Local Twirlers to Present Recital on the Big Screen

Double R Twirlettes

The Double “R” Twirlettes will present their annual recital on the “Big Screen” at the Circle Drive-In on tonight at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.) For more information, call 570-489-1935 or visit doublertwirl.com.  The group is under the direction of Kathleen Mercatili.

Pictured from left: Natalie Buchinski, Mia Velez, Sara Swavola, Jordan Gioupis and Madison Doyle.

Dunmorean of the Month: Joe Tomko

Joe TomkoFormer Dunmore Councilman Joe Tomko was honored recently for his many years of dedicated service to the Greater Scranton YMCA.

Tomko, 59, a 1978 Dunmore High School graduate, received the prestigious Red Triangle Award two months ago during a dinner ceremony at La Buona Vita, Dunmore. The award is one of the highest recognition awards given for volunteer service. 

Tomko has been on the Board of Directors at the Greater Scranton YMCA for 16 years and running. He served two terms as president of the Board of Directors (2008-10 and 2017-19). 

“I am very honored to receive this prestigious honor,” he said. “I am very grateful to the fellow Board, administration and members of the YMCA. I am certainly humbled.

“I initially got involved with the YMCA because of my two kids. They were involved in the day camp, summer programs, became members and eventually worked there as teenagers. 

“I have a passion for the YMCA. It is a unique organization in that it serves infants to senior citizens. Each stage of life is represented at the YMCA. It is not just a place to work out. There is day care, pre school, after school programs, basketball leagues, learn to swim programs, senior programs and Silver Sneakers. 

“Over the last four to five years the local YMCA helped make big improvements to the community. The membership has tripled in the last three years. It now has its highest membership with over 8,500 members. There is so much to do there for all ages.”

The personable lifelong Dunmore resident graduated from the University of Scranton in 1982 with a B.S. in Business Management.

He has 37 years of experience in banking and is currently Vice President of Commercial Lending at Fidelity Bank.

Son of the late Joseph, Sr. and Frances Tomko, both of his parents died in the past three years. “My parents were wonderful and big influences in my life and on the lives of my son and daughter. They were very good grandparents. I was very fortunate. My two kids had a lot of love and support.”

The lifelong Dunmore resident became a single dad after his divorce. But he gives a great deal of credit to his former wife, Mauri Kelly, recently sworn into her second term as Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records. “She is a great mom and wonderful role model to my children.”

The couple had two children: Joe Tomko, Jr., 30, a Temple University and Widener Law School graduate who works in health care compliance for Maximus Federal; and Anne Marie Tomko, 29, who attended Bloomsburg University and Penn State and is Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds.

Being a good parent is very important to Tomko.

“I enjoyed my time serving Dunmore as a Councilman, but I needed to give it up to spend more time with my kids. That was very important to me. I had to be there for them. 

“My kids are my life. They are everything to me. I am so proud of them. I just want them to lead a happy and good life.”

Humble in nature and community minded, Tomko also serves on the Board of Directors for The Friendship House and the Dunmore Area Educational Foundation. He was a Dunmore Councilman from 1990 through 1997.

Next to his two children, there is no greater love for Tomko than the town of Dunmore.

“I love Dunmore, the community and its people. There is no greater place to grow up, to live and to raise a family. There is no greater place to me than Dunmore.”

Crusaders Take Home First Lynett Crown Since 2008

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Members of the Lynett Tournament title-winning Holy Cross Men’s Basketball team include, front row, from left: T.J Liuzzo, Adam Mariotti, Kieran Burrier, David Romanski, T.J. Callejas, Caleb Callejas, Sean Kennedy, Hayden Hosie, David Mariotti and John Hartridge. Middle row, same order: Coaches Corey Joyce, Rob Heyen, Tim Callejas, Al Callejas, Kyler Kovaleski, Mike Zayac and Al Callejas Jr. Back row: Tyler Mendicino, Jack Allardyce, Joe Osborne, Leahy O’Connor, Jajuan Nicholls, Pat Bennie, Jalik Nicholls, Angelo Norella, Will Kittrell, Doug Walsh, James Calciano and Logan Aldrich.

By Steve Svetovich

A clutch Kieran Burrier free throw with one second on the clock was the difference as the Holy Cross Crusaders defeated Scranton Prep, 55-54, Sunday, December 29, to earn its first Lynett Memorial Tournament title since 2008 at the Lackawanna College Student Union.

On his second free throw attempt, the ball danced around the rim and fell down. A Scranton Prep full court shot attempt failed and the Crusaders were victorious. 

Senior Caleb Callejas led Holy Cross with 23 points in the title win and was tournament MVP.

Burrier added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Crusaders. 

Holy Cross ended Prep’s six-year reign as tournament champion.

Burrier created the game-winning foul shot opportunity when he corralled a loose ball at the Scranton Prep end of the floor. That sent him to the free throw line with close to one second left.

The Crusaders (7-1 at press time) started slow and were down by as many as 14 points in the first half. Prep’s Robert Rossi scored 12 of his 16 points in the first 16 minutes of the contest.

The Crusaders defense then tightened and Callejas got hot. He hit on his first 3-pointer with 6:31 left in the second quarter to pull the Crusaders within, 20-10. He then connected on his next five shots, including four more 3-pointers. That put Holy Cross within striking distance, down 40-35.

holy cross lynett calljas

Caleb Callejas was named MVP of this year’s Lynett Tournament.

Burrier and Callejas then both hit on 3-point shots that started a 10-1 Holy Cross run and the Crusaders suddenly had a 45-43 lead with 4:33 left in the title game.

Prep’s Rhys Merritt then connected on a 3-pointer to give the Cavaliers a one-point lead.

Then Pat Bennie, who totaled 10 points for Holy Cross, hit a 3-point shot and Callejas followed with a long 3-pointer for a 51-46 Holy Cross lead with 3:04 remaining in the contest.

In the final three minutes, Merritt hit a 3-pointer, Gavin Bednarz connected on two free throws and Michael Skoff had a 3-pointer for Prep. The score was knotted at 54-54 and Prep had the ball.

However, a late shot caromed off the rim and Burrier scurried for the loose ball resulting in his winning foul shot.

Rossi led Prep (6-2 at press time) with 16 points. Merritt added 13 and Skoff scored 10.

Holy Cross defeated Scranton, 61-58, Friday, December 27, in the Lynett Memorial Tournament semifinal game at the Lackawanna College Student Union. 

Burrier scored 22 points and added six assists and five rebounds in the win.

The Knights led 54-47 in the fourth quarter, but the Crusaders fought hard to take the lead.

Trailing 56-53, Callejas hit a short runner in the lane and Burrier scored off an offensive rebound. 

In the final minute, Callejas, who scored 13 points, hit on all four of his free throws.

Pat Bennie scored 11 points and hauled down 10 rebounds for the Crusaders. Leahy O’Connor added 10 points for Holy Cross. James Calciano added five points, including a clutch 3-pointer in the first quarter.

James Shields led Scranton with 22 points. The Knights played without point guard John Rose for most of the game. Rose was injured.

Holy Cross veteran coach Al Callejas commended his team for its resolve and never quiting.