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The Mountaintop Rotary Club, a non-profit organization that brings together business professionals to provide humanitarian services, elected a new president earlier this year, Michelle Reilly.

“It’s about service above self,” Michelle said, quoting the Rotary Club’s motto, summing up her reasons for volunteering. “I wanted to find a way to be active in the community.”

Michelle, who works for Century 21 Smith Hourigan Group, joined the Rotary Club in 2013. She grew up in Mountain Top in a family-run auto-repair business for generations, and saw The Rotary Club as a way to both network with other professionals and contribute to local organizations.

Crestwood Area Community Education held two sessions of classes, one in the spring and one in the fall, which offered residents the opportunity to learn about everything from creating pottery to decorating cakes, from learning to play bridge to mastering the computer or iPad.

Schoolteacher Sherry Grenzburg, of Dorrance, passed on the home skills she’d acquired by teaching two homesteading classes and a beekeeping class this spring.

In the fall, a new class offered at CACE was “Genealogy: Family History Research.” Taught by Joseph Grandinetti, the course covered a variety of research techniques and provided resources for those looking to find their roots.

“It’s going to be a really comprehensive class on genealogy, for anyone looking into family history,” Robin Golden, director of CACE, said then. “By the time they’re done with the class, people can know who some of their ancestors are.”

Politics

Congressman Lou Barletta visited Mountain Top for the first time on Nov. 6, where he connected with township supervisors, listened to concerns of local firefighters, and shared a beer with veterans at the American Legion.

“He represents the people of Mountain Top in the United States Congress,” remarked Gene Haverlak, president of Mountain Top on the Move who organized the outing, of why Barletta’s visit was important. “He is our personal rep. He should know us…I prefer he know us and work to help us improve our community.”

At the Chalet Restaurant, on South Mountain Boulevard, Barletta began his tour by having lunch with local officials. The group of over 30 community leaders included members of Mountain Top on the Move; supervisors from Fairview, Wright, Dorrance, and Slocum townships; representatives of Crestwood School District; Rice and Wright Township police chiefs; State Senator Lisa Baker; and State Representatives Gerald Mullery and Eddie Day Pashinski.

Barletta, Baker and Pashinski went

on to visit volunteers from all over the mountain at the Mountaintop Hose Company. They told him how no new members are joining their organizations, making things difficult.

“We can have all the equipment we need, but it’s useless without members,” stated Valerie Zane, of Dorrance Emergency Medical Services. “…I think the public needs to be made aware that we’re struggling.”

Pashinski offered having a public hearing before government officials, where volunteers can testify to these problems. The state rep. passed his business card to the firemen and Barletta’s district director exchanged his information as well.

Barletta and his crew then made a final stop in Mountain Top at the American Legion where they were greeted by a large group of veterans and constituents.

Minor Crime Discussed As the year began, some crime

broke out in Mountain Top, namely two robberies, one at Citizen’s Bank and another attempted robbery at Six Packs to Go, on South Mountain Boulevard. The incidents, along with an inflammatory article in a Wilkes-Barre newspaper stating that crime is on the rise in Mountain Top, sparked area residents to organize a panel discussion on the topic.

About 200 hundred interested residents filled the auditorium of the Crestwood High School to listen to an informative hour presented by our local police chiefs, the Luzerne County District Attorney and PA State Police. Residents left relieved, having what they already knew affirmed that in the past there has been hardly any crime in Mountaintop and now there is very little compared with other communities.

Police encouraged the public to be vigilant about looking for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and reporting it. John Augustine III, who organized the interactive panel, told the crowd that Mountain Top shouldn’t be a town of six police officers, but six thousand. “Mountain Top is a very safe place to live...but we are not immune to crime,” he said. “You have to realize that you live in a community and, by living in a community, you have to do your part.”

Police chiefs from Fairview, Wright, and Rice Townships, as well as from White Haven and the State Police, echoed the sentiment that, with neighborhood watchdogs, crime here can be prevented.

“If you see anything, if it’s in your gut and it doesn’t feel right, pick up the phone and call 911. It doesn’t cost you a dime,” Fairview Police Chief Joseph Intellicato told the crowd. Since the March panel, no major crime has occurred in Mountain Top.