On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

A recently published story in the Times Leader daily newspaper outlined efforts by the East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire to recruit new members in Luzerne County. The group’s spokesman Tom Larson, the Imperial Wizard of the group, gave access including photos to the newspaper’s reporter to promote his group.

A “cookout” was held at an undisclosed location in Mountaintop on October 10 for families including wives and children to learn about the East Coast Knights and their organization. A call to Wright Township Police Chief Royce Engler confirmed that the local police have seen no evidence of a Klan event including a cross lighting in his area. There is a lot of farmland out in Slocum and Dorrance. The “cookout” location was not disclosed.

“We are a nationwide organization in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. We do not preach hate. We are Christian,” explained Larson, who returned a call from me. The number was published on the Times Leader’s photo of two hooded and masked members behind their banner “Preserve our Heritage”. A visit to the website pictured on the banner was not active.

I challenged Larson that the names in the newspaper article were fictional. “We don’t have a Joe Mulligan living in Mountaintop. There is no phone or property listing with that name. The only Joe Mulligan I ever knew died in March 2015 and had no survivors by that name according to his published obituary.”

Larson countered that names were not revealed. “We are the Invisible Empire.”

I asked Larson what was the purpose or goal of his group. “It is written in the Bible that we should not mongrelize the races. Whites should not marry Latinos, Asians or Blacks. We should marry within our own race. We believe in stopping immigration including the influx of Muslims in our country. We are not racist. We want to protect what our forefathers built in this country. Somebody has to stand up to them,” said Larson.

I brought up the fact that Europeans had settled in North America displacing Native Americans, giving them diseases that they could not survive and had actively taken over their lands. I had recently seen “The Last of the Mohicans” movie and the British displacement of the New York Indians was fresh in my mind.

Larson countered that the European settlers built great cities and introduced a higher culture to North America.

Larson did not confirm that The East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire were part of the traditional Ku Klux Klan. “We do not want to hurt anybody, but only to preserve the white race. We had a cookout for the families and we had a sacred ceremony at the end, which we call a cross lighting. We do not welcome drug addicts or alcoholics to our midst.”

Pastoral Letter

Before I spoke to Tom Larson, the Mountaintop Eagle received an inquiry from the office of the resident bishop of the United Methodist Church about publishing a “Pastoral Letter in Response to the Recruiting Efforts of the Klan”. I reviewed the letter on their web page and noted that all of the Mountaintop church pastors had signed on with the Methodist Bishop. That full-page ad appears in this week’s edition. It was published in the Citizens Voice on Sunday and was scheduled for the Times Leader on Tuesday October 27. Please read the Pastoral Letter and come to your own conclusion.

Mixed racial marriages have existed for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. The Invisible Empire is late to the party. If they are our neighbors they can believe in their position without threatening their neighbors. Burning crosses and wearing white robes and hoods has always been a coward’s way of making a point. Although I can’t imagine violence occurring in Mountaintop from the Invisible Knights, we need to be aware that as the bishop’s letter says, “We therefore denounce the efforts of the Klan as both un-American and non-Christian. In conclusion the pastors urge Mountaintop residents to register their support at openwelcome. blogspot.com.

Lots of Rocks

As this is the last week in October, I am looking forward to the completion of the Route 309 Rock Remediation Project. Last week the 1.5 mile span from Fairview Township near Brown Street north to just before the Bear Creek cutoff was back to one lane for milling and paving. The paving is projected to be completed by Friday. The project took two construction seasons to near completion. We can only hope this is the end of it. The wide-open area will allow sunlight and drainage improvements to make the road safer in the winter months.

Years ago I would take I-81 through the rock cut and experience slippery icy conditions that included vehicles doing 360-degree skids right in front of me. Eventually that rock cut was widened considerably and the unsafe roadway was minimized.

Unfortunately government can be very slow to initiate and complete needed projects. Patience and keeping the heat on those responsible is the key to success.

Election Day November 3 Mountaintop voters to go to the

polls next week to vote or municipal, school board and Luzerne County Council positions. Many municipal races are uncontested. Candidates are showing spirited efforts, at least by sign placement, for most of the races.

The Mountaintop Eagle contacted all candidates in contested races. We had a tougher time with the Luzerne County Council race. The Luzerne County website does not list candidates by name and address. At this late date all we had to work with was the sample ballot. An inquiry to Marisa Crispell from the election bureau about the information we were seeking was unfruitful. Dealing with government at all levels is frustrating.

All candidates with ads in this week’s Mountaintop Eagle sought to bring their message to the electorate. Those that did not are not worthy of your consideration.

October Golf I got two nice golf outings in

last week at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Course. Golf Superintendent Duane Schell does an amazing job keeping Blue Ridge up to resort standards. Despite the active leaf falling season you won’t lose your ball on the course. The leaves are blown off every day.

This is the last week for late afternoon daylight. Daylight Savings Time is ending on Halloween night October 31 and we will see daylight closer to 6 a. m. I won’t mind that. The days will continue to shrink for another 6 weeks and then we turn the corner toward spring.

I spent some time taking my 2015 garden apart last weekend. The super sunflower crop yielded more than 70 heavy stalks. I pulled them out one by one and left only a handful broken off before the soil line. I have never had such a prolific crop. The garden cleanup needs just a bit more attention and then it will be put to bed for the winter. A garden gives me exercise from April to November.

Turkey Give-Away The Mountaintop Eagle Turkey

Give-Away is coming up in November. Always a popular event we all look forward to our Thanksgiving Turkey dinners. Some of us cook and others go out with family or friends and others enjoy a meal at a church. Keep your pencils sharpened. The fun is just starting.