On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

I am writing my first column of 2016 this week. The weather has turned wintery and those who were complaining that it was too warm last week now have their wish. The local weather forecasters say we are in for single digits and the coldest temperatures since February and March 2015. Weather patterns are cyclical. The global warming fears that some politicians rail about, as if they can control nature, are the regular yearly changes. Sooner or later it gets cold, warm, rainy and snowy, dry and drought. It’s best not to dwell on it. Just have a variety of jackets and footwear to carry you through the seasons.

I have not been faithful to my walking for the past week. End of year accounting duties have kept me intensely occupied. Closing the books and planning for the new fiscal year is important at a small business like ours. The federal, state and local tax collectors are looking for their cut. Reports must be filed and payments submitted. I am just finished with the yearly drill and now I can think about the future.

Time to Purge

Winter is the perfect time to rummage through those closets and purge what you should have sent out the door last year or before. Someone else will love what you donate. I like to take inventory of my stock and if there is too much pass it on. That’s not to say all of the oldies don’t have a future with me. I love those all the more. My favorite seamstress Elizabeth can do miracles to make my classic clothes fit the newer styles.

I put away all of the Christmas decorations at Mountaintop Eagle last weekend. The naked tree was still fairly fresh after 6 weeks. It will be thrown in the woods for shelter for birds and to rot back to nature. For others the Mountaintop Compost Facility in the Crestwood Industrial Park will be open only on January 9 from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. for recycling of live Christmas trees. Residents will not be required to obtain a permit to recycle Christmas trees. The trees will be chipped and shredded and will find a new use as compost. It is a wonderful method of recycling.

Mountaintop has been recycling for many years and private waste haulers are providing that curbside option to their customers. It is good for the community and good for the earth.

Municipal Reorganizations

Municipal governments are reorganizing this week. Boards of Supervisors will choose who will hold the chairman’s chair and who will get committee assignments. Most of the local boards rotate the leadership positions every year, at least if there is a majority. Some boards are neutral and others have distinct positions among their elected members. Monday was the day for most and some had their monthly meeting the same night. Newly elected supervisors and councilpersons will be sworn in and business will carry on.

Carolyn Lauer served as the Nuangola Borough Secretary for nearly 30 years and she will now take her place at the board table. Rick Arnold ran for state representative several years ago and won a seat on the Rice Township Board of Supervisors by four votes over Carl Smith, who is a current Rice auditor.

Boards of Supervisors and Borough Council are charged with building and maintaining public roads for safe travel and providing police and fire protection services. The police budget is usually the largest expenditure followed by the roads. The Mountaintop Eagle covers nearly all of the local municipalities. Some are quiet and others can generate public interest and participation when issues are controversial.

Last year Rice Township’s Upper Ice Lake started draining, the result of a faulty discharge valve. The water got low revealing just how shallow the man made pond is. When the rains came it filled back up. The Rice supervisors will work through the Ice Lake condition in 2016. Nuangola is finally tying up the loose ends of their sewer project. The tiny borough spent decades discussing the sewer project before it was built.

The Crestwood School Board has three new members, who will be seeking to hire a new superintendent. Joseph Kaminski former School Director Bill Jones, and Ronald won seats on the board. The lame duck board hired Fairview Principal Margaret Foster in November and the appointment was rescinded in December when the newly elected members joined the dissenters on the Foster appointment. Overseeing a $36 million budget requires a person with financial management skills. Good luck to the new board in their search for superintendent.

Goodbye Holidays My house is also back to its

pre-holiday look, which is calm and relaxing. The books enjoyed throughout 2015 have been placed on our bookshelves. Charlie says he is going to read eBooks in the future. I love the Audible versions as it entertains me on my long daily hikes. The Christmas poinsettia is a bright reminder of the season just past and could keep up the spirit for another month or two. Our Christmas tree is also in the woods providing shelter for birds on cold winter days and nights. We’ve enjoyed the change of seasons and this is but one of four. There is time for a whole new season of Downton Abbey, football playoffs, a hike or two on a sunny winter day and skiing for those lucky enough to have mastered the skill. Golf will not be on the agenda for a while, but that too shall come again.

Mountaintop Eagle Flying We always have a number of

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Downton Abbey Concludes My favorite international drama

“Downton Abbey” came to life once again with their new and final season Sunday January 3. It is season 6 for the Crawley family and all of their servants in the great house. The tantalizing British period drama chronicles the lives of its wealthy, or maybe not, upstairs family and their equally interesting servants on the downstairs level of the gorgeous Highclere castle. The story began in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic and now we are now in 1925 and the family has is struggling with financial survival.

I have seen every episode of the first five seasons numerous times. Large ensemble casts make for lots of interesting story lines and character development. Dame Maggie Smith sets the tone for all the interactions in the story. It is a fantasy that will conclude all too soon. Sunday nights this winter will glow.