On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

The days are getting longer and the sunrise and sunsets earlier and later. Even on a cloudy day we have lots of light.

I worked again on my vegetable garden last week. Most of the seeds I planted the previous two weekends have sprouted. I see lettuce, beets, beans, and squash putting forth their first leaves as they push through the soil to the light.

The seedlings –tomato, peppers, eggplant, broccoli, and cucumber are well on their way. I mulched most of the plants with newspapers covered over with rich compost.

I make compost year round from yard waste-grass clippings in the spring and summer and leaves in the fall, and vegetable kitchen scraps, which all goes back into the earth. It is recycling at is most natural basic form. The compost added on top of the newspaper mulch keeps the plants moist throughout the growing season and then mixes with the decomposing paper to keep my soil fluffy. Rich compost is also full of earthworms. Growing food, flowers, and trees is all a miracle of nature.

It has been two weeks since most areas of Mountaintop were sprayed for Gypsy Moth caterpillars. It took awhile, but I finally saw some falling out of trees onto the road or walkway along with some minimal leaf destruction. Applying the spray to tree leaves, which are eaten by the voracious caterpillars, is supposed to kill 70% of them. Most were dead. There are always some who survive to continue the cycle. The rainy damp May weather helped to naturally control the caterpillar population this year. We dodged the bullet and hopefully for the next few years too.

June Milestones

There are all sorts of school milestones in June. We have nursery schools, kindergarten, sixth grade, middle school, eighth grade and finally high school graduations. Just about every family has someone to congratulate.

The college graduations were held earlier in the spring and those too are a great source of pride for the graduates and their families and friends.

Congratulations to all. The Mountaintop Eagle’s graduation edition is always one of our most read editions of the year. We have lots of photos, a listing of the future plans for each student and stories about the National Honor Society, class officers, an Awards Night.

My graduations from high school and college were 50 years ago and those special memories stay with you forever. Thank you to all those who helped put our special edition together this week.

Summertime is camp and outdoor time. Wright and Fairview Townships have day camps and the YMCA has sleepover camps at Camp Kresge. Many of the sports teams have camps including the Mountaintop Youth Soccer, Crestwood Basketball, Boy Scouts and specialty sports camps. There’s something out there for everybody.

6th Annual Pink & Blue Golf Tournament

This weekend Charlie and I will play in the 6th Annual Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club’s Pink & Blue Tournament with our good friends Jerry and Helene Skrocki. Pink is for cancers that especially affect women, breast and ovarian, and blue is for men, who are at risk for prostate. All of us as we age face colon cancer risk.

Proceeds this year will benefit cancer charities in both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. They are: Extraordinary Cancer Care Foundation (Scranton), Prescription Assistance Fund at Medical Oncology Associates (Kingston) and Candy’s Place, a Cancer Wellness Center (Kingston). Each of these organizations is committed to assisting local residents in their fight against cancer.

Golf tournaments need many volunteers pitching in to solicit prizes, find golfers, sell sponsorships and make the event fun as well as profitable.

The Pink & Blue has two major corporate sponsors: The Tambur Family Foundation and Petroleum Service Company –Black Horse Foundation. Wheelock Street Capital, LLC, Kavlick Enterprises Inc (McDonalds) and Dr. Carl Barsigian, an oncology physician with Hematology & Oncology Associates of NEPA are Gold Sponsors for the Pink & Blue.

The tournament has 36 additional hole sponsors, many Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club business associates and others Mountain Top businesses that make up the backbone of the donations.

The Pink & Blue has a small committee with open hearts. Somehow it comes together and we all pray for good weather.

Budget Deadline The Crestwood School Board

has a scant two weeks to amend their 2016-17 Budget to close a $1.2 million gap between expenses and income. On the table are the cessasation of kindergarten, and cutbacks in course offerings. School districts statewide are challenged with public school spending. Labor contracts keep salaries increasing every year, and revenue from taxes is flat. Crestwood’s taxing power will increase property taxes another 4.43% on top of 2.4% in 2015. The tax increases simply cannot sustain the hungry needs of the current programs without some restructuring.