What started a few years ago as a passing “what if,” in the mind of one Taylor resident as she sat watching her grandchild play in an Abington-area splash park, has materialized into to a momentous fundraising effort, with a reach that has extended some 2,000 miles, and garnered a total so far of $27,529.65 in donations.
Peg Derenick, one of the founding members of the Taylor Splash Park Committee, and that “daydreaming grandmother” who has led a team of volunteers from Taylor Borough dedicated to creating a free place for children to come and cool off in the summer, could barely contain her excitement when news arrived last year that another member of the group — Jody Oustrich — had been working behind the scenes to secure a $5,000 donation via his brother Ryan’s employer, Vivant.
Vivant, which has more than 800,000 customers across the US and Canada, made the donation via its “Vivant Gives Back Foundation.”
According to the company, Vivant Gives Back donated more than $4 million dollars and 10,999 hours of community service to more than 100 non-profit organizations thought the US and Canada.
Ryan, a Riverside graduate who currently resides near Provo, Utah, first learned of the project while visiting family in Taylor. After his company superiors learned of the planned project, Vivant presented the donation on his behalf.
The committee also benefitted from the Infect Scranton Zombie Survivor Challenge, earning $2,000 in 2013 and $1,000 in 2012.
Additionally, the committee has been working diligently for the just over a year to raise the necessary fund to construct the proposed splash park without using taxpayer funds. Their efforts have included baked sales, breakfast with Santa, breakfast with the bunny, daily number lottery sales and a silly string day at Riverside Elementary East.
The committee has also received help from individuals and businesses.
Currently, members of the committee are actively seeking grants through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, that would also provide matching funds to the committees fundraising efforts. They are also submitting for other grants to include the Lackwanna County Community Reinvest Program.
Although the estimated cost of the splash park is $275,000 it is a three year project, with project completion estimated in 2015.
And while it may seem that they have a long way to go in order to reach their goal, Derenick is every bit excited today as she was when the committee’s bank rolls where much less.
“We’ll get there,” she said. “The more people see how far we’ve come in such a short time, the more businesses, like Jody’s brother’s company, step forward … we’ll get this built.”
Donations can be made to Taylor Splash Park and sent to Taylor Borough, 122 Union St., Taylor, Pa. 18517
Taylor Splash Park Receives Donation fromGaughan Auto Store
Gaughan Auto Store is proud business of Taylor Borough for over 20 years. Gaughan Auto Store is always thinking of and supporting their home town or Taylor.
Taylor Borough Council and Taylor Splash Park Committee would like to send a special Thank You to Gaughan Auto Store for their donation
Taylor Borough Council Honors Four Riverside Elementary West Students
A team of first- and second-graders embarked on a mission to prove filtered tap water could be as clean as bottled water — a project that placed first in nationwide environmental sustainability challeng
Dubbed “The Aqua Busters,” the young scientists were named national winners in the kindergarten through fifth-grade bracket in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.
WHEREAS, Dominick DeAngelo, Gavin Hartman, Gary Mrozinski and Trevor Balcerczak “The Aqua Busters” distinguished themselves with regard to reproducible environmental improvements within the Riverside Elementary West, The Aqua Busters were recently named National Finalists in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge; and
WHEREAS, the Aqua Busters serves as a role model for the school and fosters pride in the community and demonstrate the creativity needed to create a integrated approach to a sustainable environment; and
WHEREAS, the Community is further enriched by the hard work and dedication of the students for their integrated approach to creating a positive contribution in addressing the global challenges to the environment on a local basis.
NOW, THEREFORE, the Council of the Borough of Taylor, together with the Mayor, do hereby proclaim Wednesday, June 12, 2013, as
“The Aqua Busters Day”
in the Borough of Taylor, and ask our Citizens to join us in congratulating and recognizing The Aqua Busters for its distinguished accomplishments.
DULY PROCLAIMED AND ADOPTED, this 12th day of June, 2013, by the Council of the Borough of Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania in lawful session duly assembled.
Taylor Police Department Receives New Police SUV from Gaughan Auto Store
Taylor Borough Council Honor Three Boys Scouct from Taylor PACK 44
Taylor Borough Council honored three Boys Scouts from Taylor Pack 44, for receiving their Arrow of Light Award.
The highest rank in Cub Scouting is the Arrow of Light Award. Earning this rank prepares a Webelos Scout to become a Boy Scout. Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light Award have also completed all requirements for the Boy Scout badge.
This award is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform when a boy graduates into a troop.
WHEREAS, a community’s greatest resource is its people;
WHEREAS, the Borough of Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is blessed with exemplary individuals who strive for excellence, and in so doing, improve entire community;
WHEREAS, a commitment to personal achievement and citizenship and working with others is required to earn the rank of Arrow of Light Award of the Cub Scouts of America;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Taylor, join with the Boy Scouts of America, in recognizing the achievements of the following Cub Scouts of Taylor Pack 44 who have earned the Arrow of Light Award:
David Williams, III
And are proud to declare that March 13, 2013 is their day of honor in the Borough of Taylor, Pennsylvania.
DULY PROCLAIMED AND ADOPTED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, in lawful session duly assembled.
BOROUGH OF TAYLOR, PENNSYLVANIA
Congratulations to Officer Stephen Derenick Jr.
Taylor Police officer Stephen Derenick Jr was honored at the Riverside School Board meeting Monday, March 11, 2013
Officer Derenick received a plaque for his role in assessing security in the district.
Officer Derenick volunteered his time to do a complete assessment of the school, from the rooftops to the bushes.
Taylor Borough Council would like to remind all Taylor residents that, when placing cardboard outside for pick up. We ask residents to breakdown and bundle up your cardboard when leaving it at the curb for pick up.
Taylor Borough DPW also has a space provide for drop off of cardboard at its DPW facility. All items can be dropped off during normal business hours Monday- Friday 8am – 3pm. If you should have any questions please call the DPW office at (570) 562-1413
Splashing into Something New
What started out as a simple “what if” as one Taylor resident watched her three small grandchildren splashing about on hot summer day, has turned into something much bigger for the borough of Taylor.
With a $275,000 estimated total cost and the dedication of around 14 people, the Taylor Borough Splash Park Committee is off and running, hoping to earn enough funds to cover the costs it needs to be operational by 2017.
The splash park will be built at Derenick Park off of Union Street and will feature several water-based activities for children from throughout the Triboro-area, not just those living in Taylor.
“The closest splash park is in the Abington area and with our central location it makes sense and is a good opportunity to bring people into our community,” said Taylor Borough’s Recreation Director Chuck McKeel. “This is something for those who don’t play sports to do.”
The idea for a splash park in Taylor was the brainchild of Peg and Buddy Derenick.
“They came to the recreation committee and shared their ideas,” McKeel said.
“It takes a lot of work and I knew this was something that I couldn’t do myself,” said Peg Derenick. “My husband and I have three grandchildren and we take them to other splash parks.”
“He spent 20 years of his life building that field in the memory of his dad,” she said. “We’ve been working fast and furious because he’s been feeling better after having been ill. And now we have a committee together and the things that can happen because of this park are limitless and people are seeing this. It’s not just limited to Taylor children, it’s for the whole area. It’s a win-win situation for Taylor Borough and the whole area.”
Derenick said that enthusiasm is growing and that everyone who learns about the splash park wants to help generate funds for it.
“Even if we fall short of raising what we need for the matching grant, I am confident we will be able to still see this splash park built at Derenick Park,” she said. “I am very confident this is going to happen.
“It’s not going to be that huge, but it will be a place where children will be able to go and play and cool off in the hot summer months,” McKeel said.
He explained that maintenance and operational costs are anticipated to be minimal for the park once it is operational. For now, the focus is on generating the funds to get the project started.
“Right now, the committee is conducting a daily number fundraiser for the month of March,” he explained. “Tickets are available for $5 and are good for the entire month.”
Those interested in purchasing tickets may contact 562-3680 or committee members Paul Brennan, McKeel, Shawn Murphy, Toni and Jody Oustrich, Mike Morgan, Mike Foy, Tom or Ali Geroulo, Joe Iacovazzi, John Tigue or Terri Molinaro.
Additionally, the group has teamed up with the Easter Bunny, who will be hopping by the Taylor Hose Co. No. 1 on Union Street from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, March 16.
Tickets for the breakfast are $7 for adults and $5 for children and on sale now and available by calling 562-3680. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
The splash park committee meets monthly, with the next meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at Riverside Elementary West, 308 Davis Street, Taylor
PennDOT Employee Brings Oak Tree to Life
by Stacy Lange TAYLOR — Art and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation are two things that aren’t typically grouped together. But, in this story they are, after a PennDOT employee working on a hiking trail had an idea.
“Silence. It’s amazing you’re between two big towns and you can’t hear anything,” said Austin.
The spot is along an unfinished part of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Trail, where Austin’s been working his weekday job with PennDOT. But, on the weekends he goes from contractor to artist, working on his biggest project yet. A 15-foot sculpture of a Native American chief that’s starting to take shape.
Austin is a veteran carver, but has never tackled a tree quite this big and admits he didn’t really know what he was getting in to.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get in to once you get inside the tree. You don’t know what’s inside of it, so it determines what it wants to be as you’re moving along,” said Austin.
The chief’s features came out as Austin carved, he didn’t have a specific plan, but it’s how he stumbled upon this project that’s the real story.
Austin first came down to the trail in Taylor to make a clearing to build the trail, but he and his supervisor decided to meander the trail instead to save some of the trees.
The tree he’s carving was supposed to be cut down because it was damaged.
At that point, three months ago, Austin said turning it into a sculpture was strictly an idea. He didn’t think his bosses at PennDOT would go for it, but they did.
“My stomach squeezed up a little bit. It’s a great thing, it really is, to be given the opportunity to express yourself,” added Austin.
“The fact that Tom would come out here on his own time, after work and on weekends, and volunteer to do something like this, I think it’s just incredible, and it speaks so highly of him,” said James May, PennDOT spokesperson.
Austin said if he tried to purchase this much wood on his own it would cost him thousands. So, this is a good way to re-purpose a tree that otherwise would be a stump.
He expects to have the sculpture done by the time the trail opens next year. Until then there’s no telling how long this will take.
“Until I’m satisfied,” he said.
Memorial garden in Taylor cemetery pays tribute to unknown
As they walked around the Taylor Memorial Cemetery, two high school seniors noticed some of the headstones had been broken.
Others were so worn they were no longer legible.
With the mindset that none of the departed should be forgotten, David Torrisi and John Segilia, both 17, created their senior project, a Memorial Garden of the Unknown. The garden, which includes pieces of the stones that can no longer be linked to individuals, was unveiled at a dedication ceremony Sunday to coincide with Veterans Day.
“We wanted it to be on a special day like this,” David said, noting some of the unknown graves belonged to veterans.
“It’s so people don’t forget that their families are here and veterans are here,” John added.
A group of residents gathered Sunday morning, where project adviser Shawn Murphy, a teacher at Riverside and David’s uncle, noted that it was a perfect day. He was proud of the work the students had done to memorialize those buried in the cemetery.
“They weren’t forgotten after all,” he said of residents and veterans whose grave markings had faded.
“Their names might not be in a book or on a statue,” borough council President Kenny Mickavicz said of the soldiers. “But they gave a sacrifice in life.”
Lifelong Taylor resident Eugene Gallagher, 33, “dropped everything” he was working on in his yard when he found out about the dedication.
“I grew up on this street,” he said, explaining that 15 years ago, the cemetery was all weeds
He attributed much of the renewal to Mr. Murphy, who spearheads a group of volunteers who work to maintain the property. He said he was also pleased to see local youth taking ownership.
“You’ve got to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going,” he said of the significance. “It’s great to see our youngsters giving back to the community.”
Committed to Community
My wife and I joined everything,” Taylor resident Harold Miller said of his more than 60 years of volunteerism.
The 93-year-old isn’t your typical retiree. He’s still very much involved and active with several groups and organizations, including the Taylor Hose Co. No. 1, where his interest in fire fighting was sparked in his teens.
“It’s still a great company and has a lot of members,” he said.
While Miller hasn’t suited up and responded on scene to a fire since his retirement many years ago – having worked 40 years as a buyer for Acme Markets – he is still attending meetings and serves as treasurer of the Taylor Hose Co. No. 1’s Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association.
“The time he has served the borough as a volunteer with the hose company speaks volumes to the type of person he is,” said Joe Crosby, the company’s president. “He’s also a trustee. And he does run a tight ship. He’s a perfectionist.”
Crosby continued, “He’s been instrumental for the company and we continue to look to him for leadership,.”
Miller’s seen many changes with the fire company, including construction of its Union Street location in the early 1970s.
“It had been on Main Street,” he said. “We wanted to build a good one, a great new fire house.”
“He’s held almost every position in the company and is responsible for getting the company where it is today,” Crosby said. “They had a lot of foresight back then.”
“I also believe he was instrumental in helping to attain a new ladder truck in the ’70s,” he added. “They paid the mortgage and the new truck off in six years. That was quite an accomplishment.”
Miller, a former army sergeant and World War II veteran, said he enjoys volunteering and has no plans to stop.
“I figured I’d be sitting here doing nothing,” he stated. “I’ll keep working at these things as long as I can. I’d rather be doing something.”
His dedication hasn’t gone without notice, as Miller was recently honored by the fire company and Acacia Lodge No. 579 for his six decades of service.
Additionally, Governor Tom Corbett recently honored Miller’s voting record, presenting an award for voting consecutively in every November election for the last 50 years.
Miller also attends St. Paul’s Church and serves as president of the Swiss Lodge in Taylor.
Lackawanna River Heritage Trail gains ground from Scranton to Taylor
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail will gain two miles in Scranton and Taylor.
This new stretch of trail along a former rail bed between West Elm Street in Scranton and Depot Street in Taylor will complete a contiguous 8-mile section of the trail from Dickson City to Taylor, officials said Monday at a groundbreaking for the project by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area.
“This is our prime, most-visible project,” said Natalie Gelb, Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority’s executive director. “This trail has taken on a life of its own. We’re so proud to connect the communities of Scranton and Taylor.”
The new section, a former Central New Jersey railroad line, will be the first trail in the region to have dual surfaces, including a 10-foot-wide asphalt paved path and a 6-foot-wide packed-stone-dust path, she said. The pavement would be suitable for bicycles, strollers and wheelchairs, while the stone dust would be more comfortable for walkers, runners and dog walkers.
Several officials, including Richard Allan, secretary of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, state Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, Lackawanna County Commissioners Jim Wansacz, Patrick O’Malley and Corey O’Brien, and Lackawanna Valley Heritage Authority board Chairman Robert Savakinus, also spoke about the partnership forged by the various levels of government to support the trail extension. They believe it would promote not only recreation, but also economic development. Funds for the project’s $2 million cost has come from the National Park Service, DCNR, state Department of Transportation, the county’s Growing Greener Bond Fund and state gambling funds to Taylor, according to LHVA.
The new link also is expected to be used by commuters, either on two wheels or two feet, said trail manager Stephanie Milewski. That’s what happened with the “river walk” section of trail that opened a few years ago between West Elm Street and Market Street – it became an artery linking South Side with Green Ridge, she said.
“When we opened up the river walk, we were surprised by how many people commute on it, and it takes just a couple of minutes to come from Taylor to Scranton on a bicycle,” Ms. Milewski said.
Ms. Gelb said the trail also will have interpretive signs that would describe key historical facets of the area.
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is part of a trail system that forms a 70-mile path from New York’s border to the Susquehanna River in Pittston. Eighteen miles of trail are open to the public, and more than 11 miles of new trail are expected to be built within the next year. A 3-mile section between Archbald and Jermyn is expected to have a groundbreaking in the coming months, Ms. Gelb said.
“This really does represent what we’re all about, connecting the people, connecting the communities,” Ms. Gelb said
Retired Taylor veteran honored with medals after 30 years
By Rebekah Brown
TAYLOR- For nearly 40 years, through eight presidents and three wars, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Bracey served his country.
After 37 years and 11 months in the U.S. Air Force and more than 30 years of retirement, Lt. Col. Bracey, 90, was honored with five medals for his service at a borough council meeting Wednesday.
“It’s a surprise,” he said of the awards. “I’ve had the ribbons on my coat for a while, but I never expected the medals.”
Lt. Col. Bracey flew B-24 Liberator planes in 25 bombing missions during his time in the Air Force, including a mission on D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Western Europe in World War II.
“It was just the thing to do,” he said of his decision to enlist. “I went all over. Being home is the best thing.”
He served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and when asked if he would consider serving in Desert Storm after retirement, he said there was only one answer.
“You’re Air Force all the way,” he said, although he did not end up serving. “There was no question at all.”
Mayor Richard Bowen opened the meeting with a proclamation, honoring his “service to the ideals of the United States Air Force and his sacrifice for our community.”
Additionally, Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O’Malley read a proclamation, declaring April 11, 2012, Lt. Col. Thomas S. Bracey Day in Lackawanna County.
“This is a man who represents our country beyond life and beyond all our imaginations,” he said. “During those 25 missions they were shot at repeatedly. They were in enemy territory.”
Lt. Col. Bracey’s honor was shared by his wife of 64 years, his children and several grandchildren Wednesday evening.
“That’s what makes our community special,” council President Kenneth F. Mickavicz said. “It’s because of citizens we have that make that commitment, not only to our community, but to our country.”
In other business, the borough adopted an ordinance to establish a “no-parking zone” on the west side of the 1100 block Claire Drive. The zone extends for 320 feet from Sibley Avenue. The no-parking zone was created because emergency vehicles were not able to pass safely when vehicles were parked on both sides of the street, Mr. Mickavicz.
The council also awarded Penn Earthworks a $139,462.50 contract for the Greenview West Prince Street storm sewer project.