Honoring Our Hometown Heroes

Hometown HeroesBy Emily Fedor

Sitting behind the wheel. Stopped at a red light. It’s something the majority of us do every day multiple times a day.

Most of the time, nothing comes of it. The light turns green and off we go.

But a little over a year ago, Michelle Mecca, a Dunmore resident, found herself stopped at a red light in Dickson City, and she didn’t just take off. She took a moment to look up and saw beautiful banners dressing the streets. On each: The photo of a hero.

“They had just put up their banners,” said Mecca, “and I thought, what a wonderful idea.”

Mecca contacted borough council and eventually found herself at a council meeting, making a pitch to get new banners made featuring Bucktown’s own hometown heroes.

“I thought driving through town and being able to see your loved ones face would bring so much comfort and joy to people,” said Mecca. “…if you are running errands and stop somewhere and see your father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt whoever is close to you looking down from a banner, that would bring some piece of mind to you. Hopefully brighten your day. Hopefully make you proud.”

“As council, we all said it would be a great idea,” said borough councilman Vince Amico. “We voted unanimously for the project to go forward.”

From there, Mecca and Amico met with other borough officials, including borough manager Vito Ruggerio and councilwoman Carol Scrimalli, to iron out all the details and put together an application.

dsc_0738.jpgOver the past few months, dozens and dozens of Dunmoreans have submitted applications along with photographs of their loved ones who have served in our armed forces. Those photos will now hang proudly throughout our borough along Wheeler Avenue, East and West Drinker, North and South Blakely, Electric and West Warren Streets

“This project and the overwhelming response exceeded our expectations in every way,“ said Mecca. “[The people of] Dunmore always put their whole hearts into something, and this was no exception.”

Both Mecca and borough officials would like to thank the Dunmore DPW workers for hanging all the banners, as well as those at Jaworski Sign Company for their involvement in making this project a success.

For those interested in sponsoring a hometown hero banner, applications are currently still being taken. Forms are available at the Dunmore borough building or online at http://dunmorepa.gov/community/hometown-heroes-application/.

There is no deadline to submit applications. However, time is still a factor. Borough officials tell the Dunmorean there are a limited number of spots available. So any outstanding applications should be submitted as soon as possible.

“We’re at about 250 now,” said Amico. “Based on the locations that we as council decided would be the best places for them…we have room for approximately 40 to 50 more. Once those spots are taken, we’re at capacity for lack of a better term.”

DSC_0735Councilman Amico tells the Dunmorean he is honored to be a part of this project honoring our hometown heroes. Mecca seconds that sentiment.

“It means a lot to me,” said Amico. “I’m a veteran myself…and it’s amazing to see all these people who have served before you. I still get choked up when I look up and see all these people who have served from our community.”

“Being a part of this project has forever left a lasting mark on my heart,” said Mecca.

“Seeing everyone come together to support this project, working together, helping people, and caring about each other is what life is all about, and I think Dunmoreans do that the best.”


Sherwood Youth Celebrates 60 Years With Sixth Annual Summer Festival



Members of the Sherwood Youth Association invite the community to attend the sixth annual Dunmore Summer Festival at Sherwood Park. The festival runs August 16, 17 and 18 from 5 to 11 p.m. each evening.

By Emily Fedor

In February of 1958, the Sherwood Youth Association was formed by a small group of men here in the borough. Their goal? To supply the children of Dunmore with one of the finest playgrounds in the area.

At the group’s first fundraiser in 1958, a plain hot dog cost 20 cents. Sauerkraut would run you an extra nickel. Highballs and whiskey were also being served for less than 50 cents a pop.

sherwood 1Now the year is 2018, and some things have changed. But over the past 60 years, the mission of the Sherwood Youth Association has remained the same – to keep the children playing.

This month, residents of the borough and surrounding areas are invited to celebrate Sherwood Youth’s 60th anniversary at the sixth annual Dunmore Summer Festival. The event runs Thursday, August 16 through Saturday August 18 from 5 to 11 p.m. each evening.

Matt Fedor, president of Sherwood Youth, says the festival offers something for the whole family.

“For the children, we’re offering pony rides, face painting and bounce houses. For the adults, there are basket raffles, great food, drinks and entertainment.”

On Thursday, August 16, the Wanabees will open the festival with mix of music from the 50’s through the 80’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing.

On Friday, August 17, Dunmore High School’s cheerleaders and marching units will perform. Kayleigh Carey is also set to make one of her first public appearances as Miss Buck for the 2018-2019 school year.

Later that night, Ron Morgan & Crossroads will take the Show Mobile stage later that night to play a mix of classics from the 70’s and 80’s.

On Saturday, August 19, gymnasts with the United Sports Academy will be on hand to wow those in attendance with various flips and tricks.

Members of the Fabulous Fortunes, who have rocked the Dunmore Summer Festival for the past six years, will then close out the event.

sherwood 2Various vendors will be selling a tasty selection of food each night of the festival.

Members of Sherwood Youth will also man a stand, serving up beverages, potato pancakes, fresh-cut french fries, clams, pizza frita and more. New additions to the menu this year include porketta, broccoli and shells, clam chowder and Texas wieners.

We’re sorry to report the prices have gone up just a bit since 1958.

“Come out and have a great time,” said Fedor. “The community’s support will be greatly appreciated in our effort to keep the children playing for another 60 years.”

Dunmorean of the Month: Nicole Guzenski

Nicole GuzenskiBy Steve Svetovich

Nicole Guzenski, Dunmore, received a Fulbright United States Student Program award to conduct research in India.

She received the award from the United States Department of the State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Daughter of Bill and Theresa Barrasse, Nicole, 32, is a 2004 Bishop O’Hara graduate. She received a B.S. in communications and minor in philosophy from Keystone College in 2008 and an M.S. in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College in Maryland.

Her dad is the owner/operator of the famous Billy B’s restaurant/bar in Dunmore.

Her husband Michael is a teacher at Delaware Valley High School in Matamoras.

Nicole will conduct research in India as part of a project to study women’s empowerment in the context of climate change mitigation.

She will conduct documentation specifically on programming that is pioneering the work of women-led climate resilient farming. Nicole will seek to research a local community’s use of traditional ecological knowledge in creative adaptive strategies towards modern problems along with the incorporation of gender inclusive practices such as female entrepreneur ships and leadership roles and their impacts of a community’s resilience and capability to thrive.

Nicole will leave for Tune, India Saturday, August 18. She will be funded through the Fulbright Program for nine months, but plans on staying in India for a year. She will travel on her own for the final three months of her one year stay.

Her husband Michael will visit in December and June and then will spend time traveling with her.

“I am very excited to go back to India,” Nicole said. “I was there 10 years ago. I studied the agricultural program there before. I am a little nervous, but very much looking forward to it. This is a big change for me now, but an incredible opportunity.”

Nicole talked about her future goals after she returns back home from India.

“I really love working with the immigrant community in Scranton. I want to continue that work. I want to work with women in the community. I would like to work with immigrant mothers. There is just something about cultural sharing that not everyone is exposed to. I might do a cooking class for the community.”


Mike and Nicole Guzenski are shown hiking the trails of Cinque Terre, Italy.

Nicole is one of over 1,900 United States citizens who will conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright United States Student Program.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement as well as record of service and leadership potential in their respective fields.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and people of other countries. The program is funded through the annual appropriation made by the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments, host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 380,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, professionals and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all areas while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of long-term interests of the United States.

Dunmorean of the Month - garba

Nicole and Mike Guzenski celebrate at an Indian Garba Festival in Scranton.

Fulbright alumni received distinction in many fields, including 59 who were awarded the Nobel Prize, 82 who received Pulitzer Prizes and 37 who served as a head of state or government.

“The culture in India is so robust and intense,” Nicole said. “There is no other place on the planet like India.

“I have done a lot of traveling in Eastern countries. The people in India are truly amazing. They have a belief that their visitors are like a God. They are very welcoming and hospitable. They like to cook and feed their guests. And they are great cooks.

“They like to share everything with people. Food is a big part of it.”

The adventurous Nicole currently teaches classes at Marywood University and Northampton Community College in Tannersville. She also teaches English as a second language at United Neighborhood Center in Scranton.