Change Comes To Mountaintop In 2015
By NICOLE FAY BARR
Correspondent

In 2015, change came to Mountaintop, as Geisinger and Commonwealth Health opened new facilities, new directors were named at the MSK Library, The Rotary Club, and Active Adult Center, each with enthusiasm and fresh ideas. In the political realm, volunteers from local fire and ambulance services spoke to Congressman Lou Barletta about their town and ways to improve volunteerism.

Health Care Facilities

On Oct. 20, Geisinger opened its new $7.3 million building on Route 309, a consolidation of three facilities in Mountain Top. Now at the new building are the family practice from 12 Kirby Avenue, Geisinger’s Partners in Pediatrics from its location on Route 309, and Geisinger’s Careworks After-Hours Clinic, which moved from its location in the Weis Plaza.

The new facility, years in planning stages, stemmed from the other Geisinger locations seeing a growth in the number of patients, causing office space to become more and more limited.

“The community itself has grown very much. We needed more space,” related Therese Pramick, public relations and marketing specialist for Geisinger. Patients can be treated at the new location for family and internal medicine, pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gastroenterology, lab work, and radiology, which is new to Mountain Top.

In August, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital’s Commonwealth Health facility, on South Mountain Boulevard, opened a walk-in clinic and extended its physicians’ hours.

The facility has been successful since its opening in May of 2012, with a few doctors practicing family medicine there. In addition, the location offers laboratory and X-ray services, ultrasounds, mammograms, wound care, and outpatient physical and occupational therapies. The decision was made to expand the hours in Mountain Top because a need in the area was recognized, explained Cor Catena, CEO of Commonwealth Health. Also, he said, providing a walk-in clinic offers patients more convenience.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to provide necessary services to the community,” Catena said. “We’re excited to be able to expand…It’s a nice opportunity for folks that have health issues after hours. Folks don’t always fall ill when the doctor’s office is open.”

At the new walk-in clinic, patients can be treated for a variety of issues, including asthma, colds, fever and flu, fractures, and injuries needing splints or stitches. Patients can also go to the clinic for physicals, flu shots, or other vaccines.

Community Organizations

The Marian Sutherland Kirby Library hired a new director this year, Allison Latagliata. With degrees in education and library science, Allison has always loved reading and being of service to people and felt directing the Kirby Library was the perfect fit for her.

As library director, Allison oversees a staff of four, as well as the many volunteers who work with the library. She’s responsible for purchasing materials for the library, coordinating staff meetings, managing the library’s budget, organizing programs, and working with the Luzerne County Library System, among other things.

“I’m excited to be in the area and I welcome anyone that wants to come and chat with me,” Allison said. “My door is always open.”

Resident Kathleen Button, whose family owns Button Oil, was recognized this year for her charity work helping children. The Luzerne Foundation, an organization that supports donors with their charitable giving, chose Kate as recipient of the Mary Bevevino Community Award. The award is the foundation’s highest tribute.

The award was given for Kate’s work with Camp AsthmaCadabra, a summer camp and safe haven for asthmatic children. Kate founded the camp in memory of her daughter and grandson, who both died of asthma attacks in 1992.

The Mountaintop Active Adult Center, a place for older residents to socialize and participate in different activities, hired a new director this summer. Carol Yozviak, a retired nurse, organizes various activities that center-goers participate in, from bingo and exercise classes to field trips to places such as the Hollywood Casino in Hershey. She also arranges for speakers to talk to the seniors and for monthly screening of health-related issues such as blood pressure and glaucoma.

The Active Adult Center is run by the Area Agency on Aging, an organization in Luzerne and Wyoming counties that provides social services for residents age 60 and over. The center also provides a congregate lunch program to seniors each weekday, and about 30 to 40 people are served each day.