On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

We are enjoying more seasonal weather this week as the autumn colors ease into the landscape. I haven’t seen a lot of leaves on the trail on my daily walk, but they are surely in the near future. The cooler weekend and start to this week got me digging in my closet for warmer clothes. We will still have some warm afternoons, but enjoying my morning coffee on my front porch is not quite the same at 52 degrees.

The garden continues to give forth vegetables, enough for simple meals. The first planting of beans refreshes its harvest every week. The squash has new fresh leaves and blossoms peaking out so I am hopeful. The tomatoes are almost gone. I made sauce 3 times so my homemade chili is sure to have special flavor from the homegrown tomatoes this fall. Beets, carrots and just a few peppers round out the pickings.

The sunflowers have been outrageous. Most of them are about 20 feet high, the highest I have ever grown. Last year I could not get a single seed to sprout.

Gardening and farming are challenging endeavors.

Rice Supervisor and Roadmaster Bob Pipech is working hard on his township responsibilities. In the past 10 days Bob oversaw the paving of portions of four badly deteriorated roads. Aleksander Boulevard, Fairwood Boulevard, Wilderness Estates and Henry Drive got upgrades.

The Wilderness paving was my own street, and had not been paved in more than 10 years. American Asphalt did a fine job on the big hill that ties into Heslop Road and a badly deteriorated section on the other hill after the relatively flat horseshoe at the bottom of our hill.

Pipech explained that plowing deteriorated roads damages the equipment and further tears the roads up the following year. The existence of townships was for road maintenance. All of the other services that townships now offer including police protection, recreation facilities and programs were not in the original scheme for townships.

Fire protection in rural areas was always provided by volunteer fire companies and over time townships took responsibility for working with the volunteers in the name of public safety. The former Rice Township Volunteer Fire Company has been dissolved. An auction of the remaining equipment was held in August to go toward outstanding creditors. The financial results of the auction are not available until the court ordered procedures are complete. The fate of the old firehall built in the 1950’s is uncertain

The other big issue in Rice this week is the continued drainage of the Upper Ice Lake into the Lower Ice Lake through a malfunctioning 13” discharge pipe. The problem was presented on WBRE Eyewitness News last week complete with a shot of the water streaming out of the upper lake and through the pipe. I compare it to a bathtub that has lost is stopper and continues to drain. I put a link to the TV report on Mountaintop Eagle’s Facebook page.

The drainage is more shocking by the day. I stopped by again last week and saw that the shoreline is now dry about 15 feet from what used to be the shore. The handicapped accessible dock is tilted on the lake bottom. The public is now forbidden from going on the dock.

Pipech is working with the township engineer to make a plan to repair the pipe. The dam is not at risk, especially now that the water level has receded so much. The Rice Roadmaster has decades of experience working on road and bridge maintenance projects. He is retired from Luzerne County Road department and is a problem solver. The Rice Township Ice Ponds will be restored with ample rainfall after the leak is plugged.

The Crestwood Area Community Education program is off and running this month. There are introduction to iPhone and iPad classes and Excel and Word classes for beginners. Electronic Apple gadgets are user friendly, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little hand holding when you jump into the unknown.

The courses are divided into the arts, including photography, writing, arts and crafts, computer skills and technology, and health & wellness. There are craft classes for seasonal and holiday decorations, painting and pottery, cake baking and decorating, dog training, genealogy, self defense, exercise, yoga, and basketball.

Many classes started last week, but it’s not too late to join in. Go to the CACE listings on the csdcomets.orgwebsite.

The fall sports programs are in full swing. Crestwood played their first varsity football game Friday September 4 against perennial rival Berwick and then last Saturday a non-conference game against Abington. Both resulted in losses. The 2014 Championship Crestwood team lost a significant number of players to graduation, but it is early in the season so the momentum has time to mature.

The Eagle publishes the Crestwood Sports Schedule every week and includes all the junior varsity and freshmen games as listed on the link from the Crestwood csdcomets.orgwebsite.

The mornings are very dark with sunrise coming closer to 7 a. m. each week. My window of opportunity for a morning walk is shrinking. But then the afternoons aren’t too hot for walking so I just have to get comfortable with a changing schedule. We’ve got to be ready to move with the times.