On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

The July 4 weekend starts in two days. Families will be packing up and heading for the mountains or the shore and with gas more affordable this year the financial strain is less. I love Mountaintop in June, July and August. It is the best time of year to enjoy our region and I have no desire to travel.

The annual Mountaintop Independence Day parade is on Monday July 4. It is always on the real holiday. There has only been one time that rain cancelled the parade in the past 30 years and that was in 2015. Dave Hourigan is the Grand Marshall this year, a well-deserved honor for his commitment to the Mountaintop community through his business and work with the Mountaintop Hose Company No. One. Dave was our young realtor and sold us our house in Rice Township in 1978. We go back a long way.

An independent motorcycle ride will lead off the parade at 10:00 a. m. Mark Bohn is bringing his Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club to lead the parade, which starts on Route 309 near Kirby Avenue, turning down South Main Road at the Triangle and ending at the Wright Township Municipal Building. There will be lots of fire trucks and other emergency equipment and plenty of candy thrown from the floats and trucks for the kids.

Our family gathers in the Mountaintop Eagle’s front parking lot and we always see a lot of familiar faces parading by. The Mountaintop July 4 Parade is one of the high points of activity in the community all year. The festivities at Wright Township include a flag rising ceremony, singing of the America the Beautiful and he National Anthem, a wreath laying ceremony with the playing of Taps by American Legion Post 781 in honor of all veterans

Mountaintop First Responders organizations, including fire, police and ambulance companies from Mountaintop will be recognized. . Free hot dogs and drinks will be available. Enjoy your holiday!

Summer Weather Here to Stay

The summer weather is here to stay. We enjoyed another beautiful sunny rain free weekend in Mountaintop. The humidity was fairly comfortable and the insects out in my yard and along my shady mountain trail were kept under control with a minimum of repellant. I know people who dislike the insects so much that they are wary of going outside at all in the summer. Summer and insects go together so it’s up to us to live with it.

One pesky insect that you need to be aware of is ticks. The tiny reddish brown eight legged arachnids can give a good bite and in some cases carry Lyme disease. I have flicked off two so far this year. Neither was attached, which is a positive sign that the tick was unsuccessful at leaving a bite. I did get a bite a couple of years ago. The tick was attached and after I removed it I could easily see swelling and “bull’s-eye” pattern. The treatment was bacitracin an over the counter antibiotic salve and Benadryl for itching. The bite site cleared up in a few days.

I have an ample supply of insect repellent at my house, in my golf bag and I take it with me on my daily walks. The Dicus family will be prepared when they arrive later this week.

Garden Challenges

I weeded my garden last weekend and was disappointed to see poor germination of the beans. Or was it rabbits eating the plants as they sprouted? Miniature farming, which is what a home garden is, is challenged by wind, rain, and the hungry wild animals who forage for food. Our planet has a complicated food chain. Every species is food for another whether it is floral or fauna in our region. I don’t mind sharing some of the bounty, but it has to bear fruit first.

Charlie and I have our contractor installing new windows, repairing broken tiles, and other small home improvement projects this week. Our 40-year-old house needs refurbishing every few years. The Mountaintop Eagle Business & Service Directory is a starting point to shop for a contractor. Most have been with us for many years and are reliable and hard working. Hiring companies that live in our community is a positive option.

Crestwood School Business

The Crestwood School Board had a calm fruitful meeting last week. Solicitor Jack Dean announced that the budget would be voted on this week at a special meeting Thursday June 30, 6:30 p. m. It appears that full day kindergarten will be retained and that cost savings from health insurance and not hiring new teachers who are retiring could close the $1.2 million budget gap. The 4.43% tax increase is not a done deal either.

There was a factual report in the Sunday Citizens Voice (a Times Shamrock publication), about 2014-2015 statewide test scores in school districts in Luzerne, Lackawanna and surrounding counties in the Times Shamrock circulation areas. Crestwood came out on top in every test comparison of statewide scores for the six grade levels, third through eight, included math, science and language. A Keystone Exams and SAT test comparison addressed the high school student population. 38 school districts were analyzed in the report from information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The report listed total enrollments by district, average teacher salaries, low-income enrollment and per pupil spending. Although Crestwood ranked high for teacher salaries at 86 out of 500 districts, per pupil spending was near the bottom at 487 and a total of $11,980. The report tells me that Crestwood’s use of taxpayer money to provide public education is wise in spite of the high costs of its labor contracts.

I was on the Crestwood School Board from 1993 to 1997. At that time the cost of educating one student was about $6,000. I cringe every year to see the Crestwood budget continually rising and therefore the costs of education. In Lackawanna County Abington Heights spends $24,333 per student, more than double Crestwood’s amount making it one of the most expensive education packages in the state at number 14 out of 500 districts.

If the Crestwood board manages to balance their budget and continue to deliver top results at a reasonable cost, we are indeed fortunate to live in Mountaintop, a community with a long tradition of hard work and accomplishment.

FitBit Friendly I celebrated my second

anniversary with my Fitbit on Sunday. I purchased the electronic step and activity tracker two years ago on June 26, 2014 and in that time I walked 8,016,791 steps for a total of 3,262.71 miles. That mileage is more than the distance from New York to California. Just aiming for 10,000 steps a day gives me the edge to keep on going. I usually log about 35 miles a week. Let me know if any of you want to be “FitBit Friends”.