Dunmoreans of the Month: William Torbeck and Kendra Lapsansky


William Torbeck, center, is shown with his wife, Kendra Lapsansky with Colonel, a Black Labrador.  Mo, a Yellow Labrador, is shown with his forever person Donna Hill on the right.

By Steve Svetovich

William Torbeck and Kendra Lapsansky like to help others in need.

The Dunmore couple found their niche by fostering dogs.

Torbeck and Lapsansky were looking for a way to help others a few years back, while dealing with a problem of their own. Torbeck’s brother, Mark, was diagnosed with retina pigmentosa. He was gradually losing his eyesight and eventually went blind. Currently he resides in Florida accompanied by his guide dog.

Two Dogs - Mo“We wanted to do something to help others who were in a similar situation,” said Torbeck, a ¬†contractor at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

“So we decided to do something to help people like my brother.”

The Dunmore couple took in Mo, a yellow Labrador, from January 2016 to December 2016. The Labrador was raised and socialized by Torbeck and his wife for the entire year before ending up with Donna Hill, of Susquehanna County. Hill has the exact same diagnosis as Torbeck’s brother.

Currently, the Dunmore couple is keeping busy raising Colonel, a 15-month-old black Labrador. Torbeck and his wife, who works at the Veterinary Emergency Center, Chinchilla, have the dog from Friday night through Sunday night. The dog is with an inmate at the Dallas Correctional Institute during the week.

Two Dogs Colonel the Black LabColonel also has a trainer who is from Smithtown in Long Island. ¬†“He is with the trainer once a week in a classroom setting,” said Torbeck.

“We pick him up and have him Friday through Sunday. He gets structure in the prison and socialization skills on the weekend with us.”

The Dunmore couple helps Colonel learn how to open handicapped doors and buttons.

“It’s called a touch practice,” said Torbeck. “The dog will learn how to help the handicapped and wheelchair bound in these situations.

“He is seen outside with the public a lot. The most important thing he has to do is remain at my side at all times while outside with the public.

“Colonel is seen everywhere in Dunmore. I go everywhere with him. We go to games, coffee shops, restaurants, just about every place in Dunmore. That’s the protocol. It’s all about repetition. He is a future working dog.”

A fund raiser has been set for January 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Zummo’s Coffee Shop on Marion Street in Green Ridge. Torbeck said all proceeds will go to the America’s Veteran Dog Program.

“Colonel has been with us since February. We will have him until this January. He will then go through formal training for three or four months in Smithtown, Long Island. He will be reinforced on special things. After that, he will be matched with someone. Colonel will be working with a disabled person about three or four months after this January. He will be a guard for a specific handicapped person.

“Sure we will miss him, but my wife and I want to help make this world a better place. It’s not about us. It’s about helping others.”


Bucks’ 14 Wins Tied for Most in Football Team’s History


Photo Credit: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

It was a season to remember in Bucktown.

Veteran football coach Jack Henzes led his Dunmore Bucks to 14 wins, tied for most in team history, before his team suffered its first lost of the season in the Class 2A semifinal against Southern Columbia, 56-19, Friday, December 1.

The Bucks had a couple leads in the first seven minutes of the contest before Southern Columbia reeled off 49 straight points. Southern Columbia is now headed to its 16th state championship game.

Senior running back Frank Damiano led Dunmore with 77 rushing yards, including a 65- yard touchdown run on a burst up the middle in the closing minutes. It was the final carry of his high school career.

The 14-win season was the fourth in Dunmore’s history. The 14-win unbeaten streak was the longest in team’s history, beating the 1985 Eastern Conference title team that finished 13-0.

Only the Valley View Cougars, which won 15 games in its state title run in 1992, won more games in a single season.

Dunmore quarterback Gavin Darcy and linemen Nick Shoemaker, Jerry Longo and Michael Muracco are all members of four straight District 2 championship teams, a run that began in 2014 for the Bucks.

Darcy hit Steve Borgia for a 15-yard touchdown pass on Dunmore’s first play against Southern Columbia giving the Bucks a 6-0 lead. The extra point kick attempt was blocked.

After Southern Columbia took a 7-6 lead, the Bucks came right back when Billy Donvito broke three tackles en route to a 16-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick gave Dunmore a 13-7 lead with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

bucksThat was the final highlight for the Bucks until Damiano’s 65-yard touchdown burst with 6:20 left in the contest. The undefeated Southern Columbia team scored 49 unanswered points in the meantime. The Bucks finished the season 14-1.

Dunmore had moved its record to 14-0, with a 23-20 win over Ligonier Valley in the PIAA Class 2A quarterfinal at Hershey, Saturday, November 25. The win tied the school record for consecutive wins in a season.

Ligonier Valley had a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, but the Bucks came storming back.

Darcy completed 5-of-10 passes in the win, including a 22-yard touchdown toss to tight end Noah O’Malley in the second quarter. The touchdown and extra point kick tied the game, 14-14, with 7:50 left in the first half.

Damiano, who rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries, scored the Bucks first touchdown on a two-yard burst with 9:19 left in the second quarter.

Dunmore’s Kyle Harrity blocked a punt for a safety giving Dunmore a 16-14 lead five minutes into the third quarter. The play proved to be huge.

The Bucks then scored off the free kick, with Cristian Buckley cutting up the middle after a step to the right for a 24-yard touchdown scamper and a 23-14 lead after the extra point kick by Rinaldi, with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Buckley rushed for 54 yards on 12 carries in the win.

Ligonier Valley drove to the Dunmore five in the closing seconds, but choose to go for a touchdown rather than attempt to tie the game with a field goal on fourth down. A pass dropped incomplete and the Bucks had a 14th straight win.

Shoemaker had a key sack and Nate Fangio made a game saving tackle on Ligonier Valley’s final drive.

Dunmore defeated Newport, 35-6, in the first round of the District 2 Class 2A playoffs Friday, November 19. Damiano ran for two touchdowns and Darcy threw for another, a 59-yard touchdown pass to Fangio, in the win.

Buckley romped for 140 yards on 17 carries. Donvito added 74 rushing yards on 15 jaunts in the win.

The Bucks may have ended the season with a loss, but this group of players and coaches are only winners in the town of Dunmore.

Congratulations on a historic season, Dunmore Bucks.

Athlete of the Month: Mackenzie Black


Athlete of the Month Mackenzie Black is shown, center, signing for a full Division I gymnastics scholarship with West Virginia University.

By Steve Svetovich

Hard work and dedication pay off even to those who are the most modest of sorts.

Take Mackenzie Black, for instance.

The Dunmore high school senior accepted a Division I scholarship and a spot on the gymnastics team at West Virginia University.

Emilia Raynova, instructor at the United Sports Academy, Dunmore, made the announcement last month.

Daughter of Shanette Black and Thomas Nolan, MacKenzie was one of three local high school gymnasts who were accepted into a Division I college on a full athletic scholarship for the coming year.

The others were Adeline Rider of Scranton Prep and Donna Howell of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School. All earned spots on their respective gymnastic teams.

mackenziee“This is a great accomplishment,” said Raynova. “Not many gyms in the country are lucky enough to achieve the same results, especially having three seniors in the same year.

“We are so proud of our girls and their coaches. Only about 200 gymnasts in the nation receive a scholarship to a division 1 university every year and our girls have earned their spot for three of them.

“All three girls worked for this moment for over 10 years.”

MacKenzie, 17, signed her letter of intent early last month. She has been a gymnast at United States Sports Academy for the past 12 years.

MacKenzie, who has a 91 academic average at Dunmore, talked about her experience at the United States Sports Academy. “It’s a very welcoming environment,” she said. “It helps to keep us humble in terms of our success.

“I spend a lot of time there. I spend about 21 hours a week at the United States Sports Academy. The coaches there are like our second family.

MacKenzie said Raynova was initially her instructor. Her current coaches are Omar Egas and Sylvia Topalova.

“I learned everything from my coaches. Mr. Omar taught me that dedication is so important. Without it, you cannot go far in gymnastics.

“Sylvia teaches us how to be neater and control our anxiety.”

MacKenzie is very close to her mom. “My mom teaches me about modesty. She told me that if you do well, not everyone should know about it. Never brag about accomplishments. That keeps me level.”

The highly talented yet humble Dunmore senior talked about what is takes to be a good gymnast. “You need dedication and perseverance.”

She talked about her future goals.

“I would like to make it to the nationals and go to the West Virginia camp and help coach in the summer.

“I want to be successful in life, have a family and provide for them. I want to be able to provide for my mom in later years.”