Commonwealth Health, the state Department of Health, and local leaders have joined hands to sustain emergency room services for Tyler Memorial Hospital in Tunkhannock.
Mark Mitchell, Tyler Board chairman and a resident of Tunkhannock shared Monday, “Emergency medicine is a vital component of the health care continuum and we’re pleased to sustain access locally.”
He noted that “Timely medical care in the event of an emergency such as heart attack or stroke is needed to support the best possible outcomes.”
According to a directive sent out by Commonwealth Health’s vice president of marketing Annmarie Poslock, the Tunkhannock facility will begin operating as a campus of Regional Hospital of Scranton with an emergency room and outpatient center under the Commonwealth Health name at midnight on Oct. 1, 2021.
Locally available outpatient services include primary care, laboratory and imaging. The emergency room will be open 24 hours a day every day. The laboratory will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outpatient imaging and cardiovascular services will include EKG, Vascular Lab, Echocardiogram, Ultrasound, CT, MRI, Mammography, Dexa, Holter monitoring, and X-ray and will be provided by appointment, with emergency imaging services available 24 hours per day. The dialysis center will also remain open.
The Tunkhannock campus also will remain closely connected with all other Commonwealth Health hospitals and facilities including Regional Hospital of Scranton, First Hospital, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and Moses Taylor Hospital.
CH also noted that Tyler Memorial Hospital will stop operating acute inpatient care and surgical services at 11:59 p.m. on September 17, 2021. Hospital leadership will work with members of the medical staff, patients and local first responders to ensure a smooth transition of care.
Commonwealth Health Emergency Medical Services will have an ambulance stationed on the Tunkhannock campus for timely response to emergencies.
Mitchell said, “I would like to extend my gratitude to the medical staff, employees, volunteers and board of trustees for their service to Tyler Memorial Hospital and the community. The board is also grateful for the leadership of Ann Marie Stevens, CEO of Tyler Memorial Hospital and for her advocacy with the state to maintain emergency services in the local community.”
Patients can continue to secure their medical records upon request after inpatient services end at Tyler Memorial Hospital. Medical records for individuals who are a current or past patient of the hospital will be retained per the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania retention guidelines. The medical records department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Questions can be directed to 570-996-1131.
The 35th renewal of the Wyoming County Fair opens today and fair board vice president Laura Anderson says there is something for everybody, and she’s pleased to be back in the saddle.
She is not, however, too pleased with an opening day weather forecast of heavy rain as the remnants of Hurricane Ida pass through the region. She said that if the wet weather arrives and persists, contingencies are being made to bring the County Fair Queen contest at 5 p.m. indoors as well as opening ceremonies at 4:30.
The 5K Race set to take off for 6:45 p.m. is also a potential question mark, veteran cross country coach Randy White said Tuesday. If there are heavy rains and the race is cancelled, it will not be rescheduled during fair week.
The rest of fair week looks good, weather-wise, but Anderson said, you never can tell with pop-up storms sometimes causing an inconvenience.
She said members of the fair board have been in touch with organizers of the Troy Fair in July and Harford Fair in August and are hopeful the Wyoming County Fair can build on their attendance numbers as area folks are eager to get out of doors in the wake of no fair in 2020 because of COVID.
Rumors of a few of the food vendors scaling back, allegedly because they claim they don’t have enough volunteers, have persisted in recent weeks with Triton Pizza definitely backing out and Nativity Catholic Church in Tunkhannock also backing out, but Anderson said Monday night she believes they found enough volunteers to keep their haluski before the public.
In the entertainment arena, Anderson noted the Aquatic Acrobatic Show scheduled for three shows a day has pulled back and the fair board is looking for alternate entertainment to step in the Landing venue. The Kids Celebration at the Horse Gazebo will definitely be a go for the three or four times a day it is in the fair calendar.
She said that Claverack will have an all-electric vehicle on the grounds Thursday, and that, too, should be a substantial draw. And, on Monday, veteran fiddler Jehile Kirkhuff will be performing and organizers are expecting him to be joined by scores of other fiddlers.
Musical shows of Riley Green Friday night and Hardy on Saturday require a separate admission for the concerts each night in addition to the main gate admission
The ever popular High School Rodeo will return Sunday night and Monday afternoon, as well as all of the show animal competitions, and Anderson said one of the barometers of a good fair, is that nearly all of the animal space in the livestock barn is taken up this year.
She also noted another encouraging sign for the 2021 fair is that this year’s Fair Queen contest on Wednesday has four contenders in Morgan Aiken, Alina Marcinkus, Reilly Campbell and Haley Sinkler, when in some years there had only been one or two.
The Junior Fair Queen Contest on Thursday has also caught the attention of three young ladies in Keara Publik, Cheyanne Zona, and Charlotte Quick.
“It’s great thing, that many girls want to be fair ambassadors, as they believe in what we do telling the story of agriculture in the region.
Anderson noted the state Department of Agriculture’s theme for fairs across Pennsylvania is “Making Memories One Fair at a Time.”
“We hope they will be great memories,” Anderson said.
Opening Day and Labor Day Monday are tagged as Senior Citizens Days when all persons 62 and older are admitted for free. Veterans Day on Saturday allows all veterans and active duty personnel in for free. Sunday is also dubbed as 4-H Day.
Becky Dziak, whose son Billy, a junior at Tunkhannock Area High School who raises market hogs, said noon on Saturday at the fairgrounds is the annual livestock sale, where interested parties can buy some 4-H animals. She said, “What better way than to purchase quality home-raised meat to fill your freezer and support our 4-H youth.”
Houghton Enterprises, which provides the amusement rides, said it was looking forward to a busy 6-day fair, if their experience at Harford is any indicator.
“I predict we’ll have a very good turnout,” Anderson said. “See you at the fair.”
WHAT'S GOING ON TODAY
WEDNESDAY, SEP. 1
10 a.m.- Admission Gates Open
10 a.m. — Open Rabbit Show — Rabbit Barn
11 a.m. — Horse Pulls — Track (CANCELLED)
1:30 p.m. — Kids Celebration — Horse Gazebo
4:30 p.m. — Kid’s Celebration — Horse Gazebo
5 p.m. — 4-H Rabbit Show — Rabbit Barn
5 P.m. Fair Queen Contest — Kiwanis Museum
6 p.m. — Opening Ceremonies — Kiwanis Museum
6 p.m. — 4-H Sheep & Meat Goat Show — Livestock Barn
6 p.m. — Diesel & Semi Truck Pulls — Track (MOVED TO THURSDAY, SEP. 2)
6:45 p.m. — Wyoming County Fair 5K Race (CANCELLED)
7 p.m. — Kid’s Celebration — Horse Gazebo
7 p.m. — Tangerine Dreams Midway Tent - (CANCELLED)
9 p.m. Admission Gates Close
SENIOR CITIZENS DAY
All persons 62 and older admitted free.
Tunkhannock lost a valued friend last Wednesday with the passing of Sandy Vieczorek, and a near full house in one of the theaters at the Dietrich did not miss the attention of long-time pal Hildy Morgan at a memorial service Saturday afternoon.
“She would have been so happy to know we brought her a sellout,” Morgan said as she fanned her right arm across the full expanse of the first theater that was opened in 2001, thanks to hers and Morgan’s and a few others’ pluck because they believed Tunkhannock deserved so much more than a run-down theater.
Morgan said she was taken aback by the swiftness of Vieczoek’s final illness, and was not really prepared for the moment. “Nobody ever is,” she said.
“If I could put her life into a single thought, it was that love could do more good than all the self-righteous lectures in the world ever could.”
She looked out at the front two rows, including Vieczorek’s husband of 52 years, Ronnie, and also including children and grandchildren, and said, “she loved being the matriarch of this big rousing clan.”
But Morgan said, in the 1980s, she expanded the meaning of family, “really to include all of us.”
Morgan was running Interfaith in town at the time, and said she put an ad in the New Age looking for help with the Christmas Bureau which was then serving 445 families.
“She came in and said that she liked to help out, and Help Out, she did,” Morgan said.
She recalled putting in a a couple of 12-hour days with Vieczorek when the both were just exhausted. After the first long day, they reflected on what had gone before them. “Without thinking too much about it, she said, ‘I had a great time,’” Morgan recalled.
“It was clear she loved the power of volunteering, and she loved anything that had to do with children,” Morgan said.
Then one day when the two were looking out across the street, she said she had a conversation with Vieczorek which went something like, “You know Sandy, I think we could bring that theater back,” speaking of the Dietrich which had gone out of business more than a decade before.
One by one, Vieczorek and Morgan began assembling a team that had different talents and gifts, and “It turned out the town really wanted that theater back, too.”
She added, “We didn’t really have any money, but we were having the time of our lives, and there was never a cross word among us.”
After the theater finally opened in 2001, Morgan recalled that Vieczorek who had a fondness for reading wanted to see the cultural programming expanded, and she couldn’t wait for the ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ each summer and ‘Wyoming County Reads’ in the winter.
“How exhausting, but how unbelievably wonderful to be touched by someone like that,” Morgan recalled.
Then, in the fall of 2004, as she was preparing to leave home to tackle her latest venture at the Dietrich, Morgan recalled that Vieczoreks’s son Randy showed up at the door with a hot cup of coffee and a couple of doughnuts, and just wanted to talk.
They did for about a half hour when Randy looked at his watch and guessed he better get on to work where his dad would be waiting for him at the shop.
It was the last she had seen of Randy before getting a call that he had died from a drug overdose.
“We were all stunned, and I was worried about what would happen to Sandy,” Morgan said. “How I underestimated her.”
She recalled that Vieczorek told her later that she got a call from Bob Baker at the New Age who was hopeful she might share her story of the personal loss of a child to drugs. She said he told her there were lots of people — most of them young — who were showing up on the obituary page, and few knew why.
She recalled that Baker called again and after talking it over with her husband, they agreed to meet with him.
Morgan said that Vieczorek later told him, “If she could save one life, it would be worth it.”
“Well, his article appeared in the paper, and within a couple of weeks it was overwhelming and unbelievable,” she said, noting that dozens of people across the region said they were personally feeling the same pain and anguish that Vieczorek’s family had felt and they reached out to her to offer support.
She got to work and started Wyoming County CARES, and Morgan remembered the first public meeting with 50 people from across the region and how how powerful it was to hear their stories.
But, it didn’t stop there, Morgan said, noting that Vieczorek had a big hand in starting Families Helping Families, a support group in the hundreds which met in the basement of the Methodist Church, and that was followed by a crusade to get a drug treatment court for Wyoming County.
“I went to all of the treatment court graduations, and she relished in the successes of each graduate, and case by case she was winning the war,” Morgan said.
Morgan added, “The community will never see the likes of you again.”
Also speaking at the Memorial service was Paige Malinowski, who said Vieczorek’s “generosity was unequalled.”
The budding artist spoke of being a friend to one of Vieczorek’s grandchildren.
“She filled a void in my own life that I didn’t know would be taken away, “ Malinowski said. “Love was her art and every day was her masterpiece.”
Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry also remembered Vieczorek as a fighter with enthusiasm.
“She fought for so many in this town, and by sharing her own story gave hope to so many others to be able to meet the day and move forward,” Henry said.
Pastor Lori Robinson speaking to Vieczorek’s biological family, said, “She was more than just a Nanny. She was accepting, supportive and fun.”
“And to the rest of us she taught unconditional love to everyone she met,” Robinson continued.” She gave all of herself, and then more. Hers was a life reflective of amazing grace with enduring character.”
The Tunkhannock Area School Board learned Thursday that four individuals had tested positive for COVID by the second day of the school year, but members seemed un-phased by the possibility of a mask mandate.
After sharing her superintendent’s report to the board, Heather McPherson gave an update to the public about classroom temperatures the first couple of school days and the latest positive COVID cases and what that meant.
McPherson said that both the primary center and high school were not air conditioned, and administrators were monitoring the situation throughout the day, and if the district experienced extreme hot weather, could consider sending students home early, but they were hopeful seasonal temperatures would return, and the issue would take care of itself.
With the four positive cases identified by Thursday night, McPherson shared new guidance on contact tracing and said that 13 were classified as in quarantine, if they did not have the vaccine, and nine who had the vaccine and were not demonstrating symptoms were not quarantined.
As of Friday, McPherson posted on the district’s website that the district was tracking five positive cases of COVID-19: two cases at the high school, one case at the intermediate center and two cases at the primary center. She noted to parents: “Please continue to monitor your children for symptoms and keep them home if symptoms are present.”
Under new business Thursday, the board voted to issue a request for proposals from qualified providers of energy conservation measures, which could provide information to determine the feasibility of moving in a specific direction.
The board, with Rob Parry and Shana Gregory absent, approved:
From the superintendent’s report, the board approved:
Claverack Rural Electric Cooperative is educating on what some people believe to be a glimpse of the future.
The company will be showing off a Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle at the Wyoming County Fair on Thursday, Sept. 2. Claverack started studying electric vehicles more than a year ago. Director of Member Services Brian Zeidner said the projected growth curves of electric vehicles over the next 10 years are significantly higher. As more EV’s are seen on the road, Claverack wants to be a trusted source of information for its consumers.
“The mission of the company is to provide reliable electric services to our members,” Zeidner said. “As electric vehicles started becoming more widely available, we wanted to become a trusted source of information for them and share the learning experiences with our customers.”
Claverack purchased a Tesla Model 3 in August 2020. Member service representative Lynn Jennings has been one of the people driving the car on work business trips over the past year. One of the first things you notice when getting to the car is that all the controls are computerized and can be controlled through a cell phone.
The car also has a state-of-the art camera system, which can give you alerts for things such as road hazards and other possible dangers.
“I find it to be a very smooth drive,” Jennings said. “Another great thing about an electric vehicle is you don’t have to worry about a lot of routine maintenance like oil changes, you can get by on just a yearly inspection.”
One of the main worries people have about electric vehicles is charging stations. The Tesla Model 3 can travel 300 miles on a full charge. One of the studies Claverack conducted is how much of an impact charging stations could have on the local power grids, as some national studies say that more than half of vehicles on the road could be electric by 2030.
“With the price of gasoline continuing to rise, we’re seeing more people in some parts of the country switch to electric cars,” Zeidner said. “I think these vehicles are going to be a huge part of the future, including here in northeastern Pennsylvania.”
The basic Tesla Model 3 charger is programmed at 220 volts of electricity. At this power, it takes anywhere from six-to-eight hours to complete a full charge when empty. Jennings said the time is very good for the amount of voltage.
“The general charger is the way to go,” Jennings said. “Tesla does make a 50kW rapid charger that will give the car a full charge in only one hour, that type of equipment is a very expensive add on however.”
If electric cars do become the wave of the future, charging stations will need to become more readily available across Wyoming County. Claverack is conducting studies on areas where charging stations could be needed the most.
“How many charging stations an area needs depends on the growth of electric vehicles in that particular area,” Jennings said. “Obviously, there are more stations in big cities, but as the vehicles spread to rural areas over the next couple of years you will see a growth of charging stations.”
Claverack has been out showing the car at events over the past year. Zeidner said he has seen a lot of enthusiasm for the vehicle, especially among younger people.
“There are a lot of people in this area who have never seen any type of electric vehicle before,” Zeidner said. “It was very entertaining to watch younger kids, especially the ones who are just becoming old enough to drive but are coming filled with questions. It’s been a very positive experience. We want to engage with all demographics of our members, and electric vehicles are a great way to answer young people’s questions regarding electricity and energy efficiency.”
Claverack will have the Tesla Model 3 on display all day Thursday, Sept. 2, at the Wyoming County Fairgrounds in Meshoppen.