm of my lifetime, not just my career as a superintendent,” Abington Heights Superintendent Michael Mahon told the Journal the next week. “It’s the worst we’ve seen at Abington Heights.”
Clarks Green couple celebrated 70 years
Jeff and Marie Gallagher, 95 and 92 respectively, of Clarks Green, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on April 19. Close friends and family members joined them for a breakfast party at the Sunrise Cafe.
When asked during the party about the secret to staying together for so long, Jeff replied simply, “Loving each other.”
‘Iliad’ projects were displayed at library
Students of Abington Heights teacher Marilyn Pryle’s 10th-grade English class turned in a different sort of book report after studying the ancient Greek epic poetry of Homer’s “Iliad.”
Created in a variety of mediums, the projects were displayed at the Abington Community Library throughout the month. Each included a QR code, which visitors were able to scan with their smartphones or other mobile devices, linking to an audio recording of the students explaining their projects. Some of the works included a 3D-printed model of a boat, infographics, videos, blogs, presentation boards, scrapbooks, social experiments and more.
“It’s like a museum audio tour,” Pryle told the Journal in April.
Abington Community Library director retired
Leah Ducato Rudolph retired from her job as executive director of the Abington Community Library. The position was filled by Sandy Longo, formerly the assistant director and head of public services.
Rudolph celebrated the milestone with family, co-workers, board members, library patrons and other friends at an ice cream social on May 5 at the library.
Kerri Davis was named teacher of the year
Abington Heights High School teacher Kerri Davis was chosen as the winner of Matt Burne Honda’s first-ever Lackawanna County Teacher of the Year Award. Along with a trophy presented to her by Matt Burne Honda partners Brian Walsh and Denise Burne, Davis, received a brand-new 2017 Honda Civic LX, with taxes paid.
When asked after the ceremony what she enjoys most about her job, the social studies, American history and economics teacher said, “The kids, of course. I wouldn’t be doing it, if it wasn’t for them. …I love teaching, and I love the students. They are like my kids.”
Rotary club opened Little Free Library
The Rotary Club of the Abingtons’ second Little Free Library was officially opened by Mayor Herman Johnson on Flag Day, June 14.
Located at the Veterans Park, 200 N. State St., Clarks Summit, the small wooden structure is based upon the concept of “take a book, return a book.” It was designed by Ned Connell and built by Harry Mumford. The Rotary logo at the top was made by Steve Young.
Summer concert series spanned 11 weeks
The Abington Area Joint Recreation Board (AAJRB) hosted its free annual Lakeside Wednesday Concerts series Wednesdays, June 21 through Aug. 30 at Hillside Park.
The weekly events featured live music by local and regional musicians, canoeing on the lake, picnicking and more. The lineup included: The Exact Change, Lights Out, Presbybop Quintet, Music For Models, Von Storch Project, Retro Rocket, Doug Smith Band with Erin Malloy, Brass and Ivory Orchestra with Chris DiMattio, Doreen and Friends, Merchants of Groove and Rogue Chimp.
AHHS grad launched jewelry business
Each colored bracelet sold on shopbravery.com represents a different charity, which receives 10 percent of the sales proceeds.
Ware, 23, told the Journal after the July 6 launch that he was pleased with the success of the start-up and hoped for continued growth.
“I’ve thought about creating a business for a while, but I never thought I’d actually do it,” he said. “I wanted to create something that had a good cause and, about a month ago, I just went for it. I’ve always loved wearing wristbands and that’s what I stuck with for the business.”
Camp Kelly kicked off summer season
UNC’s Camp Kelly, formerly Camp St. Andrew, kicked off its first summer season under new ownership. Previously owned and operated by the Diocese of Scranton, the camp was transferred to the United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA in November of 2016.
The summer programs began Sunday, July 9 with the arrival of girls resident campers and Monday, July 10 with the first full day of resident and day camps.
ABPA’s first block party was a success
The Abington Business and Professional Association’s (ABPA) Community Block Party on Aug. 11, featured live music, food, crafts, children’s activities and more. The event, initially planned to be held outdoors along Depot Street, South State Street and Spring Street, was moved indoors to The Gathering Place, Duffy’s Coffee House and Crossroads Church, due to heavy rains.
Solar eclipse drew crowd to observatory
An estimated crowd of 1,000 people packed the grounds of Keystone College’s Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory on August 21 to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse through the observatory’s telescopes.
As the moon passed in front of the sun, some people observed through solar eclipse glasses, while others peered through various filtered instruments and others watched a live stream projected onto a large screen indoors.
AHSD teachers, support staff held strike
Contract negotiations are still underway, and a second strike possible this school year.
CSUMC celebrated two milestones
Clarks Summit United Methodist Church celebrated its 125th anniversary as a congregation and 50th anniversary of its building on the Morgan Highway, with a special worship service Sunday, Sept. 24.
Bishop Jeremiah Park drove from Mechanicsburg with his wife Lisa to lead the service.
“The church has an amazing history of reaching out and serving the needs of the community and beyond,” Park said at the event. “The sanctuary and facility are a powerful testament and a legacy of faithfulness. They (church members) really gave their best to be a church in mission and ministry.”
Clarks Green mayor builds pocket library
Borough residents now have easy access to reading materials by ‘taking a book and leaving a book’ inside the wooden box.
A dedication for library, which is registered with the Little Free Library, was held on Sept. 30.
The Gathering Place held open house
Recently completed, The Gathering Place held an open house on Oct. 28 in conjunction with the Abington Business and Professional Association’s annual Fall Fun Day in the Abingtons.
‘Anything Goes’ came to AHHS stage
A student cast of about 35 actors and actresses, singers and dancers brought audience members back to the early 1930s in Abington Heights High School’s production of “Anything Goes,” Nov. 16, 17 and 18.
Summit church celebrated anniversary
Summit Baptist Bible Church celebrated its 50th anniversary with a big meal on Nov. 12.
During the event, Don Roe, pastor of the church since 2010, shared the church’s covenant, which is “as one redeemed and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, to promise to love God and others by worshiping and seeking community in the church and sharing the Gospel so that others may be transformed by Christ.”
Other church members shared verses and testimonies about what being a part of the church means to them.
Christmas market held in Factoryville
Factoryville Borough’s first ever Christmas Market was held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 at the Christy Mathewson Park. The European-style event, which attracted a large crowd both days, included craft and food vendors, children’s activities, live music, horse and wagon rides and more.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.