City Butterfly

Congratulations are in order
It was no typical, hum-drum Monday night in the Electric City this week.
Instead, it was a night of fabulous celebration featuring a regular who’s who of northeastern Pennsylvania inside the beautiful Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College at the Chamber Gala. The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and MetroAction announced the winners of the 2012 SAGE Awards (Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence), and there were more than a few familiar faces in the crowd and winners’ circle.
Of course, Austin Burke, president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, Natalie O’Hara, president of MetroAction, and Paula Mackarey, chairwoman of the Chamber Board, were on hand for gala festivities. The evening marked the culmination of a tremendous amount of work for Chamber staff and board members. For those who may not be familiar with how the SAGE awards work, recipients are chosen by judging committees comprised of 42 volunteer judges. The only award that wasn’t determined in this fashion was the People’s Choice Award, which was selected through an online popular vote.
Among the winners who have been featured in the pages of electric city and diamond city were our friends from Sculpted Ice Works in Lakeville, who won top honors for Best Practices in Technology & Innovation and they also won Small Business of the Year. Their work has been featured at numerous community events in the area, including the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice and past First Night Scranton celebrations, just to name a few.
Another familiar group that left the theater smiling was the Greater Scranton Jaycees. The Jaycees earned the Hometown Star award for the Greater Scranton Jaycees Santa Parade. The win couldn’t come at a better time for the group that will celebrate the parade’s 20th anniversary on Saturday in downtown Scranton. This year’s steering committee for the parade includes Christopher Beeman, Susan Luchko, Robin Luchko, Tom Osborne, Tom Fritz, Amanda Clare, Elizabeth Shechner, Chris Falls, Mellody Swinick, Mike Galacher, Katie Oakley and Colleen Joyce.
Other stars of the night included: PPL Electric, Scranton (Best Practices in Community Involvement and People’s Choice Award); Pennstar Bank, Scranton (Best Practices in Customer Service); Tobyhanna Army Depot, Tobyhanna (Best Practices in Professional Development); Halibut Blue Advertising, Forty Fort (Best Practices in Marketing & Communications); Green Field Energy Solutions, Greenfield Township (Green Practices); Astro Apparel, Inc., Scranton (Healthy Workplace of the Year in Continuing Excellence); Paper Magic Group, a division of CSS Industries, Moosic (Healthy Workplace of the Year); Lavelle Strategy Group, Scranton (New & Emerging Business of the Year); Voluntary Action Center, Scranton (Non-Profit Organization of the Year); United Neighborhood Centers: Willow Apartments, Scranton (Pride & Progress: Exterior Renovations); The Palumbo Group: Nazareth Student Center, Marywood University, Scranton (Pride & Progress: Interior Renovations); Lackawanna County: Moosic Boundless Playground, Moosic (Pride & Progress: Landscape & Site Design); Quandel Construction Group and The University of Scranton: Loyola Science Center, Scranton (Pride & Progress: New Construction and Project of the Year); Maggie Calpin, Nibbles & Bits, Scranton (Solo-Preneur of the Year); Dr. Ann Pipinski, Johnson College, Scranton (Woman of Excellence); and Katrina Foster, KKPR Marketing & Public Relations, Milford (Young Entrepreneur of the Year).

— cb

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SOCIAL NOTES & NEWS FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN THE 570

Color us blue
Did you hear that?
On Wednesday morning, there was a collective sigh of relief in The 570 and across the country that Election Day 2012 came and went.
Oh sure, we were as excited as the next butterfly about a nail-bitingly close Presidential race and we stayed up way past our bedtime to root for our candidates, but the political ads and continuous campaign phone calls eventually wore on the nerves of more than a few us. Just look at the Facebook rage that started bubbling to the surface on Tuesday … yikes!
On the bright side of things, the race for the Presidency between Barack Obama (D) and Mitt Romney (R) inspired visits by some famous politicians and celebrities to the Electric City on Monday, including the former President Bill Clinton, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and actor Jon Voight. Of course, their location was the only thing this powerful group had in common.
Mr. Clinton spoke in support of President Obama to a crowd of more than 2,000 people in Scranton High School. It was quite a scene. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Voight were in Scranton to rally Republican support of Mr. Romney. (We wonder …. Did anyone notice if Mr. Voight arrived in a Chrysler Le Baron?). Anyway, that’s not really relevant.
What is relevant is that Lackawanna County found itself doused in shades of blue along the majority of the commonwealth, leading to victory for President Obama.
Another democrat who made headlines this week was Kathleen Kane, the first woman and the first democrat, to be elected to the office of Attorney General. Kane grew up in Scranton and now resides in Waverly. She has vowed to stay true to her roots as a prosecutor as she takes on this new role. We can’t wait to see her tap into her inner pit bull as she takes on the bad guys. Show them how it’s done, NEPA-style, Ms. Kane!
And while the election was certainly the biggest story this week, a couple of noteworthy changes in the area also caught our attention. Marvelous Muggs Restaurant and Pub on Montage Mountain is no more, and the doors are closed at one of our favorite pubs in downtown Scranton, the Banshee.
Marvelous Muggs was a staple on the mountain for the past 18 years. It closed its doors on Halloween night. If you didn’t get the chance to have one last beer and a look at all those “marvelous” muggs along the wall, you missed it.
And while there is no official statement on the Banshee’s website, the Penn Ave. pub hasn’t been open for a least a week. Rumors are flying that it is closed, and we hope that is indeed just a rumor. Imagine Parade Day without the Banshee? Oh, we shudder to think of it.
Lest we become overly emotional, let’s end on a positive note. You can’t possibly be sad when you think about Kock 107, right? Those fantastic, silly rockers will make their return to the Electric City on Friday at 9 p.m. at, you guessed it, The Bog on Adams Ave. They’ve reportedly “just seen 35 percent of the world” and they’re returning to Scranton for some “Steamtown electric lovin!” Oh yeah. We’ll be there. Our fishnets are ready. Pat Finnerty, are yours?
See you at the party!

— cb

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No rest for the wicked
Although Mother Nature’s wrath left us feeling drippy — and maybe even a bit droopy — this week, we must say, fluttering through events in The 570 this month was truly spirited. It was great to see the success of continuing events, such as the second annual Bonfire at the historic Iron Furnaces (did you see how long the line of people waiting to get into the festival was this year?!) as well as fantastic turnout for the inaugural The Wine, The Witches and The Wardrobe at Posh at the Scranton Club. Nearly 200 ladies celebrated the season, while supporting Dress for Success Lackawanna, donning their favorite LBDs.
Over the weekend, we can’t tell you how many saucy pirates, blonde goblins and zombified couples we saw club hopping. There’s nothing better than toasting a few old friends and discovering new ones, too, all incognito.
With Halloween 2012 now behind us, we’re looking forward to kicking off our weekend by rubbing elbows with everyone who’s anyone in The 570 at local hotspots — starting at the Platform Lounge at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station on Thursday night. We’ll be front and center for the return of the Antique Pop Duo Victor & Penny at 7 p.m. The duo (Jeff Freling of the Chicago Blue Man Group and Erin McGrane of the cabaret group Alacartoona and George Clooney’s Up In The Air) will bring a new twist to music of the early 20th century with ukulele and guitar. If you’d like a preview of their fabulous sound, check out their website at www.victorandpenny.com.
Just don’t hang out with Victor and Penny too terribly late on Thursday because with the start of a new month is another round of shows at First Friday in downtown Scranton. Among the run and interesting stops along the way, be sure to check out Dimensions and Spirit, an exhibit featuring the work of artist Janina Peters, with musical duo Jane Demijohn at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple between 6 and 9 p.m.
Peters has been painting for as long as she can remember. Receiving her bachelor’s degrees in painting and psychology from Elmira College and her masters degree in art therapy from Marywood University, she interned with the Child Advocacy Center. She recently completed a slate of works to submit for a grant to open an art studio there.
You’ll find Peters’ work along with musical duo Sarah Yzkanin (Dealer in Wares) and Matt Schleck (The Mercury Display, Stiffed, The Lottery) on the fourth floor of the SCC.  Be sure to take in the art as you enjoy Jane Demijohn’s “spooky folk.”
In between gallivanting this weekend, you’ll also want to check out the trailers for The Messenger, an award-winning drama produced by Jonah Productions that will premiere locally at the Phoenix Performing Arts Centre in Duryea on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. Set in real time, The Messenger is a drama chronicling the last hour of a death row inmate. You’ll follow a death row inmate through his final 60 minutes as a priest desperately tries to get the man’s final confession.
Sounds intriguing!
Names you should know associated with this project are Dante Giammarco, who stars as Father Keating and also serves as the play’s director. In addition, J Domenic DeMuro stars as the inmate and James Caceres stars as the guard. Film trailers for The Messenger were directed by J Domenic DeMuro with assistant director Jer Tobin and Woodavic Studios. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/events/125490230935057/.

— cb

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On tour
Well, they got us.
Just when we thought our favorite historical couple, The Zimmers (portrayed by Nelson Wood and Julie Esty), were absent from this year’s Dunmore Cemetery Tour, we heard squabbling nearby. She was shouting at him about drinking too much; he used the “cough syrup” defense.
And the crowd of about 500 people standing in front of the Zimmer Pyramid went wild.
Of course, we’re talking about our Sunday afternoon with the Dearly Departed Players. This year’s production drew more than 1,000 people in two Sundays — a wonderful turnout for a historical, witty and timely show. The production skillfully wove true historical tales with poetic embellishments that kept us on our toes for the duration of the show. It was also fun to see how the creators worked every part of the City of Scranton, as well as other portions of Lackawanna County, into the script. From the city’s oldest section, Providence, to Moosic, Dunmore, Carbondale and beyond, a diverse number of towns were represented. Along the way, we met physicians and pharmacists, and even a baseball player, who shared tales from the past. Kudos to the show’s creator, Julie Esty and her talented cast from the past: Karl Barbee, Wendy Belaski, Joanne Bogdanovicz, Megan Esty, Joan Glowinski, Kelly Kirchner, Taryn Loney, Nancy McDonald, Christine Petrini McGeachie, Colonel Jim Patterson (retired) United States Army, Jennifer Ochman, S. Robert Powell, “Caleb” Matthew C. Williams, Christopher Wood and Nelson Wood.
Our historical hats off to the fabulous dancers from Scranton Civic Ballet who turned a patch of grass in the cemetery into a lovely outdoor stage. We don’t know how they were able to plié on grass, but they made it look effortless. Under the direction of Helen Gaus, dancers Ali Basalyga, Jackie Dende, Jilian Doran, Stephanie Haefle, Catherine Johnson and Madalyn Marx put on a show to remember.
If you enjoyed the tour and would like to see more of the Dearly Departed Players, look for them in costume at upcoming First Friday celebrations. We’re sworn to secrecy (for now!) as to what they’ll be doing, but rest assured, it will be a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun, there are a few upcoming events that anyone who’s anyone in the area will be attending. Among them is the 20 Minutes and a Beer series on Thursday, Oct. 25 at Backyard Ale House. Presented by the American Advertising Federation of Northeast Pennsylvania (AAF), you’ll have a chance to schmooze with social media gurus from Kuhcoon. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.. Tickets are $8 in advance in $10 at the door. The first beer is on the house, and while you’re there, be sure to register for your chance to see Justin Williams at Cove Haven Resort. For tickets and more information, visit aafnepa.org.
Additional dates to remember come from our friends at the Scranton Social Sports Club. You may recall we introduced the club’s founders, Christian Rinaldi and Eric Bartels, in Up Close & Personal a few weeks ago. The club is doing very well, and here’s a few dates you’ll want to make note of: the Scranton Dodgeball League starts Nov. 1 and the new Wilkes-Barre league kicks off on Oct. 29. Both are 8-week leagues. If kickball is your sport of choice, sign up for the Kickball Fall Classic on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. at the South Side Complex in Scranton. It’s $15 per person to join in the fun, and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday. For more information, visit www.scrantonsocialsportsclub.com.
— cb

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Magic in The 570
There was a lot of magic in the air this weekend as we fluttered our way through Lackawanna County.
Our journey begins in the Electric City with First Friday, where we encountered a few friends in the Halloween spirit on the corner of Spruce and N. Washington — those crazy Jaycees. Though most well-known for  hosting the Greater Scranton Jaycees’ Annual Santa Parade in downtown Scranton, this group traded their elf costumes for witch hats to promote Mayhem at the Masonic, their annual Halloween bash at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple on Oct. 26. There will be music, dancing, cocktails — all incognito if you wish — from 7 to 10 p.m., and you can be sure we’ll be floating through the ballroom for a night of fun. If you’d like to join in the fun, break out your best Michael Jackson costume and bust a move from Thriller. If you’re a member, tickets are $30. Tickets are $35 for non-members. For more information, visit www.scrantonjaycees.org or call 878-9079.
After schmoozing with the Jaycees, we headed out to peruse the art on display, including the Connell Building, AFA Gallery and GreenBeing, just to name a few. In our travels, we were delighted to see JoAnn and Marc Pane enjoying the festivities on Spruce St., and we saw more than a few familiar faces from the local arts scene when we popped into GreenBeing to check out some handmade, and homemade, goodies. The work of electric city’s own Alicia Grega was featured in this First Friday hotspot, and there were plenty of local peeps who stopped by to say hello. Among those we saw were Cristin Powers and her mom, Patricia Powers (if you sampled one of the brownies while you were there, thank Patricia Powers the next time you see her!); Jacob Cole, from Rogue Chimp; ScrantonMade.com cohort Chrissy Manuel of Shoplift! Vintage and Handmade with local musician Nathaniel Kane (Das Black Milk); Maura Cummings of Eden- a Vegan Café, and First Friday guest face painter “Jennyz Journalz”; actor/filmmaker Jer Tobin; Sara Scutt of Nevermore Vintage; Elizabeth Davis; dancer/designer Laura Ancherani; local musician Michael Evancavich (Kids on Bikes), artist John Bert, theater artist Sarah Stachura Regan and her visual artist sister, Michaelene Rose Stachura. Playwright and poet Kait Burrier also stopped by before her reading at Mission Yoga. The studio sponsored “An Evening of the Senses” event to benefit The Vintage Theater. Of course, we saw First Friday Executive Director Jeff Boris about town too, snapping photos and greeting guests along the way.
After a fun night out in the Electric City, the rest of the weekend would be devoted to a trip to Roba’s Family Farm in Dalton and supporting al the runners in the Steamtown Marathon.
You see, on Saturday, we smelled the sweet scent of homemade cider apple doughnuts all the way in Scranton and just followed our noses to the farm in Dalton. We did a little pumpkin picking, drank hot chocolate, talked to the llamas and goats — it was all good. This year’s crop of pumpkins is especially fetching. If you haven’t selected yours yet, what are you waiting for?!
And while we didn’t run in any marathons on Sunday, (much like Jerry Seinfeld, we choose not to run), we were cheering on the thousands of runners who took part in the Steamtown Marathon. They ran from Forest City Regional High School to Scranton — amazing. Congratulations to three-time men’s champion winner, Matt Byrne, of Scranton Running Company. Other winners who placed included Jeff McCabe, of Exeter, who was the runner-up; and Chris Heisey, of Philadelphia, who placed third.
As for the ladies, Heidi Peoples once again was the women’s champion. This was her third Steamtown Marathon win. Samantha Snead, of Moscow, placed second, and Caitlin Gaughan placed third.
- cb

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Much to celebrate
As we traveled throughout the region last week, we were reminded that there is much to celebrate in northeastern Pennsylvania. There’s no better place to begin our festive journey than at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre where we fluttered into the Fall for the Osterhout Gala on Friday night.
After a busy week at the office, we joined friends of the library for a cocktail (or two) in the lovely, historic building on South Franklin. Among those we saw dining and dancing the night away were Joe Amato, Pat Finan, Janet Flack, Kathy Dunsmuir, Molly Hoegen, Robert and Ginny Tambur Marion Pollock, Judy Ellis, Dr. Susan Sordoni, Linda Gramlich, Lisa Borchert, Gus Genetti, Susan Yelen and Richard Hazzouri, just to name a few. Library staff members Joanne Austin, Chris Kelly, Jocelyn Chocallo, Rick Miller, Elaine Rash, Elaine Stefanko, Cathy Yavorchak, Alissa Lukasavage and Kristen Lynch were also on hand for the festivities, and of course, no gala would be complete without media personalities we all know and love — Mindi Ramsey and Tom Williams from WNEP TV’s morning show.
Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs’ Chief Executive Bobby Soper also attended, which brings us to our next piece of news: this will be the last autumn in northeastern Pennsylvania for Soper. We learned earlier this week that he’s leaving the area for the same position with Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. Soper has been part of our community for the past six years and he will surely be missed. Best wishes to Soper as he heads north later this month and to Mike Bean, assistant general manager at the casino in Luzerne County, who will replace Soper.
Our friends in public broadcasting are also making headlines this week. WVIA, based in Pittston, just brought home an Emmy award for Remembering The Scranton Sirens an original film about a band from the Electric City’s past, The Scranton Sirens. Members of WVIA management and staff who produced the film attended the 30th Annual Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in Philadelphia on Sept. 22, accepting the award on behalf of the Sirens crew. They included Andrew Sordoni, executive producer, Bill Kelly, president/executive producer, Tom Currá, executive producer, Greg Matkosky, creative director of documentary films, Kris Hendrickson, editor, Kathryn Davies, production administrator and Ben Payavis II, production manager.
In addition to wining the Outstanding Documentary category, WVIA Public Media also took home an Emmy in the Outstanding Human Interest Program/Special for its production of the 2011 Little League Challenger Exhibition Game.
On another note, when we flew into Scranton earlier this week, we couldn’t help but notice the doors to the Boom Boom Beach Club (formerly Scranton’s Hardware Bar) were closed. After a bit of investigating, we learned that the closure is just temporary. The bar is participating in a reality show that gives establishments $50,000 to reinvent their bar in five days. The club will reopen its doors on Friday night with a new concept and a new name. We can’t wait to see the big reveal!
Guys, if you want to look your best for the babes at the (former) Boom Boom Club, you might want to stop by a new barbershop in downtown Scranton – and be sure to arrive thirsty. That’s right, thirsty. Guy’s Barber Shop opened at 626 Spruce St. on Monday. The Head Guy is Damian Biancarelli, who will not only give you a great new do, but he’ll hook you up with a cold beer upon check-in. Check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GuysBarber.

— cb

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