Athlete of the Month: Moriah Murray

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore junior Moriah Murray scored her 1,000th career point and three weeks later led her team to another Lackawanna League Division III title.

And then COVID-19 placed a pause in the fate of the Dunmore girls basketball program in the hands of District administrators. 

At press time, a total of three Dunmore girls players tested positive for COVID and because of the timing and state mandated quarentine protocols, the earliest the Lady Bucks can return to action is Friday, March 5. The team is currently seeded second in the Class 4A playoffs, but the dates initially posted by District 2 call for that bracket to begin play Thursday, March 4. 

Eight other Lsckawanna League teams are also on pause due to COVID protocols.

Daughter of Joe Murray and Lynn Plotkin, Moriah said she and her teammates remain prepared, focused and ready for the district playoffs. 

“We are on pause now with nine teams affected due to COVID,” she said. “We won the league title and we’ve been practicing hard. We will be ready for everything. We can’t wait to get going again. We will take it game by game.”

Moriah hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points as No. 2 Dunmore clinched the Lackawanna League Division III title with a 71-35 win over No. 6 Old Forge Wednesday, February 24. Ciera Toomey added 17 points and Cadence Lewis added 10 points for the Lady Bucks. 

Three weeks prior, Moriah reached a personal milestone scoring her 1,000th career point in a 71-45 win over Holy Cross Wednesday, February 3. The junior standout reached the milestone on a 3-pointer in the third quarter. Moriah scored 15 points in her milestone game. Toomey led the Lady Bucks with 19 points. Anna Talutto added 18.

The Lady Bucks are 16-1 under veteran coach Ben O’Brien going into playoff action.

Moriah took a pause to reflect on her 1,000th point. “It was kinda crazy,” she said.

“You don’t think about the points, but rather about your teammates and coaches who put you in a position to accomplish something like that. My heart stopped when the buzzer sounded… It was just such a great feeling.”

Moriah has a 92 academic average. Her best academic subject is math. She committed to play college basketball at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She will play there with Riverside standout basketball player Kylie Lavelle, another junior and 1,000-point scorer who is a good friend.

“I am undecided on a major, but I am looking forward to playing basketball with Kylie at Drexel. She is a very good friend. We played in AAU leagues together over the years. I am looking forward to the type of intensity of basketball at that level.”

Moriah has learned a lot about the game of basketball from her dad. She started at a young age playing in AAU leagues. She said her parents always taught her to “be myself.”

Confident and articulate, Moriah said her Lady Bucks team has a simple goal. “Get into the districts and win the district playoffs. Then win the state playoffs. We were on our way last year when COVID struck. We feel there is a need to finish off a goal. And we are ready for it. We want a state championship. We don’t want to come up short for any reason. We’ll go game to game until we reach our goal.” 

“I am not even thinking about college now. I am excited about that down the road. But right now I am focusing on Dunmore and our team.”

The junior scholar-athlete is a member of the French Club and TACT at Dunmore. She is also a key member of the Lady Bucks softball team as a shortstop and pitcher.

Moriah started playing in AAU leagues at age seven, “It was such a great experience,” she said. “I picked up so many skills and moves from the other girls in the AAU  leagues.” 

Moriah said she loves Dunmore and her friends and teammates. “I just love the whole Dunmore experience,” she said. “I love the whole town of Dunmore. It is such a small borough. Everyone is so close, especially our basketball team. We have been together through thick and thin.” 

Fidelity to Acquire Landmark Community Bank

Fidelity D & D Bancorp, Inc., the parent bank holding company of The Fidelity Deposit and Discount Bank, a Pennsylvania state-chartered, FDIC insured bank and trust company headquartered in Dunmore has announced the execution of a definitive agreement whereby Landmark Bancorp, Inc. will be merged with and into a Fidelity acquisition subsidiary and, as soon as possible thereafter, Landmark Community Bank, Landmark’s wholly-owned subsidiary bank, will merge with and into Fidelity Bank. 

One director from Landmark will join the boards of Fidelity and Fidelity Bank, respectively.

Daniel J. Santaniello, Fidelity President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are excited to welcome Landmark’s clients, shareholders, and bankers to the Fidelity family. Since its founding, Landmark has demonstrated methodical growth and developed a solid reputation in the community. The addition of Landmark provides continued momentum in the execution on our strategic plan and reinforces our position of strength in the local market. 

“We believe that Landmark clients will benefit from the Fidelity Bank relationship banking model focusing on providing trusted financial advice that will enhance the product and service offerings to our combined customers.”

Based on the financial results as of Dec. 31, 2020, the combined company would have pro forma total assets of approximately $2.05 billion, total deposits of approximately $1.8 billion, and loans of approximately $1.4 billion. 

Once the merger is complete, Fidelity will have 25 retail community banking offices in Northeast and Eastern Pennsylvania, offering a complete range of consumer and business products, including wealth management.  Its Customer Care Center is open 7 days a week for the convenience of its clients.  Additionally, Fidelity Bank offers the ability for its clients to apply for consumer deposits, real estate loans, and personal loans through its robust online application processes.  

Landmark shareholders will receive 0.272 shares of Fidelity common stock and $3.26 in cash for each share of Landmark common stock that they own as of the closing date. 

Based on Fidelity’s 10-day average closing price at Feb. 25, 2021 the transaction is valued at $43.4 million or $18.22 per share. The transaction is intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization for federal income tax purposes.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, Landmark had total assets of $354 million, total deposits of $287 million and total loans of $280 million. Speaking on behalf of Landmark, Santo A. Insalaco, Chairman of the Board, said, “Partnering with Fidelity reflects our long-term commitment to the local community and our customers. We believe our customers will benefit from the trusted, well-respected and experienced community bankers at Fidelity, and we look forward to working together.” 

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is subject to Landmark shareholder approval, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Currently, the transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2021. 

O’Malley Announces Run for Borough Council

William “Trip” O’Malley has announced his candidacy for Dunmore Borough Council. The 45-year-old Democractic, says, “As a sixth generation resident of the borough,I believe that Dunmore is the best little town in America and I will serve to keep it that way for future generations. 

“I originally decided to run for Borough Council due to my opposition to the proposed 42-year expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill and the potential health and safety issues it could bring. The DEP may issue a decision on the expansion before the election, but I will never stop fighting for the clean air and water that borough residents deserve.”

Additionally, O’Malley says, “I am also very concerned about the borough’s finances. There is currently $6.8 million left from the $18 million the borough received from the sale of the Scranton Sewer Authority. That money will be gone in a few years if the borough continues to balance its budgets using those proceeds. 

William “Trip” O’Malley is shown with his wife, Laura, and sons, from left: Miles, 5; Rory, 7, and Will, 8. O’Malley is running for Dunmore Borough Council.

“I will work to see that our tax dollars are being spent wisely and our budgets are balanced responsibly. I will always act in the best interest of our nine square miles and the 14,000+ residents of the borough.

As a Social Studies teacher of over two decades, I know that public service is a privilege and I will work diligently for all Dunmoreans and the future of our great borough. I humbly ask for your vote on May 18.”

O’Malley has been an American history and psychology teacher for 22 years at Dunmore High School, where he has also served as Student Activities Adviser for 17 years. He is a current member of the Dunmore Democratic Committee and former member of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.

O’Malley and his wife, Laura have three sons, Will, 8; Rory, 7, and Miles, 5.

See his candidate website: www.trip4dunmore.com