Holy Cross senior is a strong leader

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross senior small forward Gabe Gonzales is one of the leaders on the hardwood for veteran coach Al Callejas this season.

Coach Callejas has not missed a game this season following a cancer diagnosis the previous year. His players continue to support and rally around him.

“Coach Callejas is doing good,” Gabe said. “He comes to practice ready every day. He hasn’t missed a practice or a game. He is going right after it and we continue to support him.”

Son of Melissa Gonzales, Gabe said his mom is a strong support for him.

“My mom tells me to always work hard because nothing comes easy. She tells me you only get good results with hard work.”

The senior stalwart said coach Callejas has taught him so much about life.

“Coach Callejas has taught me so many life lessons,” he said. “There are so many. He tells us that people will get on you all the time, but you just have to keep fighting.

“He tells us life is full of highs and lows, but you need to learn from the lows. The lows are the most important, That’s where you learn. You have to keep moving forward.”

The senior scholar-athlete has a 3.3 grade point average. His favorite subject is math. Gabe is not sure where he will attend college, but is leaning towards Wilkes University. He wants to study nursing and play college basketball.

The talented forward scored 16 points in his team’s 58-52 loss to Scranton in the semifinal of the 71st Lynett Memorial Basketball Tournament Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the Lackawanna College Student Union. Oliver Almonte led Scranton with 18 points.

Gabe scored 10 points in the consolation game–a 61-48 Holy Cross win over Dunmore–of the Lynett Tournament.

The hard-working senior is also a tight end on the Holy Cross football team.

Gabe, who led the Crusaders to four wins in the first seven games this season, talked about what it takes to excel at the forward position in high school basketball. “You need to create three things,” he said. “You need to be able to shoot the ball, post up, and finish off. You need to be a good overall scorer, to make the right passes, and play good defense.”

He talked about his future goals. “I want to play some more basketball, finish college with a nursing degree and make good money with a great career. I want to be a registered nurse.”

His goal for the rest of the basketball season is an ambitious one. “We don’t want to lose another game for the rest of the season. We want to win the league title and go on from there.”

The strong-willed senior talked about his decision to study nursing in college. “It’s a great career and you get to help people. You are always secure with a job, too, so it is an easy decision for me.”

Gabe enjoys listening to music and would like to see Drake in concert.

He has enjoyed his experience at Holy Cross. “It’s been just a great overall experience,” he said. “The education here is great. The faculty, teachers, students, my teammates and coaches have been great.”

Grant to support aquatics staffing at YMCA in Dunmore

Shown at the presentation are, from left: Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, Greater Scranton YMCA; Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants and Scholarships Manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation, and Laura Ducceschi, President and CEO, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The Greater Scranton YMCA was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation to support aquatics staffing at the YMCA.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Scranton YMCA was able to fully staff both pools in its facility and offer 283 swim lessons per session. Following the pandemic, the YMCA has only been able to offer 183 swim lessons per session, a reduction of more than 600 swim lessons annually. The biggest loss, though, has been to our community, as learning to swim is one of the most important life lessons a child can learn.

This grant award from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, in conjunction with the $14,000 grant award the Greater Scranton YMCA received in May, 2022 from the Scranton Area Community Foundation, has allowed the YMCA to increase lifeguard pay rates with the goal of attracting more staff, as well as retaining existing staff who need a pay increase. Adding more team members to the aquatics department will directly impact the YMCA’s capacity to provide needed services to our community, including offering an increased number of life- saving swim lessons annually, making more pool time available to members and guests, and ensuring the resources are available to implement more youth, adult and family programming.

“We are so grateful to the Robert H. Spitz Foundation for their generous support of our YMCA,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “This grant award, along with the grant we received from the Scranton Area Community Foundation, will allow our YMCA to increase the number of swim lessons we offer annually, as well as add additional lifeguards to our team.”

For more information about aquatics programming at the Greater Scranton YMCA, contact Ken Brewster, Aquatics Director, at kbrewster@greaterscrantonymca.org or call (570) 828- 3112.

The Hart of the Issue: Our New Year’s Resolutions

 If you’re like me, then the start of a new year means dieting.  Throughout the year, I track my weight with a spreadsheet, and it looks like the blueprints to a roller coaster.  And the incline from Thanksgiving to Christmas makes for an embarrassing peak, with a necessary fall to follow.  But unlike a roller coaster, the ride down is never fun, and it seems to take longer, much longer, than the anticipating climb up. 

And so, begins the big diet that starts the year. It’s not all bad.  With dieting comes saving money.  A typical work week at Hart Law includes luncheons with clients, colleagues, and employees alike.  While I usually will pack myself a lunch each day, there’s almost always those inescapable phone calls from friends who’d like to grab a bite.  Or when I ask what my legal assistant is having for lunch, she’s on her phone looking up Door Dash for local restaurants to grab a burger, tacos, or a hoagie.  When we moved our offices to Dunmore, the temptations multiplied!  The amount of incredible culinary options within a 3-block radius from HART LAW is out of sight!  And so are my feet after throwing caution to the wind during the holidays and eating everything I got my hands on. 

There’s no way to get around it, dieting is difficult, and reluctance to start one is at an all-time high right after the holidays. But the start of a new year means a fresh slate to put bad habits behind us and we are at least able to make our best efforts to better ourselves.  Positive reinforcement makes it easier.  Plus, we’re all on board with starting fresh so I recommend finding others who have committed to the same resolutions so you can adhere to your plan together.  It’s not difficult to find friends who are also starting up a diet this month.  

But dieting is only one of the common New Year’s resolutions. A quick online search shows that the most popular resolutions involve dieting, fitness, and finances.  When talking about finances it used to be spend less and/or save more.  Traditionally, people have been limited in how they can positively impact their financial position because income is a fixed figure for most employees.  However, there has been a growing trend in “side hustles”. There are a number of ways someone can earn additional income through modern approaches.  And we’re not talking about mowing lawns, shoveling sidewalks, or opening up lemonade stands.  People are finding new ways to bring in some additional income and they’re often doing it without much additional effort or consumption of time in their already busy day. 

Many people are utilizing today’s technology to earn some additional cash.  Some are doing so passively, by investing in unique areas of business such as crowdfunding and real estate investment trusts. Others are enjoying the ease of part time platforms such as shopping for Instacart, delivering for DoorDash (as mentioned earlier), or driving for Uber.  You can even rent your car out on Turo.  It’s like AirBnB for your vehicle!  These opportunities have all of the legwork taken care of for you.  You just have to be willing to dedicate some down time to “turn the meter on” and drive or shop or rent. 

For those who are more ambitious starting a small business can also be a way to earn additional income.  Whether it be a novel idea or a business that is tried and true that they’re passionate about, there are many new small businesses popping up everywhere.  I personally have been learning of them through the City of Scranton’s Office of Economic and Community Development. As solicitor for OECD, I review applications for small grants and larger loan-to-grants through various programs that Scranton has to offer.  This aspect of my position gives me great insight to the growing number of small businesses in our community.  I’ve seen breweries, pet bakeries, spice markets, and even a gourmet mushroom store open up over the past few months. I’ve seen people who have a passion for “yard sailing” who go around looking for used furniture that they can refurbish and resell for a profit.  And I’ve come across “home chefs” who sell their signature dishes right out of their homes.

However, there are many risks that come along with side hustles.  If you happen to enjoy the work and don’t mind if your side job succeeds or fails, then it’s still a win as long as you are having fun.  But if your new venture starts gaining traction and you see the potential of turning it into a successful business then a bit more consideration is needed to plan your next steps.  Creating a successful small business involves many legal considerations. 

Having a lawyer on your team can help you navigate the legal landscape and avoid potential pitfalls.  To start, you must decide the legal structure of your company.  There are several options to choose from such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, and HART LAW can help you determine the best structure for your business and handle all of the legal work required to get you up and running. 

As your business grows, you will inevitably have to enter into a variety of contracts, including leases, vendor agreements, and employment contracts.  Whether you need these contracts drafted on your behalf or you are asked to enter into a contract that’s been put in front of you, HART LAW can help you understand the terms of these contracts and ensure your rights are protected. And if your new business is novel with a lot of creativity intertwined with your venture, you may need to look into protecting your intellectual property. 

And of course, with the good, comes the bad.  If your business becomes involved in a legal dispute, having a lawyer can be invaluable, whether it be in court or in negotiations, a lawyer can help you reach a resolution that is favorable to your new business.  

Having an attorney during the infancy of your startup is the most beneficial way to protect yourself from the potential pitfalls that can come your way as your business grows. If you’re looking for complete legal assistance from the start and to be there along the way, there are some firms that are starting to offer subscription-based legal services. I know about this because HART LAW offers this new arrangement of legal services.  

While I’m reluctant to go on a necessary diet, many people are reluctant to call an attorney.  The problem is that often times, attorneys get a call after the otherwise preventable issue has spiraled out of control. Whether it be a contract that went south, or even having no contract at all or being sued and not having the proper business structure in place to protect you and your assets, an attorney is needed, but the issue might have been avoided or at least mitigated if they were called sooner. (Remember the idiom penny wise and pound foolish?) 

In an effort to avoid these catastrophes, having a legal service subscription plan can take the reluctance out of making that initial phone call.  Subscription-based legal services offer affordable and predictable legal fees, with a fixed monthly or annual fee. These types of plans allow for convenient access to legal advice, which is beneficial if you have multiple legal issues or need ongoing legal support.  Additionally, since HART LAW is a general practice handling several areas of law, they can provide comprehensive legal services to small businesses.  Having a subscription plan provides you with a wide range of legal services, such as contract review, business formation, estate planning, and legal assistance with disputes and to obtain positive results.

Overall, it’s important to remember that resolutions, whether related to dieting, fitness, or finances, take time and effort to achieve, but the start of a new year is a good time to make a fresh start towards improving ourselves. Know that we’re all in the same boat.  We get to start the year fresh with a positive approach to reach the goals that we’ve set.  If your resolution is to start up a new business and you intend to be successful, having a lawyer on your team from the inception can provide peace of mind and help you avoid potential legal issues down the road.  It is worth taking the time to contact HART LAW because they’re knowledgeable and experienced in working with small businesses and can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process of starting and growing your business.