On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

The January weather continues to surprise us. With temperature swings between -7° and 61 degrees in the past 10 days we are swinging between the seasons. A bright spot is that the days are getting longer with earlier sunrises and later sunsets.

Winter is usually the time I enjoy television. PBS is a favorite and this week Victoria returns.

There are some new movies I want to see. “The Post” about the Washington Post and Katherine Graham is on the top of my list. I read her biography “Personal History” in 1997 and may read it again. Stories and movies about journalists and newspapers are always a favorite of mine.

The Mountaintop Eagle keeps on top of our local news with the help of our talented correspondents, Nicole Fay Barr, Rebecca Sodergren and Andrea O’Neill. John Wengrzynek has been following the photo beat for 30 years. Our editor Kathy Flower coordinates their work and all of the news items that are contributed by the churches, schools, fire companies, civic associations, and readers. We especially like to interact with our readers when they stop by the office to pay for their subscriptions or drop off a news item. Big or small, newspapers are the heart and soul of their communities.

Football Playoffs

The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday afternoon 45-42 missing a chance to tie up the game in the last few seconds. The game time temperature was 15° and was not a problem for the winning Jaguars.

The Minnesota Vikings in a thrilling final three minutes beat New Orleans 29-24 in Minnesota.

The Philadelphia Eagles advanced to the next round beating the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 on Saturday January 13. New England Patriots beat Tennessee Titans 35-15.

This week the Eagles are hosting the Vikings in Philadelphia. The Jaguars will play the Patriots in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The winners of those two games will play for in the Super Bowl 52 will be played on Sunday February 4 in Minnesota. There are five more big games ahead for football fans.

Ice Lake Repair The Rice Township Board of Supervisors approved the repair of a faulty pipe in the dam of the Upper Ice Lake in December. I am guessing that the lake is frozen pretty solid this week, despite the thaw we had last week. The repair project is estimated to cost $180,000, a substantial amount of money for a recreational man made pond. The upper and lower lakes are very pretty and property owners with waterfront property enjoy them. The public has two access points to what is formally known as Ice Lakes Park. I hope the project is completed before the spring season and the hatching of the “theoretical cricket frog” as outlined in the Mountaintop Eagle several weeks ago. Solving the leaky pipe problem, which initially indicated that the upper lake was draining, has been a long time coming.

Route 309 Open The rock remediation project

on Route 309 through the rock cut between Fairview and Hanover Townships was completed three years ago in January 2015.

Construction crews removed huge amounts of rock alongside the northbound lanes to open up the area to light and allow for a safe rock falling area. Route 309 was always a narrow winding downhill ride and winter temperatures and precipitation made the stretch treacherous. Route 309 has a new dimension of safety.

Come spring PennDot and local townships will be repairing and replacing roads and bridges all over Luzerne County. The Church Road Bridge over Henry Drive in Rice Township will be taken down and the road brought to grade level with an intersection at Henry Drive. PennDot engineers at a public meeting first introduced that project at least five years ago. Public projects take time but safe roads are an important public responsibility.