On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

The colors have peaked and leaves are falling every day. It was a great run, the spring to the autumn of 2015. After the harsh winter the greenery was most welcome. I picked the last few fruits from my garden after the Saturday night frost. Tomatoes, peppers, squash and some beans survived but the plants did not.

My next task is cleaning out all of the spent vines and plant remnants and preparing the garden for winter. I have been ongoing with that exercise for weeks, but now I must finish it. Too soon the real winter will come.

Sunday afternoon saw ice pellets and snow descending in isolated areas of Luzerne County. The upper air was cold and closer to earth was too. Our soil is not yet ready to accept an accumulation of snow. The Sunday night frost gave a 27-degree reading at my house by morning. The walk would be in the afternoon that day. This week we are predicted for the 60’s. I am going out to the golf course again.

I haven’t missed a walking day for weeks. Whatever the outside temperature I layer on the appropriate attire to stay warm. Once out and about I am ready for an hour or more of enjoying the season. I can always take off a layer.

I figure my best walking months end in November. Until then I am out every day. I have my birthday to mark this week. I am at the end of my 60’s and will cherish every day.

New Teachers Contract

The Crestwood School Board has reached a tentative agreement with the Crestwood teachers union. The board approved a motion at their meeting last week to accept the negotiated agreement that had been in the works since November 2014. The contract expired August 31, 2015. No details as to length of the contract or particulars were released pending the union membership voting to accept the contract. Chief negotiator Gene Mancini said, “I believe that this is a good agreement for all parties. The teachers are voting before month-end so the details should be announced shortly.”

Community Events

There are and assortment of community events this time of year. Church suppers, festivals, and sports events—the opportunities for engaging in life in Mountaintop are endless.

This week the new Geisinger Mountaintop is open for business. I remember 35 years ago Geisinger came to Wyoming Valley and sought to consolidate the hospitals in the area. The original name was NPW Medical Center for Nanticoke, Pittston and Wyoming hospitals. NPW grew into Geisinger over the years and now Mountaintop will have a consolidated medical services center for our community.

Our reporter Nicole Barr participated in the media tour event last week and gives us her view of the new facility on Route 309 in Fairview Township in this week’s edition. Primary Care, Pediatrics, Radiology, Lab Services, and Urgent Care are now under one roof. In the ever-changing world of medical services, Mountaintop is fortunate to have the history of the Geisinger system here in our community.

Confirmation

Charlie Dicus received the sacrament of Confirmation at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Brooklyn last weekend. Charlie is a member of Saint Augustine Church and the two churches held a joint ceremony for their 36 confirmants.

Charlie Grubert was sponsor for Charlie Dicus. The grandparents recollected Confirmation as a commitment to becoming “Soldiers of Christ” and getting the slight slap as a sign of our willingness to stand firm in our commitment to God. I remember feeling as though I was filled with the wisdom of the Holy Sprit. These are traditionally called: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3) The sponsors, parents and families of the confirmants all had an opportunity to revisit their commitments to Catholicism.

I was at Charlie Dicus’ baptism in London and enjoy every milestone our grandson achieves.

Route 309 Rock Remediation It looks like the Route 309 Rock

Remediation Project is nearing completion. I called PennDot press representative James May for an update last Thursday and was happy to hear that the two northbound lanes were now open and were scheduled for paving this week.

I had driven down the mountain Wednesday October 14 and it was still one lane. As I am diligent to drive in the lane and not look too close to the adjacent construction areas, I was concerned that a large rock pile behind a jersey barrier was blocking the right lane. I told James May of this observation and he confirmed with the contractor that both lanes were now open.

Kathy Flower was the pilot and I took photos from the passenger seat of the northbound ride down the mountain and indeed two lanes were open for the 1.5 mile construction zone. The rock pile I saw was still behind the Jersey barrier but it was not in the traffic lane. There had been so many cones and variations on Route 309 north and south for the past year it was hard to tell which lane traffic flowed.

The $6.9 million project will keep rocks and ice off the roadway. We can only hope.

Icy Precipitation Icy precipitation fluttered through

parts of lower Luzerne County Sunday afternoon. We came upon ice pellets bouncing off our car and the roadway in Drums just north of the I-81 intersection along Route 309 about 3:15 p. m. Others reported “near blizzard” snow and ice in Hazleton around the same time. The local weathermen say the ground is too warm for icy precipitation to stick. Let’s hope they are right.