On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

We have a lot to be thankful for this special Thanksgiving holiday week. We haven’t seen any significant snow in our Mountaintop area. Indeed, the weathermen are reporting the warmest November on record.

My new threshold for my daily walk is 40° on the thermometer. I had written off November as an active walking month for me, but even with my 8 day Seattle excursion, where weather and commitments cut into my daily walking routine, I have still logged a solid 15 days on the road. My goal is 100 miles a month and I am only at 40 miles, twenty-two days into November, but it is way more than I hoped for.

I face the weather with 3, 4, or 5 layers and once I am out on my route it all falls into place. This week I am sharing my gamelands walk with hunters. Shots rang out in our neighborhood early Saturday November 21, the first day of bear season. I didn’t hear anything after 10 a. m. so I went out for a shortened outing along the road posted by private landowners. Didn’t see a hunter or bear or any wildlife. I wore my bright orange vest just to be sure.

I am hoping successful hunters will send the Mountaintop Eagle photos of their prizes. We want to share the good news with our readers.

Christmas Tree Hunt

Charlie and I went on our annual Christmas Tree hunt last weekend at Helen & Ed’s Tree Farm. Ed Myslowski started his business in the 1950’s and now his son Ed, Jr. and his grandsons Dylan and Jeremy greet the customers each year. We started chopping down our trees the week before Thanksgiving two years ago as the Dicus Family and our son Mark Grubert usually come to Mountaintop for Thanksgiving and that is it for our local holiday visiting. This way everybody gets to get an early entrée into the Christmas season. We will go back to Helen & Ed’s this coming weekend to get the special tree that will go to Brooklyn for the holiday.

Helen & Ed’s trees are absolutely perfect. Every year we find our trees next to the parking lot. It is a good thing that most of Helen & Ed’s customers venture forth into the large fields on the farm.

So now the trees are up at our house and the Mountaintop Eagle. We will enjoy a solid 6 weeks of enjoyment. The only stipulation is to water the trees daily.

CSD Superintendent Hiring

The Crestwood School Board hired a new superintendent last week. Margaret “Peg” Foster, the current principal at Fairview Elementary was hired with a 5-3 vote. Foster does not have superintendent credentials and her appointment is conditional on acquiring them.

Crestwood was given ample notice from current superintendent Dave McLaughlin-Smith that he was retiring at the end of 2015. Second in command on the administrative list is Brian Waite, who could easily fill in until the board has ample time to interview and hire a candidate with current credentials. The board said Foster was chosen from a pool of 10 applicants. Did any of the others have superintendent credentials?

What is the rush? Three new board members will take office in the next two weeks. Three board members are completing their terms. Why hire a new superintendent when a new board will soon be seated? The answer is perplexing.

Luzerne County Council A similar situation is the current

topic of the Luzerne County Council. Three board members are leaving as they chose not to stand for reelection and three new members will be seated at the first of the year. One of the members leaving the board wants to fire County Manager Bob Lawton this week. There is no replacement for Lawton in the wings. There is no search committee. Lawton has been looking at other opportunities, but he is still committed to his job. I can vouch for that as he has been responsive to two issues I put before him in the last 10 days. He told me that in the past four years since he was hired Luzerne County’s debt has been reduced from over $400 million to less than $300 million. I like those numbers. For years the former county commissioners borrowed to pay current expenses. Those were the jobs they gave out to political supporters. Lawton said that the county payroll has been reduced from over 1800 to about 1400 in that same time span and is now comparable to other Pennsylvania counties with similar populations.

Hirings and firings orchestrated by outgoing elected board members is wrong. In both the Crestwood and Luzerne County Council scenarios, those leaving were not turned out of office. They chose not to run again. The loss of political power may be hard to accept, even if it is of one’s choosing.

Small Business Saturday Small Business Saturday is this

week, November 28. Originally promoted by American Express in 2010, local entrepreneur Billy Aigeldinger, owner of Cavanaugh’s Grille, wants to send a message to all Mountaintop shoppers to patronize the community’s small businesses on this day and throughout the year.

Billy’s enthusiasm is music to my ears. The Mountaintop Eagle’s advertising base is 99% small businesses. We are the “mom and pop” newspaper to the other “mom and pop” businesses we serve. Of course the mom and pop description has expanded so much more over the years. My own business has a pop, but he is not active. And the “mom” wears many hats, and my staff of Eaglettes regularly braves the trenches of business contributing to our success. Our team pulls together with each weekly edition.

Billy is an entrepreneur and an accountant. He knows how important financial management is to any business. Every dollar spent with a small business in the Mountaintop community stays right here in the form of jobs and goods and services purchased to keep that business going. Billy is in the restaurant business. Every local restaurant on or off the mountain is competing with national chain restaurants for the same dollars. Small business counts each customer as gold.

The Mountaintop Eagle has many gold customers. Some have been with us from the day the newspaper started in 1970. Many more have been our gold since I bought the Mountaintop Eagle in 1985. My goal is to insure their success and to keep them as my gold customers forever.

Look through the pages of this week’s Mountaintop Eagle and you will see the gold. All are contributing to the local economy and all are providing an essential product or service that customers need and want.

For me “Small Business Saturday” is every day of the year. And thank you Billy for reminding us.