When I started working on this column, my goal was to highlight the joys and sorrows of 2018. I wanted to look back and remember both the highs and lows of the past 12 months in the Abingtons. But before I started skimming through the year’s issues of the Abington Suburban, I wasn’t sure how much I would find. After all, nothing ever happens in our small-town community, right?
I found so much, I couldn’t fit it all in one edition, even after tight editing.
So, I arrived at a compromise. Below is part one, taking us through the first half of the year, January through June. Check back here next week for highlights from July through December. January
The year started off on a sorrowful note for Abington-area residents who mourned the sudden death of Clarks Green Mayor William Thorburn, or “Mayor Bill,” as he was known to many.
“Thorburn, 73, died Friday night at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton after falling ill at his home earlier in the evening,” read an article published in the Suburban Thursday, Feb. 1. “Thorburn, who had been the borough’s mayor for 20 years and served as a councilman for eight years before that, had just been re-elected to a sixth term in November.”
On a happier note, the Comets celebrated a milestone win for Coach Ken Bianchi.
“January 19, 2018, will not be forgotten any time soon because that was the day Bianchi registered the 758th win of his high school boys basketball coaching career — surpassing Julius Prezelski, the longtime coach at Forest City — after beginning his career with short stints at Waymart, Milford and Mountain View,” read a piece published in the Suburban on Jan. 25.February
February was all about ice – from the successful 14th annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice, themed “The Wizarding World of Ice,” to the performances of Clarks Summit native Adam Rippon, a U.S. figure skater in the Winter Games.
In an article published in the Feb. 15 Suburban under the headline “Rippon pushes past bullying, self doubt,” the Olympian opened up about his insecurities and the experience of coming out publicly as gay in late 2015:
“For a really long time I’d look in the mirror and I wouldn’t know who was looking back at me and I wouldn’t really like who was looking back at me, and it took me a really long time to own who I was,” he said. “And when I was able to own who I was, that’s when I had my most success.”March
“Mayor once again” was the front page headline for the March 8 Suburban.
“Some people are just cut out to be mayor,” the story read. “Patty Lawler is one of those people.”
The former Clarks Summit mayor stepped into the familiar role in Clarks Green after Thorburn’s death.
Lawler, who considered Thorburn a friend, described him in the story as “warm and caring.”
“I have Mayor Thorburn’s keys to the borough building,” she said. “When I hold them or look at them, I will remember him. I have big shoes to fill. I intend to be a people person. My office at the borough building will be open for anyone who wants to stop by to visit and talk with me.”
The Abington community celebrated with the boys basketball team again when it captured the PIAA Class 5A title on March 27 in Hershey.
“Any other game, it might have been George Tinsley’s moment to celebrate alone,” read an article about the game and the star player in the March 29 edition of the Suburban.
“But on the night when Tinsley erupted for 29 points, including the 1,000th of his career, Abington Heights had something far bigger to relish — the school’s first state basketball championship.”
Joy was theme of the Suburban’s front page on April 19, with a story about local artist Sharon McArdle and her painting workshops at the Abington Community Library.
“Painting brings joy to people,” McArdle said in the story. “When they start painting at the workshop, they say they can’t do this. When they finish the project, they say ‘I can’t believe I did this.’ I watch people’s faces when they complete the project. Art brings me joy and I like to see their joy.”May
Clarks Summit barber Ralph Marasco retired after 62 years in the profession.
“He started his career as a barber on May 1, 1956, in Clarks Green, where NBT Bank is now,” read an article in the May 3 edition of the Suburban. “The business moved one other time before moving to its present location, 413 S. State St. in Clarks Summit. He has cut the hair of four generations of families. He retired on May 1, at the age of 89.”
Some other highlights of the month included Clarks Green Borough’s inaugural recycling festival, the planting of the Waverly Community Garden, the Abington Community Garden and the Clarks Summit Memorial Day Parade.
Two Waverly Community House volunteers, Deena Richmond and Alexandra “Peanie” Johnson received surprise honors. Richmond received recognition as the organization’s Volunteer of the Year and Johnson was awarded the Gertrude Coursen Children’s Award for her role as director of Comm Camp programs.
Abington Heights High School Class of 2018’s graduation was top news the week of June 28. Katherine E. Dammer was valedictorian and Mateen Kasim was salutatorian.
To be continued next week...
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For a year in review photo gallery, visit abingtonsuburban.com.