Year in review: Top 10 news stories

First Posted: 12/22/2014

It seems like only yesterday 2014 was beginning, and now we have come to the conclusion of another terrific year for the Back Mountain Area.

Here is a recap of some of the year’s biggest stories that had impact on the Back Mountain.

FIRST TOP STORY: Back in January, state legislators passed a law allowing organizations to conduct small games of chance and one Back Mountain nonprofit group immediately jumped on the chance to planning its annual Night at the Races for later in the year.

The Dallas Lions Club had been holding Night at the Races annually for 25 years and, after a one year hiatus, was ready to restart the tradition.

SECOND TOP STORY: State Senator Lisa Baker joined with her fellow state senators to take a huge step in terms of communcating with her constituents.

The senators held a town hall meeting via teleconference from Harrisburg on Jan. 8 so any citizen in their districts unable to attend the meeting could sit and listen to what was being said while, at the same time, voice their opinions from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

THIRD TOP STORY: It was a long way to go but the Dallas Middle School cheerleaders made the trip worthwhile as they came home from the National Cheer Association National Championship in Dallas, Texas with several awards, including finishing seventh overall in the time-out cheer and eighth in the traditional routine.

FOURTH TOP STORY: The Back Mountain Regional Fire & EMS used a $1 million grant it received for being named best in the state of 2013 to help build a training facility at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds.

The facility includes training for citizens within the community as well as internal training for EMS members.

FIFTH TOP STORY: The Dallas Post began its 125th year of publication back in March. In a world of shrinking community news resources, the anniversary is an impressive feat today.

The Dallas Post started as a two-page broadsheet newspaper in 1889 on Main Stree in Dallas by A.A. Holbrook.

SIXTH TOP STORY: Officials from the Kunkle Fire Department, Dallas Township and the Back Mountain Regional EMS struggled to secure a cupola attatched to the Old Dallas High School building, hoping to save it.

As crews tore down the Dallas Township School that stood since 1926 and served as a high school, middle school and elementary school, supervisors found a way to save the building’s cupola and find a permanent site for it to use a memorial for the Old Dallas Township High School building.

SEVENTH TOP STORY: Hundreds of people gathered at the Lake-Lehman Senior High School gym to honor and remember the man for whom the gym is named – John “Jay” Zaleskas, who passed away on June 2 at the Greenbriar Nursing Home at the age of 85.

Zaleskas worked in the Lake-Lehman School Distrcit from 1953 to his retirement in 1990 as principal, acting superintendent, teacher and coach – a 37-year career that earned him accolades, respect and friendship.

EIGHTH TOP STORY: Olivia Connors has spent the last three years celebrating the day of her birth giving back to the community, and this year the 13-year-old geared up for her largest fundraiser yet.

Connors, of Shavertown, planned a golf tournament to benefit family friend Tracy Phillips, a single mom from Luzerne trying to make ends meet while undergoing treatments for stage III breast cancer.

NINTH TOP STORY: You can take him out of Clarks Green, but you can’t take Clarks Green out of him.

Pastor Dan Miller made his return to Clarks Green Assembly of God in Lackawanna County after serving more than 20 years as pastor of the Back Mountain Harvest Assembly in Trucksville.

Miller, 55, always believed that God had a plan for him throughout his whole life, but it wasn’t until he sat in the parking lot of Clarks Green Assembly of God that he heard that plan with his own ears.

TENTH TOP STORY: About 13 Dallas High School students were on hand for the beginning of the restoation of the cupola from the Old Dallas Township High School building on Irem Road behind the Back Mountain Little League field. The building had been part of the community since 1926 and was torn down earlier in the year.

Throughout the course of the next year or so, students of the Dallas High School will help restore the cupola and place it in on a concrete pad next to the site of the Old Dallas Township High School to serve as a learning process of hands-on work while preserving the history of the old school building.

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