Fossils Donated to Coal Mine Tour

Pictured from left at the fossil donation event were Bob Noone, Lackawanna County Recreation Manager, McDade Park; Rob Sochovka, Geologist/CQA Manager, ARM Group LLC; Commissioner Chris Chermak, Lackawanna County; Mark DeStefano, CFO Latona Trucking & Excavating; Jason Lab, Project Manager, ARM Group; Tom Murray, Senior Project Manager, ARM Group; and Glenn Kempa, District Manager, Alliance Landfill.

Waste Management’s Alliance Landfill has donated two large pieces of the region’s distant history to the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour in McDade Park. 

Landfill Manager Glenn Kempa said the boulders, each with vivid fossilized images of ferns and tree branches that shaded Taylor and Ransom Twp. 300 million years ago, were discovered during earthwork work at the landfill.

“The team working on our site spotted these fossils during excavation. We decided to see if we could make these available for the public to see.” Mr. Kempa said. 

Kempa said Lackawanna County Parks and Recreation Manager Bob Noone was contacted and the fossils were offered for display in McDade Park. Latona Trucking & Excavation of Pittston, a site contractor, agreed to donate transportation of the fossils to the park.

“We are very grateful for the donation of the two large boulders from Waste Management’s Alliance Landfill.  The Coal Mine at McDade Park is the perfect location for these two pieces.  The embedded fossil imprints on these boulders will certainly something of interest for everyone to see for years to come,” said Lackawanna County Commissioner Chris Chermak.   

Alliance Consulting Engineer and Project Manager Rob Sochvoka of ARM Group LLC said the fossils are from the Llewellyn formation, a layer of shale and sandstone found between the region’s coal seams. He said Pennsylvania is one of the few places where highly detailed, and sometimes appearing white or yellow, fossilized plants can be found in contrasting black shale.

“These fossils were formed in the Paleozoic Era of the Carboniferous Period,” Mr. Sochovka said. “During this period, the earth’s climate was much warmer and humid, allowing large trees and ferns to grow. The abundant amount of plant life increased oxygen levels higher than they are today. When the huge trees and ferns died, they fell into waters with little to no bacteria to help them decompose.

“The accumulation of dead plant life formed large peat bogs,” Mr. Sochovka said. “Eventually, with the repeated depositions of sand, silts and clay over these peat bogs and the weight and pressure of these deposits, the peat bogs turned into coal.”

The boulders each weigh about two tons.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: October 2020

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Apples, apples and more apples….whether  you get them at area Farmer’s Markets or travel to Ritter’s in Mount Cobb, as we do, it’s definitely apple season.  Apples are one of the most versatile fruits and, honestly, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like apples.  

From appetizers, breakfast, main meals, soups to desserts, apples are on the menu.   Some of my favorite varieties include Honeycrisp, Red and Golden Delicious,  Fuji, Gingergold and Gala.  

So, let’s explore ways to serve this perfect fall fruit not only for Thanksgiving, but also anytime…

German Apple Pancake

1 cup all-purpose flour
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 apples, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 °.  In medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, flour, sugar and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  Put butter in 13x9x2″ baking dish and place in oven until butter is melted. Add apple slices to baking dish and return to oven for 5 minutes.  Remove baking dish from oven and pour batter over apples.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Return to oven and bake 20 minutes.


Fall Apples and Chicken

2 large onions
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 boneless, chicken breasts, halved (approximately 2 lbs.)
3 medium apples, sliced
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup unflavored breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. apple cider

Preheat oven to 350 °.  Coat baking dish with spray or butter.  Saute’ onions in butter, but do not brown. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken breasts.  Arrange over apple slices.  Combine cheeses with crumbs.  Sprinkle over chicken and apples.  Drizzle with cider.  Bake 35 minutes.


Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

4 pork chops, 1″ thick
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup herb seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped celery
1 Tbsp.  chopped onion
1 Tbsp. chopped raisins
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. water

Cut horizontal slit in each pork chop to form a pocket. Combine butter, apple, stuffing mix, cheese, celery, onion, raisins, orange juice, and salt in small bowl.  Mix well.  Fill each pocket with stuffing mix; secure opening with wooden toothpicks.  Arrange pork chops in 12×8″ dish.  Mix Worcestershire sauce with water and brush on chops.  Bake in 350°oven for 45-60 minutes or until thermometer reaches 160-170°.


Scalloped Apples

5 large apples, peeled
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

This one is one of my husband’s very favorite side dishes. Slice apples into thin wedges and place in microwave-safe bowl.  Cover apples with all remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and poke a small hole to vent.  Microwave on High for 4 minutes.  Stir well and microwave an additional 3-5 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve hot.  


Glazed Apples and Carrots

10 fresh carrots, scrubbed or peeled, and sliced
5 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
6 Tbsp. golden brown sugar
3 Tbsp. butter 
Dash of salt

Place carrot slices in steamer basket.  Toss apple slices with lemon juice and add to carrots in steamer.  Cover and steam just until tender.  Meanwhile, in large saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and salt.  Stir constantly over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolves.  Add steamed carrots and apples, turning to coat with glaze.  Serve hot.  Makes 8 servings.


Autumn Salad

1 head cauliflower

2 bunches broccoli
1 large cucumber
3 stalks celery
3 carrots, peeled
1 green pepper, seeded
1/2 red onion
2 Red Delicious apples
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup raisins
Buttermilk dressing

Dice vegetables, apples and cheddar into bite-sized pieces.  Combine with raisins in large bowl. Drizzle with Buttermilk Dressing.   Serves 6.

Buttermilk Dressing:

1 egg
3 tsp.  Dijon mustard
2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 cup buttermilk
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. basil
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 cups mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients in large container, whisking until well mixed.  Store in airtight container in refrigerator.  Yields: 5 cups.


German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

4 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour
1 tsp. lemon rind, finely grated
2 Tbsp. milk
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.   Using mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.  Add salt, lemon rind, and vanilla extract.  In separate bowl, measure flour and baking powder.  Whisk together to combine.  Add flour to sugar/egg mixture alternately with milk until a loose dough forms.  Spread batter into greased 10″ springform pan. 

Peel, core, and quarter apples.  Using a knife, make 6-8 slits into each apple quarter, leaving the slices connected on one end so apple will fan out.  Place apple fans over batter in circles to cover the batter.  Bake 40-50 minutes.  Cool  Dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.  Cut and serve with sweetened whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream), or better yet…Manning’s Apple Crisp Ice Cream!!!


Quick Apple Crisp

6 cups peeled and sliced apples
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash salt
1/2 cup cold butter

Whipped topping or Vanilla Ice Cream or Manning’s Apple Crisp Ice Cream

Place apple slices in lightly greased, medium baking dish.  In medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Cut in butter with fork or pastry cutter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over apples in dish.  Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, or until apples are tender.  Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.  Serves 6.

Space Time Names Label Contest Winner

Space Time Mead & Cider Works has announced the winner of its second annual Label Art Competition. The winner, selected via online voting, was Kyle Kuczma of Dunmore, shown at left, receiving his prize from Dan Schreffler. Runner up was Maggie Clauss of Damascus.

The competition raised $300 for Geisinger Health Foundation’s COVID-19 fund. This year’s competition theme was inspired by the Mars rover and the world’s collective response to COVID-19 pandemic, Perseverance.

Kyle’s art work will be featured on the label of a wine named Perseverance.  This small batch of wine was started on the day Lackawanna County was placed under “shelter in place” orders.  The wine will be released on Feb. 18, 2021, the target date for the rover Perseverance’s landing on Mars.