Doin’ Dunmore: Lots to Wish for in 31st Annual New Year’s Wish List

By Steve Svetovich

With the world wide COVID-19 pandemic in full force and the arrival of a vaccine to help stifle the Virus, there is plenty to wish for in 2021 in the annual New Year’s wish list.

The annual New Year’s wish list first appeared in The Dunmorean in January 1991 and is now in its 31st year.

So here we go for 2021: the first wish is an obvious one – an end the the world wide COVID-19 pandemic…raises in salary and national recognition for all of the essential workers, including grocery stores employees, police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, postal workers, teachers, DPW workers, all doctors, nurses, aides, therapists, technicians, X Ray personnel, home health and all other health care workers, who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic…a special place in Heaven for Scranton firefighter Stephen Sunday who died at 28 due to complications from COVID…easier access to COVID-19 testing sites…free COVID-19 testing sites…quicker access for COVID-19 vaccines…a normal life for students at all levels…relief and long vacations for nurses and health care workers…continued recovery for my dad and sister Denise from the COVID-19 virus…crumb cake from Cwikla’s Bakery in Avoca…a German brownie from the Minooka Bake Shop…the peanut stick back at Krispy Kreme…a hot coffee with hazleton and toasted almond flavor from Dunkin Donuts…a Dunkin Donuts in Forest City…the late Jake Scott, Cliff Branch, Ken Anderson and Otis O.J. Anderson in the Pro Football Hall of Fame…Curt Schilling, Jeff Kent, Todd Helton, Omar Vizquel and Gary Sheffield in the National Baseball Hall of Fame…a baseball diamond in Heaven for Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Whitey Ford and Al Kaline – all members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who died in 2020…a special bond in Heaven for NBA legend Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna who died together in tragic helicopter crash in beginning of 2020…a mantle in Heaven for all of the NBA championship rings earned by Boston Celtic legends Tommy Heinson and K.C. Jones who died in 2020…a chilli burger from Carawana Diner in Carbondale…Mickey Gannon’s wings in Green Ridge…pizza and a cold draft from The Roosey in Dunmore…breakfast at Katrina’s in Dickson City…the New York Yankees back in the World Series…a Hank’s hoagie from Tommy Owens in Green Ridge…a Hank’s Hoagie for president elect Joe Biden…a happy and successful retirement for Anne and Mike Brunetti…good health for Dunmorean publisher John Hart and his wife Maureen…Dunmore’s Patrick “Nibs” Loughney, Joe Tomko and Paul Nardozzi back in politics…season New York Giants tickets and a Giants playoff run for Paul Nardozzi…Joe Tomko’s Minnesota Vikings back in the playoffs…good health to former Dunmore Mayor Nibs Loughney and his wife Donna…my dad’s chilli…a cure for M.S….a special place in Heaven for my long time mentor Bill Hoppel who died last year close to 93 and always looked at the bottle as half full…health, happiness and joy to my special friend Jeannie Hoppel…continued work helping the less fortunate from North Scranton’s Tom Duggan…lower real estate taxes…no road rage…lower Scranton garbage fee and wage tax…lower water bills…more community minded people like Dunmore’s Carol Scrimalli and Jim McHale, Jr….less pot holes…Derek Jeter finally getting his day in Cooperstown, NY…a trip and night at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey…the return of live rock concerts, block parties and picnics…fans at baseball games, including PNC Field in Moosic…a bus trip to Yankee Stadium with JZ Tours…an elephant back at Nay Aug Park…Jimmy Connors back in politics and singing Johnny B Goode…Nardozzi’s Pizza in Dunmore…a Wendy’s frosty…Brett “Gardy” Gardner back in a New York Yankees uniform…Bartolo Colon back in the big leagues…Nicholas Pizza in Green Ridge…Dunmore’s Shannon Miele Grippi and her sister Michele dancing at the Waldorf Tiki Bar in East Mountain again…Barbara Eden in a Jeannie bottle and back at the Scranton Cultural Center…Carol Burnett hosting Saturday Night Live…Betty White back on a TV series at 99…Cat Stevens in concert…Bob Barker back on The Price is Right or even in another Adam Sandler movie…Mick Jagger singing “Satisfaction” at 78…Keith Richards alive at 77 and strumming guitar like there is no tomorrow…Bob Dylan back at Montage…Shania Twain anywhere…a bounce back season for local Mets fan Steve Gall…Sam the Greek back from Greece with his famous rice pudding…a walk at McDade Park in West Scranton…one more Bob Seger concert…a Pappas Pizza tuna grinder…a Friday night at Legend’s in Dickson City…Legend’s pizza…my dad’s pizza…A Robert Plant and Jimmy Page reunion…Brian Wilson back at the Kirby Center…a Paul Simon comeback…the late Jim Croce in the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame…Straubs beer, honestly fresh…Madonna…more government funds, support and programs for childhood and adult autism…Everybody Loves Raymond reruns…A Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunion…Larry King and Barbara Walters doing interviews again…a Sirius XM radio in every vehicle…listening to the Mad Dog on MLB Sirius XM radio…Howard Stern on Sirius XM…a Keystone Lunch Texas wiener in West Side…Taylor Swift…Pete Rose eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame…more Adam Sandler movies…David Letterman back on TV…a Carly Simon concert…Nina’s boneless wings in Dunmore…Crown Pizza in Dunmore…Taco Bell…breakfast at Marie’s Diner in Avoca…a Who’s the Boss reunion with Tony Danza, Alyssa Milano and Judith Light…Happy Days reruns…a Springsteen concert…a Guinness draft beer…Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on a Jersey Boardwalk…Cher…Laverne and Shirley reruns…pasta from Fratelli’s in North Scranton…Jennifer Lopez anywhere…good health and happiness to my friend and former co-worker Leah who is kicking cancer in the butt…breakfast at Neen’s Diner in North Scranton…a hoagie from West Side Flava’s…Stuttering John and Jackie the Jokeman back on Howard Stern…more band jobs for my dad…my dad and son Ryan back playing a New Year’s Eve gig together…Jack Mead on sax…Ed Kosmahl on guitar…Firp on bass…Vince Parise on guitar…a reunion of the original Fabulous Fortunes with my dad, Billy Woelkers, Art Stanton and Johnny Cognetti…Chuckie Morris back on sax…Jimmy Tigue back on the keyboards…Roger Finnerty back on guitar…a visit with Tim Wagner at his sporting goods store in Green Ridge…good health for Dunmore’s Fran and Santa Burne…Cara Mia hoagies in Dunmore…Mary Tyler Moore reruns…Eva Longoria…a Marie Osmond diet…Rolling Rock beer…The Sperazza Band live…Olena and Beverly serving drinks at the Roosey…the return of cassettes…my dad’s stuffed grape leaves with lemon juice…D.J. LeMahieu back in a New York Yankees uniform…a trip to Santorini, Greece…The Wanabees at Backstreets in West Scranton…a fresh MGD draft…More songs written and another CD from my son Ryan…a Neil Young concert…more summer baseball games for my son Dylan…pasta at Soriano’s in Peckville…daydream believers…a Taurus Club hamburger…Maroni’s Pizza in West Scranton…more successful Dunmore Crime Watch programs for Gary Duncan…continued success for coach Ben O’Brien and the Dunmore Lady Bucks…a strong football season for coach Kevin McHale and the Dunmore Bucks…Cooper’s Maryland crab bisque soup…hot fries for my son Ryan…Granteed’s Pizza for my son Dylan…a special place in Heaven for late Dunmore community activists Addie Michalek, Carmel Arnone, Blanche Shaw, Fritz Voytek, Sam and Tom Cali, Leonard Verrastro, James McHale, Sr. and Al Frioni, Sr….Starbucks coffee…Dunmore’s Billy Weller spinning discs in Heaven…a night at Finnegan’s in Scranton…Green Ridge Pizza…Waldo’s wings…the return of the Hawley Winterfest…a special island in Heaven for Dawn Wells, Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island…More of Mary Padian of Storage Wars…Chris DiMatteo singing Sinatra…Subway hoagies…Rod Stewart back in Wilkes Barre…Medicare at 60…lower college education costs…Teri Hatcher…less desperate housewives…less divorce…me and my buddies singing Thunder Road…clean water…another book from Dunmore’s Guy Valvano…a trip to Cooperstown with my boys and great friends Jim and Jake Decker…the return of Bartel’s beer…Yankees baseball on YES…breakfast at Abe’s Diner in downtown Scranton…the New York Yankees retiring Paul O’Neill’s number…Amanda serving drinks at Thirsty’s in Olyphant…a happy retirement for NBA great Vince Carter…Don McLean singing American Pie…an easier parking system in downtown Scranton…a Yankees bus trip with Eddie from Cookie’s Travelers…health and happiness to my friend Debbie Nesko…good health for my Aunt Annette…a return to health for my Aunt Stella…less hate and rioting…less divorce…toasted tuna fish sandwiches with onions and a pickle…little baby ducks, old pickup trucks and tomatoes on the vine…continued success in college for my nieces Mia and Livy…more cross country success for my nephew George, Scranton High freshman…good health to my brother George and wife Maria…a special place in Heaven for Maria’s dad and recently departed mom and her brother Nickie…a special place in Heaven for my uncles Gus, Art and Wally…hugs and kisses to my two grandmothers in Heaven…health and happiness to my sister Denise, the Mallory of Family Ties…continued improved health and happiness to my dad, the leader and drummer of The Fabulous Fortunes for 73 years…the most special place in Heaven and hugs and kisses for my late mom who always taught me to take a chance…my son Ryan on guitar, drums, piano, singing, writing and creating music and CDs…my son Dylan lacing line drives, stealing bases and chasing down fly balls in centerfield playing the summer game he loves…great happiness, peace, love and success to my two boys and to their mom Beth who is courageously and successfully fighting her battle with cancer…and a special place in Heaven to Beth’s late parents John and Elva Hoffman…peace, love and hope to everyone…life is short…nothing ventured, nothing gained…we are all still running against the wind…time is our most valuable asset…let’s kick COVID in the butt…Happy New Year, everyone…

Dunmorean of the Month: Mike Judge

By Steve Svetovich

Mike “Didge” Judge is the kind of guy who loves getting up and going to work everyday.

And the Borough of Dunmore and its people are lucky for that.

A Dunmore DPW employee for 34 years and head of the department for the past 20, Didge is diligently at work everyday at 6 a.m. 

He has 25 full time DPW employees under him and they all share his work ethic. 

“I love Dunmore,” he said. “I don’t mind doing what I do for a living. In fact, I love it. Not too many people can say that about their job. My day flies by because I love my job.

“I like to stay involved as much as possible and help the people of Dunmore. I love helping people, especially in this town. Our DPW employees are all like that. We try to make Dunmore a great place to live. And it is.”

Judge said his department has been following all COVID precautions right from the get go. “We do not go into the building other than to punch in and punch out,” he said. “We go right to our trucks. We don’t even use the lunch room. We stay out of the building as much as possible. We sanitize the trucks, wear masks, wash our hands and follow all COVID precautions. It has certainly been a different kind of year.

“Not one member of our crew has contacted COVID or been sick all year. And I run the garbage collection too. I can’t believe through all of this that no one has been sick, but that is a good thing.”

Didge said the DPW crew will be busy decorating all of the poles at and around Dunmore corners with Christmas lights and decorations Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5. A new Christmas tree with lights will be placed by the clock at Dunmore Corners, he added. 

“It’s going to look real nice,” he said.

Didge said the Dunmore DPW department is already prepared for the winter season. “We have seven trucks filled with salt ready to go,” he said. “Plus we have a full barn with 500 tons of salt in the DPW building. 

“We already had a trial run one morning last month at the higher elevations like Mount Margaret and the Boulevard. We are set and ready to go for the winter.”

Didge, 63, a 1975 Dunmore graduate, is married to the former Lisa Coccicci. His wife is a Valley View graduate. The couple has three boys: Michael, 28, a heavy equipment operator for the Lackawanna County Roads and Bridges Department; Patrick, 25, and Robert, 23, both full time employees for the Dunmore DPW. 

“My boys and I are in the same line of work and two of them work for me,” said Didge. “We all like helping the public and doing what we do.” 

Judge worked for almost 15 years at RCA in the Keystone Industrial Park prior to going full time with the Dunmore DPW department. 

“I’ve had only two full time jobs my whole life and loved them both,” Didge said. “I guess I’ve been pretty lucky.” 

Well known and highly respected in Dunmore Borough, Didge is looking forward to continuing to serve the public.

“We have a great DPW crew here in Dunmore,” Judge said. “It makes it easy coming to work everyday at 6 a.m. The guys do a great job and like what they do for a living. I can’t wait to get up and go to work everyday.” 

Dunmore Volleyball Senior Elisa Delfino is All Regional

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore senior Elisa Delfino just started playing volleyball last year as a junior without initially knowing a lot about the game.

She learned quickly. 

Elisa was selected late last month as an All Regional volleyball player for the 2020 season. 

She led Dunmore to the Lackawanna League championship playoff match and District 2 Class 2A playoffs.

Daughter of Joe and Melissa Delfino, Dunmore, Elisa was a Lackawanna coaches’ first team all-star. She had 115 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, seven blocks and 11 digs. 

In her career, she had 245 kills, 56 serving points with 18 aces, 13 blocks and 11 digs. This was her first All Regional selection. 

Sue Dempsey is the volleyball coach at Dunmore. Trevor Holmes is the assistant.

“They taught me everything I know about volleyball,” said Elisa. “I didn’t even know there were only six players on the court. I came in as a junior not really knowing the rules of the game. They taught me the basics and it went from there.”

And her reaction to being selected All Regional as a senior? 

“I am very thankful that I had the coaches who helped me get there,” she said.

Courtesy: Rich Banick Photography

“I really regret not starting playing volleyball sooner. I started as a junior and learned the game so fast. Volleyball is an easy game to pick up once you start playing on a regular basis. It is a lot of fun.”

The talented senior has a 94 academic average and is also a key member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team. She is a member of the French Club, Spanish Club, Earth Club, SADD and TACT at Dunmore. Her best subject is psychology.

The scholar-athlete has been selected as player of the game and player of the month for her volleyball skills. 

Elisa said she would like to study business administration/marketing with a minor in psychology and continue her basketball career in college. Her sister Gianna was a standout basketball player for the Dunmore Lady Bucks. So basketball is in her blood. 

She talked about her future goals. “It is going to be hard for me to stop playing sports. I want to play basketball and do well in college. I want to finish college, be successful and start a family. I will never stop playing sports. I love it too much. I will play in recreation leagues after college. I am pretty sure of that.”

Elisa said she likes listening to music in her spare time and would love to see Ariana Grande in concert. 

A four-year member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks basketball team as a shooting guard and forward, Elisa is also a football cheerleader. 

A middle hitter in volleyball, she talked about what it takes to excel in the sport. “It takes teamwork and commitment. That is the main thing. Then it all falls into place.”

The multi talented and versatile senior said her parents taught her a lot. “They always tell me to stick to things and keep trying. They tell me to not get discouraged when things do not work out.” 

Elisa talked about the impact of COVID-19 on herself and classmates. “It has been hard on us, but at the same time has strengthened the team and bond we have together. It has brought us closer. 

“It was tough on our basketball team last year. We were on a good roll in the playoffs and the season suddenly came to a halt. We were playing well as a team and thought we had a good chance of going all the way.”

Elisa said she is enjoying her Dunmore High School experience. “I really like Dunmore a lot,” she said. “It is a tight community. Everybody knows everybody. Dunmore is like one big family.”