Christmas is now in the books and, by this time next week, 2016 will be here.
If you blink your eyes, the next thing you’ll hear will be the words, “Play ball!” OK, maybe not that soon.
Usually at the end of the year, we reflect on the past year. For some of us, it’s been a great year and, for others — well, not so great. I can only wish 2016 will be a better year for all.
Celebrating the successes
In 2015, we saw Stephanie Jallen, our local Paralympic skier who vaulted into world-class status by winning two bronze medals the year before, continue on her champion path. She got into the top 10 in the world in some of her skiing disciplines and in the top five in others. Not bad for our Harding resident.
We saw the groundbreaking ceremony of the former Luzerne Avenue School in West Pittston take place as it is converted to an apartment complex for seniors. It’s a great way to repurpose a building once full of life. From what I understand, some of the future residents were students in the building at one time.
Connie Andrews, now Kokinda, finally tied the knot with Tom. As many know, Connie has been working tirelessly at the Pittston Active Adult Center for years. It’s amazing how the center has grown and become such a fantastic place for seniors to gather for a meal, games, trips and programs.
How could we forget the comedy styling of Atty. John Terrana and Fr. Paul McDonald? The kind attorney and priest were the hit of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Dinner at Fox Hill earlier this year. It’s safe to say, everyone left the dinner with a smile on his or her face. The two fellas were, in a word, hysterical. Theirs will be a tough act to follow next year.
You read about Nick Manganaro, 90 years young and still on the job at Medico Industries for 77 years. I hope I can live to the age of 77, let alone work that long. Congratulations to Nick and hat’s off to Medico Industries for allowing him to stay on as long.
Challenger Baseball had another successful year, including an offshoot league for the older players. What a great and inspiring program. If you want feel good about life, catch a Challenger game at Pittston Township Little League or a Victory Sports game at West Pittston Little League.
The Care and Concern Ministries continues to thrive, thanks to donors, volunteers, staff and, of course, Gloria Blandina, Peggy Burke and our good friend, Msgr. John Bendik, at St. John the Evangelist Church, Pittston.
Who can forget the Pittston parties? The St. Patrick’s Parade, the Tomato Festival, Paint Pittston Pink and other events — all were a complete success. Downtown is growing and outsiders are noticing. I can’t wait to see what good things will come about for the City of Pittston in 2016.
Remembering those we lost
The Dr. Jen Third Annual Ride/Block Party was also a success this summer. The late Jennifer Sidari will never be forgotten in her quest to make the world a better place. Her foundations and fundraisers have been and will help many forever.
Tom Tigue finally allowed someone to recognize him for his years of service in the military, on the PA school board and at the state level. My grandfather always said there is balance in life and for as exciting as it was for Tom to be honored, he did it without his lovely wife, Dianne, who passed away in August.
We also saw the loss of a good friend, educator, coach, husband and father in Jim Norris. When you walk the streets of downtown Pittston next summer, look at the flowers in the tree beds and think of Jim. He planted and watered flowers in all those beds.
Super mom Anne Gober, of Wyoming, was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving four children and a husband. Her incredible smile and life captured the West Side. She was one of a kind.
“Machine Gun” Lou Butera, a champion who put Pittston on the worldwide billiards map, also passed away in California. Lou’s legacy is long and he won’t be forgotten.
Butera and dozens of others are highlighted on the mural downtown. What a feat by our new adopted son, artist Michael Pilato. The mural is magnificent and will be a feature of downtown for decades to come.
It was an exciting year with plenty more in store for next year. Have a safe and Happy New Year.
Quote of the week
“Not a having and a resting, but a growing and a becoming is the character of perfection as culture conceives it.” – Matthew Arnold, English Victorian poet.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]