On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

So long February, hello March. Our shortest month ends today. All in all it has been a fairly average winter, not too warm and not too cold. Last Wednesday’s record breaking 72 degree day had us yearning for spring, golf and the new growing season. I won’t plant my garden for three months, but I am already thinking about the preparation and planning.

The Mountaintop Garden Club will hold its first meeting of the year on Tuesday March 13, 6:30 p. m. New members are always welcome. Meetings are held at the Rice Township Municipal Building.

Spring Baseball

Final player registrations have been held for Mountaintop Area Little League and American Legion Post 781 baseball and softball teams. The Grapefruit League pros will embark on their spring training in Florida. The Cactus League teams will meet up in Arizona. Teams from the US and Canada will ease into their new season training and the pitches will fly in the home cities in April.

Olympic Curling

Charlie and I watched many an hour of the Olympic Games in February. We enjoyed skating, skiing, ice dancing, and bobsled—so many varied events for men and women. The men’s Curling Team earned their first Gold Medal ever winning five consecutive games taking the gold from number one ranked Sweden. A story of improbable excellence, the US Curling team first competed in the Olympics 20 years ago. They came in last place in 2010 and next-to-last place in 2014. The victory was ever so sweet for the American fans worldwide.

Athletics is the fun we have as children playing outside or on recreational teams. Athletics is a complement to our formative school years as we learn to read, write and think through problems. Athletics in some form keeps us engaged in watching, participating and enjoying it throughout life. For me now a daily walk gives me energy and stamina. We can all be athletes no matter what our ages. It’s all a matter of degree.

Rice Ice Lake Dam Repair

It looks like the Rice Township ice dam repair project will begin in March. The township got a $60,000 grant to cover extra expenses totaling $180,000. Originally in the summer of 2015 a leaky pipe in the 100-year-old dam was found to be causing the lake to drain. What originally was a plan to fix the pipe became a mandated DEP directive to repair the dam for $105,000 to $120,000. The PA Fish and Boat commission took interest in the project with concern about the endangered species Northern Cricket Frog’s possible presence in the area. More money was needed to proceed.

Rice Township managed to get grants from Local Share Gaming for the repairs for $119,000. The repair bill including compliance with the theoretical Cricket Frog presence escalated the project cost to $180,000. The township authorized taking out a loan for the project, while still looking for another grant. The additional grant money was awarded last month.

Grant money is not “free”. The gaming grants are taxes paid by Mohegan Sun Casino in Luzerne County. Rep. Gerald Mullery’s office secured yet another “state grant” to complete the funding.

I have written about this Ice Lake dam repair in the past. The Mountaintop Eagle’s editorial staff has been reporting on this for nearly 3 years. $180,000 to finance a repair that resulted from overregulation at taxpayer expense is ridiculous. The man made lake level varies by season. Nature has taken care of it for 100 years. It did not need a costly tax financed repair. And we still don’t know if the theoretical Cricket Frog even exists at or near the Ice Lakes in Rice Township.

Go Lady Comets! Congratulations to the Crestwood

Girls Basketball Team qualifying for the District tournament with a strong 60-28 victory Saturday February 24 over Wyoming Valley West in the District 2 Class 5A semifinals. Julia Makowski and Sara Hopkins lead Crestwood’s strong scoring offense all season long and the defense overwhelmed the losers by more than 30 points.

The win sends the Lady Comets to their first District Championship game since 1984. Crestwood will play Abington Heights at 6 p. m. at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday March 3 for the District 2 AAAAA Championship. Both teams have 17-7 records. Crestwood is also guaranteed a berth in the state playoffs, the first since 1984.