Residents Share Their Stories On WVIA’s Our Town Mountain Top
By ANDREA O’NEILL
Correspondent
OUR TOWN MOUNTAIN TOP INTERVIEW-WVIA’s Our Town Mountain Top premiere aired last Thursday, May 11. Producer John Rice, far right, interviewed resident Tom Clark as Lois Scott and Noreen Clark look on as they answered phone pledges.
OUR TOWN MOUNTAIN TOP-The premiere of WVIA’s Our Town Mountain Top aired on May 11 during which ten community residents told their stories of life “on the mountain”. Shown manning the phones for pledges, from left, are Michelle Reilly, Steve McGinnis, Pat Hoovler, Ruth Hughes, Dave Hourigan, Lois Scott, Sharon Hourigan, Noreen and Tom Clark.
WVIA STAFF MEMBER Debby Konnick interviewed John Hoovler of Mountain Top on The Move during the premiere of Our Town Mountain Top.

About 10 mountain residents volunteered at the WVIA Studios in Pittston to take pledges and share their excitement for the premier of WVIA’s Our Town, Mountain Top. Residents added their insight to the film and answered phone pledges during the two-hour premier last Thursday evening, May 11.

Twenty-three residents were featured in the one-hour film, which opened with a brief overview of the community before moving into an interview with St. Jude Pastor, Father Joe Evanko and the construction of the new Saint Jude Roman Catholic. St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal and St. Paul’s Lutheran churches were also featured, along with several community organizations including the Mountaintop Rotary Club, Mountaintop Area Little League, Mountaintop Area Youth Soccer Association, The Mountaintop Hose Company, and the Nuangola Grove Theatre. Also represented in the film was the history of Glenn Summit via the Lehigh Railroad, and the 2006 tornado that carved a path through the area on a 70-degree December day.

“It has been a fun experience to bring people together to tell the story” said Dave Hourigan, who was interviewed in the film and present at the premier. “It has been thrilling to see people glowing with pride and talk about their contributions to the community.”

The Our Town series was originally launched by WPSU, WVIA’s sister PBS affiliate in State College, and adopted by WVIA in 2009 with Danville as the feature town. The series has since featured twenty-six communities from Sunbury to Wellsboro and Jim Thorpe to Hawley, and has connected viewers with communities and people all over the area. The towns to premier so far this season were Taylor, Pittston, and now, Mountaintop, which had been identified as a potential feature based on its history and size.

John Rice, who recently started producing the project for WVIA, WLVT and WQLN, explained that the project is best suited to towns who are an entity of their own with a multigenerational sense of history, but yet small enough for people to know each other personally. That sense of history and personal connection showed through in the film as it was unveiled last Thursday evening.

“This is an hour long show that tells the story of a community through the voices and eyes of the people who grew up there, live there and work there,” explained Rice. “We hope it is a bit of a scrapbook for residents but also of interest to other people of the area.”

Michelle Reilly, Rotary Club President, was also in the film and an enthusiastic supporter at the premier.

“We’re here to help raise money for WVIA and let everyone know what a great community we have and live in,” said Reilly. “Taping for the film was a chance to highlight all the positive things in our little community on the Mountain and illustrate the rich history of such a close knit town.”

Several residents were involved in the fundraising, and Rice conducted brief interviews with residents during programming breaks, including Tom Clark, Lois Scott and Steve McGinnis. The celebration ended with Noreen Clark having the honors of cutting the Our Town cake and a celebration of our mountain.

“We as a community are proud of what we have accomplished and continue to accomplish going into the future,” added Hourigan. “As you listen to the speakers in the film you can clearly see that people care about their community and about each other as they tell their story.”

If you missed the premier of Our Town Mountain Top, you can check your local listings or visit www.wvia.org