Doin’ Dunmore: Bucktown Music Fest to wrap up this month

By Steve Svetovich

Do you want to have some fun?

Dunmore’s finest musicians will take the stage for the Grand Finale of the second annual Bucktown Music Fest at Dunmore Corners on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 4 to 9 p.m.

Tom Hallinan and local musician Brian McGurl are co-chairpersons for the event, the sixth this summer.

Former Dunmore mayor Patrick “Nibs” Loughney will emcee the event.

The Corner Pocket Blues Band, a four-piece group, will open the festivities. The group consists of Danny Cox, Jim Kernan, Jack Garvey and Dr. Joe Pannick.

Kevin Rogan, a Dunmore graduate who now resides in Philadelphia, will then take the stage with his guitar and vocals.

Timmy LaTorre, another Dunmore graduate, will follow Rogan with his guitar and vocals.

Other performers will include Janice Gambo-Chesna on guitar and vocals, Luke Tinklepaugh on guitar and vocals, POP (Past Our Prime) consisting of Joe Pappa, Tom Boylan and Rick Beckage and finally the East Coast Trio consisting of McGurl, Phil Rossi and Chuck Scrimalli.

McGurl said the festivities with conclude with a Shin-Dig of all-star Dunmore musicians.

“There will be a full band backing up a large group of Dunmore musicians who will perform about 15 songs to conclude the music festival,” said McGurl. “All of these musicians are from Dunmore.”

The Dunmore graduates involved in the Shin-Dig include Rick DelAmico, Lenny Nole, Dunmore music teacher Katie Errico, Mike Stoko, D.J. Stoko, Donna Polizzi Loughney, Sean Loughney and Lenny Carlucci,

“We decided do this a couple of years back,” said Hallinan. “I was driving through Dunmore corners during COVID and wanted to bring some life to the town. I called Brian and he said let’s do it. It has become a huge success.

“This brings all of the people in Dunmore together. You see people you haven’t seen in 10 years. It’s a meeting of old friends. It’s like a family reunion. People look forward to it each week.”

McGurl performed with his band, Q Ball, the initial week this summer. “You look out and see everyone in the town having a good time,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. It’s great seeing people having fun at Dunmore Corners. The musicians are mostly Dunmore people.”

Many of the local restaurants and shops at Dunmore corners open for the event. Honeychild’s Bar, Three Jacks, Two Brothers Pizza, Cara Mia’s, Dunmore Candy Kitchen and Dunmore VFW are among the businesses open.

“This does not happen without the sponsors and a grant from the Lackawanna County Commissioners,” said Hallinan.

Other bands who performed at the Bucktown Music Festival this past summer include The Wannabes, Dashboard Mary, the Luongo Brothers, Friend of the Gypsy, and Michael Kwiatek and Sons.

Former Dunmore standout named coach of Lady Bucks

By Steve Svetovich

Carrie Bowen Toomey is a basketball lifer.

And a former all-state basketball player for Dunmore.

For years, she has been one of the biggest supporters of the Dunmore basketball programs.

For the past three years she served as assistant basketball coach at Dunmore under Ben O’Brien who last month accepted a position as coach of the University of Scranton Lady Royals.

So it was not a surprise when Bowen Toomey, 51, was named last month as the new coach of the Dunmore Lady Bucks.

“It’s an honor to be chosen,” she said. “I prepared for this for an entire lifetime. I have more to give and I’m very excited.”

Her daughter Ciera Toomey will be a senior forward/center for the Lady Bucks this season. She will begin the season out with a knee injury, but is expected to play under her mom at some point during the season.

Carrie Bowen Toomey poses with her husband, Patrick Toomey, at right, as their daughter Ciera, at center, celebrates her 1000th point with the Ladies Buck basketball team. Carrie is taking over as head coach at DHS this season.

She is committed to play basketball for the University of North Carolina the following year. She averaged over 18 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 67.2 percent from the floor as a junior for Dunmore.

“We are hoping she plays,” her mom said. “If she does, it will be later in the season. She was thrilled about me being named coach though. I have coached her since she started playing basketball. We anticipate she can eventually play this year.”

Another daughter, Victoria Toomey, was a four-year basketball standout at Dunmore and is currently a senior center at Rider University.

Bowen Toomey was a four-year starter for Franklin and Marshall College. At 5-10, she played forward, was a strong rebounder and possessed a terrific jump hook shot.

The Diplomats were MAC-South champs in 1990 with a 25-5 record. During the next three years, Franklin and Marshall won the MAC-Southwesf title, losing in the league championship game each year.

Bowen Toomey was named to the MAC-Southwest Conference first team three years in a row and was the league’s MVP in her junior and senior years. She was named to the ECAC South first All Conference team her junior and senior years.

She was named to the WBCA Mid-Atlantic first team and received honorable mention All-American honors by the WBA. Gazette, the  women’s basketball magazine, named her third-team All-American.

She averaged 13.6 points as a college freshman. She improved to 13.8 as a sophomore, 16.8 as a junior, and 20.1 points per game as a senior.

She finished her Franklin and Marshall career second in school history in scoring with 1,686 points, fourth in rebounding with 821, third in assists with 276, third in steals with 226, fourth in 3-point goals with 54, and third in blocks with 141.

She is in Franklin and Marshall’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

She played professional basketball in England for one year with the Avesta Sheffield Hatters in the English National League. She averaged 14.0 points per game there.

“Being named coach of the Dunmore Lady Bucks is the biggest thrill of my coaching career,” she said. “It’s a great program and we all understand what comes with it,

“Our goal every year here at Dunmore is to win the Lynett title, the district title and the state title.

“I want to make a smooth transition from what Ben did here. And then I want to continue the level of play and success Dunmore is used to every season.”

Bowen-Toomey is a member of the Northeastern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. While playing for Dunmore, she was the Female Athlete of the Year in 1988-89. She was Scranton Times All-Regional Player of the Year in 1988-89.

She was a part of four straight Lackawanna League South titles as a four-year starter for Dunmore. She was a big part of Dunmore’s District II title in 1986-87. She earned four straight Girls’ Lackawanna Southern Division first-team all-star selections while scoring 1,635 career points and hauling down 1,020 career rebounds.

She is the first female league president in the Dunmore Biddy Basketball League where she coached and served as board member.

She served as assistant basketball coach at Bishop O’Hara from 1997 to 2001 and coached the NEPA Elite AAU team and NEPA Flames AAU team for JB Hoops. She also has experience as a basketball trainer.

“This is a labor of love for me,” she said. “It’s a big job. We all know that. But it’s what I have been doing for my entire life.”

YMCA offers wellness tips during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as children and families start their new school-year routines, it’s a perfect time to reflect and refresh your family’s healthy habits. Many families, though, need support changing their habits together in order to help children who are overweight or obese reach and maintain a healthy weight. 

That’s why the Greater Scranton YMCA — a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health — wants to help families through improved eating habits and increased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity affects about 14.7 million, or one in five U.S. children and adolescents. Obesity can increase risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in Pennsylvania, 15.1 % of all youth ages 0-17 have obesity, according to https://stateofchildhoodobesity.org/states/pa/.

“Experts are more aware than ever that families need support to change their eating and physical activity habits,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “At the Y, we’re happy to partner with families and offer support as they work to incorporate changes to help kids grow up at a healthy weight.”

The Y also encourages families to talk with their health care providers about their children’s health. “You cannot determine whether a child is at a healthy weight simply by looking at them,” explains Fisher. “Working with a health care provider ensures that families receive the proper guidance when it comes to health and their children.”

The Greater Scranton YMCA is helping families improve their health and help youth grow up at a healthy weight through youth sports programs and incorporating daily physical activity into early childhood education programs, like before and after school care, summer camp, daycare and preschool.

While outside support is key, developing healthy habits begins at home. The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:

Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and back packs.

Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).

Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.
To learn more about the Greater Scranton YMCA’s youth sports and healthy living programs, please contact Brandon Whipple, Wellness Director, at (570) 828-3116 or bwhipple@greaterscrantonymca.org.